Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

A sad catastrophe is brewing

The current federal debt is $8.1 trillion. Yes, $8.1 trillion. $8,100,000,000,000. Eight trillion one hundred billion dollars. This is the principle on which we are paying interest every year. See it to the penny at Bureau of the Public Debt.

The on-budget deficit, that is, the amount we are adding to the debt by borrowing from all sources including Social Security trust funds, was $567 billion in 2004. It will be at least $500 billion this year, next year, and every year until a change is made. Half a trillion dollars a year we are borrowing. At 5% interest, four years from now, that half a trillion will only pay debt service. At 10% interest? (Ten percent is conceivable, because who will lend us money with these kinds of books?)

Net interest is currently about one-tenth of federal spending. This is largely a legacy of the policies of Ronald Reagan and the first George Bush. Dubya is making them look like pikers. Inevitably the debt service will be crippling.

The Iraq War, the culture of corruption, the torture and habitual lying, the burning of the Bill of Rights, these are examples of a betrayal of America by the Radical Right under Bush and Cheney. Baffling in their audacity. Magnets for outrage. But the crime that is being committed on our economy.... Unless we all die before we want to, the burden will not fall solely on our children.

Bush and the Republican Congress are poisoning the future. They are playing war with other people's lives and gambling with other people's money. The Right Wing is ensuring the demise of popular (as in "of the people") social programs by these deficits, but the damage will not be confined to the structures we expected to carry us in dignity, but to the whole fabric of the economy.

It's worse than you think. See the Congressional Budget Office projections.

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