Monday, January 14, 2013

It's Not Them, It's Us

One of the biggest problems that we have is a lack of insight, due to opacity or a lack of interest, into the federal budget. This allows people to believe that deficits and the public debt are driven by expenditures on the undeserving (a.k.a., someone other than themselves) or the convenient political bogeymen of Waste, Fraud and Abuse. Over the past few decades, revenues have averaged at about 18% of GDP, while expenditures have come it at about 22%. What many people don't realize through either negligent or willful ignorance, is that the gap - roughly 4% of GDP, contributes directly to the standard of living of the nation as a whole, and perhaps directly to their own. Nearly two-thirds of participants in the Coverdell Educational Savings Account program, and just over 50% of participants in federal student aid programs reported that “No, [They] Have Not Used a Government Social Program.”

This is untenable. For starters, it feeds into the divisive politics of "let someone else pay." But perhaps more importantly one can't have a serious discussion of solutions while remaining ignorant of the actual problem at hand.

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