Most Americans look at the rerun of the Greek euro crisis with something between smug amusement and condescending disapproval. When will those profligate Greeks get their economic house in order and stop looking to others to bail them out?
But, should people living in glass economic houses really throw stones?
After all, just like Greece, the United States government has been living beyond its means, running up an enormous debt that will eventually need to be repaid.
True, our budget deficit this year will be lower than it has been, just $486 billion compared to $1.4 trillion as recently as 2009. But this is just a temporary respite. Within the next couple of years the deficit will start to rise again. By 2025, we will again face trillion-dollar shortfalls.
And even a $486 billion deficit adds to our ever growing debt. Our national debt currently approaches $18.2 trillion, roughly 101% of GDP. That’s right. We owe more than the value of all the goods and services produced in this country every year. It is as if your credit-card bills exceeded your entire pay check.
That’s not quite as bad as Greece, of course, whose debt exceeds 177% of their GDP. But it is worse than countries like France or Spain.
And give us time! Like Greece, the driving force behind our debt is the growing cost of entitlement programs for health care and retirement. If one includes future unfunded liabilities for Social Security and Medicare, our real debt exceeds $90 trillion. That’s more than five times our GDP. Greece is still in worse shape — their unfunded liabilities top 875% of GDP — but we’re gaining.
At the heart of Greece’s problems lies a government grown too big, too intrusive, and too expensive. The Greek government spent nearly half of the country’s GDP last year (49.3%), and that actually represents a decline from the 51.8% it averaged since 2006. The Greek’s may complain about austerity, but they’ve hardly practiced it.
Our government is far smaller than Greece’s today. Federal spending is just 20.5% of GDP. But, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s alternative fiscal scenario, that could rise to almost 34% by mid-century. Factoring in state and local government spending, which already accounts for roughly 14.4% of GDP, total government expenditure in the US could reach 48% to 50% in 2050, roughly Greek levels.
As government grows, the private sector contracts. Greece has one of the most inhospitable business climates in Europe, ranking 84th in the world in the most recent Economic Freedom of the World Index. Meanwhile, as the United States continues to increase taxes and regulations, we have fallen from the second highest economic freedom ranking just 15 years ago to 12th place.
Of course, the United States has some advantages that the Greeks lack. Greece owes a significant share of its debt to foreign governments, while the majority of American debt is domestically held. The United States also faces low borrowing rates, while Greece has been effectively shut out of capital markets. The US debt may be bad, but in many ways we are the fastest horse in the glue factory. As long as the euro remains in crisis, we will continue to be able to borrow money at absurdly low interest rates.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)
The United States also controls its own currency and monetary policy, while Greece is hostage to the European Central Bank, which must balance its interest against those of other countries in the monetary union, many of which are in far different economic positions.
The danger for the United States is that spending on entitlements will surge in the coming decades, which means that, absent reform, they take over the economy. Investors would respond to the weaker economic outlook by demanding higher returns in order to continue investing in US bonds, which would further drive up interest costs, making our problems even worse. And, of course, unlike Greece, there aren’t other countries or organizations available to bail us out.
Margaret Thatcher reputedly said that the problem with the modern welfare state is “eventually they run out of other people’s money.” “Eventually” has become “now” for Greece.
The United States, on the other hand, still has time. If we act now to reduce federal spending and reform entitlements, we can avoid the crisis to come. If not…Greece beckons.
SOURCE :: NY Post
On November 6, 2012 Americans will go to the polls to vote for the next President of the United States of America. Either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney will win this contest.
It has become cliché, but this really is the most important election in our lifetime.
In the last few years, gun owners have celebrated two of the most important Second Amendment rulings the in our nation’s history. Heller v D.C. and McDonald v City of Chicago have set the stage for national reciprocity and the elimination of discriminatory “may issue” concealed carry laws. But we can lose it all and more in the blink of an eye.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy, both Reagan appointees are 76 years old. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 79. Stephen Breyer is 74.Clarence Thomas is 64 and Samuel Alito is 62. Losing one vote in a 5-4 ruling means losing your rights. The next President will almost surely appoint one or more justices. Obama’s appointments Sotomayor and Kagan are openly hostile toward your rights, which are hanging by a single vote.
The last time our nation faces such a “generational election” was 32 years ago. In 1980 we had high fuel prices, economic uncertainty, dashed hopes for the future and problems in the middle east, including assaults on our embassies (which are American soil) where American’s died. Sound familiar?
We would decide to continue with the failed policies, weak leadership and appeasement foreign policy of President Jimmy Carter, or the bold, strong, “America is special” vision of Ronald Reagan. We chose Reagan, returned America to greatness, ended the cold war, and ushered in a period of prosperity that lasted nearly 30 years.
Other elections that set the course of our nation not just for years, but for decades, were the election of Dwight Eisenhower after WWII, and Abraham Lincoln. This year is another such vital election for our country.
While there are other candidates on the ballot, they cannot and will not win. Either Romney or Obama will win this election. A vote for anyone else is throwing your vote away.
I have voted for third party candidates. I have voted in primaries for candidates that have already dropped out of the race. I understand voting for the “best” candidate rather than one the big parties are pushing. There are times this is a great idea. But now is not that time.
Votes for Ross Perot enabled Bill Clinton to defeat George H.W. Bush in 1992. Votes for Ralph Nader enabled George W. Bush to defeat Al Gore in 2000. This year’s election is too critical to help the worst candidate win because you think the other candidate is “not good enough.” Failure to vote, or voting for other candidates, will result in supporting the wrong candidate.
Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life. This election will shape your firearms rights not just for a few years, but most likely for the next 20-30 years, and possibly longer. Cast your vote like your rights depend on it, because they do.
Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman, and winner of the NRA-ILA’s 2011 “Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award.”
In a typical year Americans buy between 7 and 10 billion rounds of ammunition. In the past year they have bought 12 billion rounds. It’s no secret that ammo is flying off store shelves faster than factories can produce it but it’s nice to see a number put on the hoarding. That equals about 150 rounds of ammunition bought by every gun owner in the United States or about 47 rounds of ammunition for every privately owned firearm in the United States. Not very much when you put it into that perspective.
After nine years the United States supreme court refused to consider the case after a lower court struck down the suit in 2005. The decision in 2005 was based on the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act which bans most suits against the firearms industry unless the manufacturer knowingly violates state or federal laws. The lawsuit was the misguided attempt of Mayor Bloomberg to hold gun manufacturers accountable for the acts of criminals.
Read the NRA’s article about the events HERE.