Facts are Stubborn Things

Breakdown of projected federal spending

History books will someday record that 2015 was the year Donald Trump called Megyn Kelly of Fox News a name. Mean, mean Donald Trump!

In the meantime, Social Security, Medicare and the rest of the federal government are going broke. What to do? Everybody says: “Make the rich pay their fair share.”

Fact: If the federal government confiscated every penny produced by the private economy for the next decade, assuming a yearly average GDP of $20 trillion (today, it is $17.4 trillion annually), in the eleventh year the aggregate national debt would still amount to trillions of dollars.

Of course, if we confiscated every penny from the private sector, people would stop working. Nobody would want to make money if the government were going to take 100 percent of it away, as soon as they earned it.

But even if you could somehow guarantee the economy continues to grow as it does now (plus $3 trillion more a year), you still would only cover part of the national debt, even with a 100 percent tax rate.

“Well, take the tax burden off the middle class.”

Fact: In the 2014 tax year, the top 20 percent of earners paid 84 percent of individual federal income taxes. The top 1 percent of earners paid nearly half of the federal income tax. The bottom 40 percent of earners paid no federal income taxes, and many receive billions in subsidies, not just from welfare programs, but the so-called Earned Income Tax Credit.

The overwhelming majority of income taxes are paid for by the wealthiest 20 percent of the population. 84 percent, in fact. If that is not “progressive” or enough “spreading the wealth around” … then what would be?

“Social Security has got to be preserved, at all costs. Not just for present retirees, but for all future ones. It can and must always exist.”

Fact: For the first time, people who are retiring today will receive less in benefits than they paid into Social Security via payroll taxes. A lot of factors are involved in making these comparisons, of course, such as how long someone lives after retirement, how much they earned and thus paid into “the system,” when they decided to start receiving benefits, and so forth.

In 2011, the Urban Institute found that a married couple who earned average lifetime salaries retiring that year had paid about $598,000 in Social Security taxes during their working years. However, they can only expect to receive about $556,000 in lifetime retirement benefits, assuming the husband lives to eighty-two and the wife lives to eighty-five. [Source of statistics: Plunder and Deceit, by Mark Levin, published 2015]

The overwhelming majority of young people in their 20s voted twice for Barack Obama. The same will probably vote for Hillary Clinton.

Why won’t these young voters demand candidates who take their needs and rights into account? The fact is, they’re currently paying for these programs. In the unlikely or impossible event these programs still exist by the time they’re in their 60s, they will certainly receive way less in benefits than they paid.

Isn’t this fraud? Isn’t this cause for concern — if not outrage? Isn’t this cause for at least considering deserting the Democratic Party, instead of flocking to it?

So far, the most pressing issue in the presidential campaign is whether Donald Trump meant to insult some moronic Fox News anchor when he talked about her metaphorical bleeding.

The world has truly gone mad. But don’t blame Donald Trump. Most of you should blame yourselves, for not paying attention to facts. These sideshows are distractions from what people do not wish to talk about. Not unlike the mythical band playing its songs as the Titanic went down.

Maybe the solution is to expand the national debt indefinitely. If Medicare and Social Security cannot pay themselves, then just keep raising the debt. If the present generation of 20-somethings cannot pay $18 trillion, or $180 trillion in debt, then they can pass it on to their own children and grandchildren. Those grandchildren, in turn, could pass it on to the next two generations, and so on into infinity.

Does this make sense? If not, what’s the alternative? Do you think that sooner or later the national debt will be so high, so unpayable, and so unsustainable that something will have to give, somewhere?

So far, I don’t hear any of the candidates, in either party, mention any specifics. Each blames the other side, but neither offers a solution.

At what point will Americans take this into their own hands, firing all of our present leaders and demanding new ones who will face these facts head on, privatizing and phasing out programs as necessary, so that our economy and currency could rise again and become the engine of prosperity it might be, and ought to be?

Nobody will do it. Nobody will identify the problem, much less offer a solution. That’s the shameful fact of today. Not that mean Donald Trump might or might not have called anchorperson Megyn Kelly on Fox News a name.

Grow up, America.


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