Half a year ago when I started writing my unemployment book I looked into the national debt so that I could include several pages about it in my book. With the current battle in Washington I have to say it is no surprise we are where we are. Of everything I have listened to, seen, and read the most educational was a podcast segment of NPR Money. If you listen to one podcast this year, make it this one. The speaker/professor/author they have on is great! He is seriously the most educated person I have ever heard from on national debts.
While I highly recommend you listen to the podcast I'll summarize it using words they are too afraid to use in the show: the US is in a mess of trouble and there are going to be unhappy people for years and probably decades because of it. What demographic suffers more is left to be seen, but rest assured, there will be suffering. He gives several example including Romania in the 1980s and I think France in the early 1800s. I especially like how he refers to an event 200 years ago as if it is relevant and the hosts laugh. We like to think we are the smartest people that have ever existed and as soon as you think you are smart you are admitting that you are dumb. I despise the words smart and dumb for reasons too lengthy for this article. Suffice to say we are no greater than our ancestors although we have probably complicated things so it will take more of us to figure out how to fix things, job security for some I guess.
So in the interest of solving a problem I came up with my solution to the national debt:
1. Raise the debt ceiling. I don't care what the number is but give us one or two years to pass the bills necessary to make a permanent fix.
2. Raise taxes. How? Create another tax bracket for million or two million dollar earners and give then a higher tax rate yet. For the rest us raise the percentages, except for 10% earners because seriously those people have no money anyway.
3. Cut spending. This is the hard part because it will involve extremely detailed organization to do correctly otherwise we will end up with tens of thousands more lay off and the same inefficiencies. Possible areas for improvement: education because we spend more on students and score worse on tests than most of the rest of the developed world, military because we are overseas so much that it becomes a burden on Americans, and especially social security. The goverment needs to raise the minimum and maximum age limits in a hurry. People can start collecting when they are only what 62? That is ridiculous! I get beat on the bicycle every Wednesday by a 55 year old theology professor. I have trouble believing that in the younger 60s people are no longer physically or mentally capable of contributing. On the contrary, many of the best professors and one boss of mine were in that range and they were extremely good because they have a story and example for every situation. We young people are missing out on that experienced insight because people retire early. However, after all that I say I'll probably retire with my millions in my 50s as a hypocrite.
4. Put Americans back to work. How? For starters, log all the dead pine trees in Colorado and throughout the west, including Canada. We have something like more than 50 million acres of dead beetle kill trees waiting to burn and cost us hundreds of millions of dollars. Or we could be proactive and cut them down because the wood is beautiful and we will save millions of acres of topsoil and tens of thousands of homes from destruction. Plus, logger jobs can employ the less educated, who are hurt more by the recession than most. How else to employ Americans? Agriculture is key. The US has much of the best farm land in the world. We will probably never have to worry about food the way than Somolia and Rwanda have. I also think we should raise the price of food but that's a more lengthy topic. A third way to put Americans to work is offer them jobs at minimum wage instead of outsourcing factories to Asia.
So those are my thoughts in a nutshell. I don't have many answers so please leave a comment below if you have a better idea.