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Fiscal Cliff - New Perspectives

Friday, December 28, 2012 - 6:05 AM
FACT:

* U..S. Tax: $2,170,000,000,000

* Fed budget: $3,820,000,000,000

* New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000

* National debt: $14,271,000,000,000

* Recent budget cuts: 
$38,500,000,000

Let's now remove 8 zeros and pretend it's a household budget:

* Annual family income: $21,700

* Money the family spent: $38,200

* New debt on the credit card: $16,500

* Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710

* Total budget cuts so far: $385

If it were my family budget, I would disappear (or take strategic default; using modern terms) and have the credit card debt forgiven/forgotten.  The banks do not derserve my payback these days anyhow.

This measure does not work at the international level, I reckon:D

  
7
51hh51hh1,476 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 6,426
1. Friday, December 28, 2012 - 9:40 AM
51:  You are forgetting an important part of your equation.  YOU care about what happens to your finances.  Those braindead bozos we "pay" to make decisions for our country don't seem to care if they destroy us financially.  Somehow they don't see us as real humans who need to survive and only care about making each other's party look bad.  Maybe the 2 party system was a good idea years ago when some concerned American came up with the idea and set it up but it is quickly burning itself out.  I would rather just pay caring, educated, well skilled individuals to make decisions for "my" future than trust any one of these laughable politicians to keep playing sick games with my tax dollars and my future!   They don't see their positions as real "jobs" and we are paying them to do nothing.  Charlie Brown could do a better job at running our country these days, imo!
2
paoli2paoli21,372 posts since
Aug 10, 2011
Rep Points: 6,011
2. Friday, December 28, 2012 - 10:14 AM
Hi Paoli2:

Agree.  The purpose of this mathematical perspective is for simplification and personalization of this seemingly complex issue.

There are many parameters that are missing, in addition to the caring factor and objectivity factor you rightfully stated.  For example, I serious doubt the IQ levels for these politicians.  I am sure that most of them would not be able to make the prudent (not to mention smart) decision even if it were their own personal crisis at hand.  All they are able to do (and excel in) is talk after talk; talking themselves off the cliff and talking themselves into the graveyard; with zero decision and zero action.   

That is why the entire nation has lost "faith" for our Government, economy, and the overall system; as witnessed by the massive exodus of the stock market.

No human government and system is perfect, but this one really tops all as far as "worst of the worst" is defined.

I would think a "tiger team", composed of no-none-sense smart brains (think tank) and endowed with full authority, may be the only way to lead U.S. out of this mess.  But this approach is both non-realistic (in politicians giving up control) and too-ideal in a democratic country like ours (there will always be oppositions no matter what they do). 

Enjoy the new year:D

BR,

51
2
51hh51hh1,476 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 6,426
3. Friday, December 28, 2012 - 11:33 AM
51hh, I like your approach of bringing the numbers down to a scale the ordinary citizen can relate to.  

However, I disagree with your comment that the lack of progress on the fiscal cliff is a matter of run-of-the-mill IQ scores.  We're all familiar with the stories of genius-level-IQs who are baffled by everyday situations. 

Nor do I think it's a matter of not enough smarts.  IIRC there are (or at least have been) several Rhodes scholars, PhDs, etc. among our officials elected to Congress.  We would hardly call them intellectual lightweights. 

No, I've said it before and will say it again.  IMHO the problem, however, is (at least) four-fold:

a) There is no universal agreement on where to cut spending.  Many people say they want spending cuts but not in (insert name of favorite government program) where they/their loved ones will feel the pinch themselves.   It's a variation of NIMBY ("not in my back yard") - every government program is important to someone.

b) Our elected officials are unwilling to make spending cuts because they are unwilling to alienate constituents or special interest groups.   Make no mistake - the priority of our elected officials is to be re-elected.  The days of  "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" are history.  Spending cuts as a result of sequestration, which happen by default, aren't the result of a  deliberate decision or a willingness to take and defend a position. 

c) Our elected officials generally don't feel the pinch themselves. 

d) There are no "real" consequences to exceeding government budgets - the printing presses are fired up and voila - budget problem solved.   If only it were that easy in our personal budgets. 

The type of thinking that got us into the situation isn't what will lead us out.   Unfortunately I don't see any big creative ideas being discussed - just more partisan debate and finger-pointing, ie:  fixing blame instead of fixing the problem.
2
pearlbrownpearlbrown1,438 posts since
Nov 2, 2010
Rep Points: 6,270
4. Friday, December 28, 2012 - 11:56 AM
Pearl:  I just finished venting to my Senator and I was not as nice as you seem to be about what is happening.  In my opinion,  they have a job to do and I refuse to take any excuse for their allowing our country to be in the financial shape it is in.  If they were in business, they would all have been fired for lack of performance.  Your making excuses basically for why they have not made needed decisions just helps them keep putting off what they are supposed to do.  There is so much money spend on can I say "crap" that they could spend days just cutting that first.  Then go to all the waste "they" are using our tax dollars for etc. etc.

The best thing you posted "fixing blame instead of fixing the problem" is also at the core of why they are doing nothing.  Yet they are getting paid for doing "nothing".  I think you are as concerned about our nation's financial crisis as I am so I will overlook your posting about "why" they do what they aren't doing and seemingly excusing them for not doing it. 
1
paoli2paoli21,372 posts since
Aug 10, 2011
Rep Points: 6,011
5. Friday, December 28, 2012 - 12:35 PM
Paoli2, there is a difference between making excuses and acknowledging reality, such as the basic facts of human nature (self preservation and self interest), which influence behavior. 

On a separate note, this must be my lucky day, since you are "willing to overlook my posting about "why" they do what they are/aren't doing".  I must have missed the memo that made you the judge of what is an acceptable opinion on the fiscal cliff. 

 
1
pearlbrownpearlbrown1,438 posts since
Nov 2, 2010
Rep Points: 6,270
6. Friday, December 28, 2012 - 1:29 PM
Hi Pearl: High-IQ (or Economical IQ) brains need to be integrated with high authority (i.e., influential enough to make a difference/impact); or else, those brains are as useless as (or wose than) the brains of low-IQ.  There may be a few smart brains in the politician group to start with; but those brains were soon corrupted/swayed by self/party interests and political biases; those to me still belong to the low-IQ category since they could not exert positive impact to the overall direction/solution.

That was what I meant that we need a synergistic consulting think tank that possesses both the objective/harmonious intelligence and unquestionable/unchallengeable authority (for actions) to resolve such an important issue for the best and common national interest.

 We (the few and the non-empowered) cannot solve this issue no matter how we debate or synergize, it is what it is.  What will be will be.

Relax and enjoy the holidays.

Cheers.:-)
1
51hh51hh1,476 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 6,426
7. Friday, December 28, 2012 - 2:46 PM
51, I agree with you that the brains need to be combined with the willingness to use them in a way that has not been influenced by self interest.   I also agree that a think tank may be just the right answer but the challenge will be to identify those members who meet both criteria.

My point was that we do not lack for potential candidates who fit the brains criteria, but they don't seem to be able to act boldly and courageously in the best interests of the country because their motivation has been compromised. 

And yes I think what will be will be despite any/all discussion!

Happy holidays to you and yours as well.  =)

 
1
pearlbrownpearlbrown1,438 posts since
Nov 2, 2010
Rep Points: 6,270
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