2018: The pruning of the money tree

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"2018 will be a very interesting year. How we get stuff done, while still keeping the lid on. I know many of us will be watching closely. I know I will. Will we prune the money tree? Or will we need to plant a few more?"

It has often been said he biggest difference between conservatives and progressives are the mythical money trees. Oh - did I say mythical? Well, they are in the eyes of the conservatives. But to the progressives, they are as real as real can get. Please notice I did not say Republicans and Democrats. The reason for that is simple. There are some squishy Republicans today who also believe in the money trees. And that is a big, big problem.
Because of the mirage of the money trees, each year, every year, we spend more than we have. More than we take in. Pffft - like who cares, right? I have actually talked to people on both sides of our political spectrum who blow this whole debt thing off. That it is just a charade, as it is money we owe ourselves. That we could, with the flick of a pen, get rid of $20+T in national debt and start over. Sorry - I am not in that camp.
The Holy Bible tells us that the fields are vast and the workers are few. If I could modify that verse it would be (for our country), the needs are many and the sources of funding are few. Why do I say that? According to the President, one of the first things he would like to attack after Congress comes back from yet another protracted break, is infrastructure. He would like to work with the Democrats in crafting a fix for our aging infrastructure. How much will that cost? About $1T. The Democrats are already asking where the money will come from. On the other hand, earlier this year the American Society of Civil Engineers was asked what the amount should be to update our infrastructure. Ready? $4.6 trillion.
If the amount is $1T or $4.6T, here is the bottom line - the money is not there. Plus - anyone who is paying attention knows our military is in tough shape after the scalping it took under Obama. How much do the experts at the Pentagon say it will cost to get our military back to where it should be to meet today's threats? Somewhere between $4T and $4.5T over the next 9 years.
Of course we still need to fund all our entitlement programs at the same time. For example, in 2017, about 62,000,000 people received nearly $1T in Social Security benefits. And the number of people receiving Social Security goes up every year. Then throw in Medicare, Medicaid, ObamaCare, and you end up with a huge festering wound in our budget.
So how do we prune our money tree? How do we keep the debt from going up like a Roman Candle? How can we pay for everything which needs to be done? What about our electrical grid? Is that not super critical to harden?
2018 will be a very interesting year. How we get stuff done, while still keeping the lid on. I know many of us will be watching closely. I know I will. Will we prune the money tree? Or will we need to plant a few more?