Fuzzy Accounting

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Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Do these numbers matter? If not, why bother keeping track of them?

Treasury Department says that for the month of September (one month only) Social Security and other payroll taxes took in $96 billion, but Social Security and Medicare cost $158 billion, about three times as much as we spent on the entire Defense budget. Are we buying so many beans that we can’t afford bullets?

For fiscal year 2017, we ended up being short $666 billion. That’s not the total amount of debt owed, nor the total amount of future spending promised, it’s the amount we overdrew the checkbook at the end of the fiscal year. We borrowed money to make the books balance. Our loan balance is now $20,000,000,000,000.00. It goes up a million dollars a minute.

Let’s be serious: it’s simply not mathematically possible to pay America’s debts in any reasonable amount of time while maintaining any reasonable level of taxation and therefore we can safely conclude they will never be paid. One of two things will happen: we’ll default and cause a world economic crisis; or we’ll convert to electronic money not backed by any tangible asset so the computers can continue to transfer electrons as if they were money and nobody will care that the entire thing is a polite fiction.

Maybe in the future we’ll run things as they did on Star Trek – money simply appears, just like your lunch shows up in the replicator machine or the red-shirted guy beams up from the planet. Magic.

Joe Doakes

Our federal government makes me feel like a redshirt all. The. Time.


It would be nice if Congress held a public debate on the desirability of expanding or contracting merit-based immigration in relation to family reunification immigration. In particular the costs associated with family reunification immigration should get a full airing. Today’s taxpayers are on the hook for SSI, Medicaid, housing, other miscellaneous benefits and such for persons arriving under family reunification after the two-year sponsorship period expires. Many of these people get benefits exceeding those of native born Social Security beneficiaries but have never contributed into US social service funds. Something’s not right here.

The fact that Donald Trump is incapable of making economic arguments on immigration is just par for the course.