What if you opened your mail today and found a bill for $52,855 — or worse, if you’re the head of a household of four, a bill for $211,419?
Could you pay it? Would you pay it — write a check for it, work out a payment plan — or just ignore it?
Most of us have no way of making a payment of that size, or even working out a payment plan. None of us will probably ever pay it.
Me? I’m not going to worry about it.
Simply because we live in the Good Ol’ U. S. of A. This was our individual share of the current national debt – $15,856,367,214,324.44 at the end of June; that’s $15.866 Trillion with a “T”. And it keeps growing.
Even at the level we are being taxed today, we only get about 60 percent of what the country spends each year paid for; the rest we have to borrow.
And whom do you think we borrow it from? Many will guess China, some will know Japan has been a big lender to the U.S. But few will guess that we actually owe a big chunk of our public debt to ourselves.
A little over $11.04 trillion is simply classified as debt held by the “public” in the form of U.S. Treasury securities the government is obligated to pay off in cash. Of that “public” debt, the Treasury owes the Federal Reserve $1.67 trillion and owes foreign entities $5.29 trillion. Of that $5.29 trillion we owe the Chinese $1.16 trillion and the Japanese $1.12 trillion. The Chinese share of our national debt has been slowly decreasing over the last year while the Japanese are increasing their share of ownership and are on schedule to surpass the Chinese in ownership of U.S. debt in the next few months.
So what does all this mean to a senior citizen collecting on the average a “Federal Benefit Payment” of $1,230 per month, according to the Social Security Administration?
Basically that no one is ever going to make a big dent in the national debt if they are depending on us oldsters. For instance if we made an agreement to pay it off over the next 20 years, which many of us will never see, at a low interest rate of 3 percent it would require a payment of $293.13 per month.
The catch here is that it would be impossible for most of us to live on the remaining $936.87 per month so we would need extra benefits such as food stamps to survive thus continually adding to the national debt.
It’s like a merry-go-round with no brass ring!
The money we owe the Federal Reserve, which is owned by its member banks and not the U.S government, consists mostly of money we once deposited in the U.S. Treasury in what we understood would become our retirement income. It came directly out of our paychecks.
Those banks that own the Federal Reserve are the same banks that “are too big to fail” that keep failing so our politicians simply have the Treasury print some more debt and sell it to the same Federal Reserve and then bail out the banks that own it when they have blown all they previously have received.
Our bifurcated politicians over the years stole the money we had paid into Social Security and replaced it with the same flim-flam Treasury-Federal Reserve scheme, thereby minimizing the return on our retirement investment while blowing our money on other programs they thought would buy them more votes.
If our Treasury had just taken the money we paid in Social Security payments as we worked over the years and invested it at 3 percent we would be collecting almost three times the monthly Federal Benefit Payment – that’s what they call our Social Security checks now – we currently receive. All without adding anything to the national debt and the share of it we each owe.
Not since President Dwight David Eisenhower has this country taken in, in any single year, more in taxes and revenues than it spent. President Ronald Reagan, who seems to have achieved sainthood among Republicans during his two terms in the White House, actually stood watch while this country was turned from a creditor nation into a debtor nation. The much-lauded President William Jefferson Clinton “balanced” budgets were nothing more than the machination of future numbers to make it look like the books were being brought back in line.
There’s not one person in, or running for, public office today that has the capacity to eliminate this constantly growing Mt. Everest of debt, nor will one likely ever appear.
We seniors are never going to see anything but rising prices and taxes while we watch the value, or buying power, of our dollars diminish. The only bright spot is that we will never live long enough to see this shell game play out.
If they had a “None of the Above” entry on the upcoming national elections ballots, I’d probably check it when I go to vote.
I am not going to spend my waning days worrying about paying off my share of the national debt. I’m just going to enjoy the days I have left without wasting a lot of time engaging in endless debate over how best to solve a problem that has no solution other than that of running its course.
I think I’ll take some time to smell the flowers. Have a bunch on me!
P.S. Bet you didn’t know Alfred E. Neuman’s middle initial stood for “Edsel”.
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