A brief history of our Federal debt

I’ve been meaning to share this for a while- but hadn’t had a chance.

I.O.USA the movie: A thirty minute economics and history lesson on how the Federal deficit grew, and what we’d have to do to start reversing the trend.

Although it doesn’t talk about the impact of a national health care system, I believe improving our ability to practice proactive preventive medicine and keep a healthier population can make a huge impact on future Medicare costs.

I also believe that stronger trade policy can change dynamics pretty quickly. It’s not just our consumption of oil that is hurting us- it’s our consumption of cheap overseas labor that has decimated our industrial base.

Throw in the environmental impact of manufacturing in third world nations that don’t regulate emissions and we’re also looking at an environmental meltdown at about the same time the wheels fall off the US economy. The global population explosion is also going to put a huge strain on the planet’s ability to feed us all.

Tightening belts is only a small part of changing the future, exercising new trade and tax policies will either make or break us.

The short version of this movie is sobering. I don’t know if I could endure the full version without wanting to slit my wrists, but I think it’s well worth a half hour of your time.

And, I’m sure that when Barack Obama began his run for the presidency, this wasn’t what he thought he was signing up for.

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12 Responses

  1. John Ise November 18, 2008 / 12:42 pm
    IOUSA should be required viewing for all elected officials and school-aged kids. Entitlement reform is the only path out of this. Means test social security, pass a balance budget amendment (a bad idea whose time has come), and modernize/simplify our system of taxation (while maintaining some semblance of fairness). I use to work for Walter Mondale in 1984 in his futile (maybe disasterous) run for presidnet against Reagan. Mondale was the last candidate to be honest about how to deal with the national debt & defeceits (raise taxes, control benefits). It’s the voting public that has adopted entitlement mentality (No cut to my benefit and where’s my tax cut!).

    In modern politics, you’re punished by voters not for lying, but rather for telling the truth.

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  2. Gene November 18, 2008 / 2:56 pm
    Cut all the fat.

    We should pay taxes that support National Health Care, all other programs, ideas for programs, programs that may or may not exist – all should be cut – to the bone.

    We waste entirely too much money on all levels of government. We need defense and health care – and most everything else can and should be cut to the bone.

    We then, at our current tax base, would have more than enough to get real change done. But too often we have too many people wanting too much money for unnecessary programs.

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  3. Karen November 18, 2008 / 5:59 pm
    Gene,

    Why defense and health care? Why not defense and education? Education and health care? Some other combination of things that someone believes is vitally important? What can only the Federal government (as opposed to State or Local government) do? –Which is the question that your statement raises in my mind.

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  4. Gene November 18, 2008 / 6:07 pm
    Education – state/local level. National stuff has never made any sense.

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  5. Gene November 18, 2008 / 7:23 pm
    We don’t NEED education – that is evident right now. We have shitty education yet the good old USA plugs along.

    Education is the result of parents who care. Money has never fixed a thing with education. Health care needs money to fund it – mainly bc people will not work for free. We see teachers work for free all of the time (or close to it if you get my drift :) )

    We spend to much on defense but we still need it. Slash that budget. And cut social services/human services. They get too much money.

    Put the money back in the hands of the people who earn it. We still educate, now we will have some health care for all. And we will defend you against bad people. IF YOU FAIL TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS then that is on you. Let people frickin drink themselves into a gutter, let them kill themselves slowly. Churches will still have a hand in helping with this, all the government does is give our cash to people who really do a very very poor job.

    We have made thing way too complicated, way too expensive. We do way too much hand holding. We the People Need to take back our country. We were never supposed to be ruled by a giant government. Let us decide for ourselves. The government grows without our votes. Both Dems and Reps spend way too much money. Way too much. A waste of my money. Maybe you guys don’t care but I do.

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  6. Bruce Kettelle November 19, 2008 / 9:23 am
    Gene show me a time in history that education EVER took care of itself. As recently as the 1800s the poor and middle class often went without. Only the rich could afford tutors or the occaisional city provided schoolhouse. Poor uneducated parents were not able to pass on skills they did not have. The US system paved the way for the world to adopt public education.

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  7. Gene November 19, 2008 / 11:22 am
    I guess I am saying that we need to treat the US Government like a person – first things first. First things include defense (shelter and clothing) and health care (includes, if you follow, eating and doctor visits, etc)

    If we examine our country like a person we would grant the thing we need most first. People drop out of school all the time yet succeed. We do need education, but a healthy work force is slightly more important. I am not saying take all money away from every area, but what I am saying is that we need to have a perspective of what IS and what IS NOT important. And we have a lot of fat to cut.

    Is our current medical system ( doctors, hospitals, nurses etc being paid essentially by our insurance ) profitable, or close to? If so we have plenty of money for national health care, cut the middle man out, get people well, THEN educate them.

    The United States is like David Esrati’s House ( not making fun of you David but you mentioned about projects in your house.) We start on the kitchen, get half way done, start on the bathroom, get half way done, start on landscaping, get half way done, etc………
    WE NEVER FINISH ANYTHING.

    Health care is essential, slightly more important than education. Fix A the move on to B. We have too much stuff to juggle, and Government has proven that throwing MONEY at a situation does not necessarily help it.

    I know I could teach a kid better than most schools with old books, enthusiasm and hard work. Noticed I did not mention money.

    All this would be solved if parents cared, or if uncaring people stopped having babies. We could solve 80% of our problems if we just stopped F**KING.

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  8. Bruce Kettelle November 19, 2008 / 11:35 am
    Yeah, no education is how the feudal lords kept the peasants in their place.

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  9. Gene November 19, 2008 / 2:29 pm
    You still have and offer education – but focus on health care first, and let states and local govt worry about education. Fed involvement in education is a waste of time and money. Grow up Bruce.

    Who is keeping who in any place?

    If people would just be better parents we would be solid. Not every parent is a doctor but every parent is a teacher!

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  10. Jeff November 19, 2008 / 6:15 pm
    ^
    thats just the discretionary budget, but it’s a neat graphic.

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