Over the past 20 years, our country's national debt has exploded. In 2001, when George W. Bush took office, the national debt was $ 5.8 trillion. It took about 225 years – booms, busts, depressions, wars, etc. – to build up that much national debt. In just eight years, Bush and a compliant Congress have doubled the number to $ 11.7 trillion. In Barack Obama's two terms, that added another $ 8.6 trillion. In the past four years, Donald Trump and Congress have fought many battles, but not about that: At the time, America's future was mortgaged for an additional $ 6.7 trillion. Today, the national debt is about $ 27 trillion, a fourfold increase in the past two decades. This does not apply to unfunded mandates. And the end is not yet in sight.
Whenever people come together to accomplish a task, any task, without strong and effective supervision, a natural evolution takes place. Whether in business, academia, philanthropy or government, every activity changes from its original purpose to self-aggrandizement. This process is extremely toxic in the government. There is no profit, let alone a profit motive. Don't worry about productivity. No reason to turn off the proverbial lights. Not a measure of success. No motivation to end counterproductive activities.
Add to this mix the influence of public worker unions. Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry Truman opposed them for reasons that became apparent long ago. The goal of all unions is self-preservation – just as management is to maximize profits. But public workers' unions add two other damaging elements to the mix: (1) defending workplace disability and (2) heavy-handed involvement in the electoral process in a search for compliant politicians who can help them achieve their goals to spend more and more money. public money.
Now, out of the blue, the hiring experts have a new scheme to justify persistent fiscal irresponsibility: the modern monetary theory. It states that as long as interest rates are below inflation, politicians can spend. That is not a theory. It's a vain pun, and the victim of such fallacies is the American taxpayer – and future generations of American taxpayers.
Never in our history has fiscal solidity been so important. The exploding annual deficits of the past 20 years have resulted in a national debt as a percentage of gross domestic product that is as high as it was during World War II, even though our nation lives in peace. In addition, many seriously underfunded programs, such as Social Security and Medicaid, are not included in current debt calculations, although they should.
The passage of a 5,593-page bill to pass quickly in December was irrefutable proof that government debt will never be tackled from above. That legislation was sent to the Senate two hours before the vote. Who can read 2,800 pages per hour, 47 pages per minute? How can responsible lawmakers vote on bills they haven't read? While our political leaders have repeatedly told us how important this bill was to the survival of so many Americans, they have postponed it for months for political reasons. A crucial-to-the-survival-of-so-many-Americans pork-filled bill? About $ 10 Million to Pakistan for "Gender Programs"? Another $ 700 million to Sudan, because Lord knows what? And on and on and on.
History has a clear and repeated message: If we don't address this exploding guilt, it will bring to life omniscient leaders, leaders that Friedrich Hayek said are the & # 39; fatal conceit & # 39; possessed. They think they know more than is known. Leaders who have all the answers to everything they describe as a problem: more regulation. More government control. More taxes. This is a harmful remedy that never worked, one that has left country after country in economic shreds.
Fortunately, the world is changing. Today we have the resources to tackle this financial irresponsibility, this threat to our country as our founders envisioned it. We are immersed in the information age, the Big Data world, the Cloud world, the Bitcoin world. The costs of communication are almost zero. Smartphones, iPads and computers are a vital part of everyday life. At the touch of a finger, one click, information on any topic is available 24 hours a day. Buy something. Sell everything. Today, direct access to information is embedded in our culture. Why should government spending be exempt?
Transparency has always been the best antidote to curb wasteful government spending. With immediate information at their fingertips, tax-responsible Americans are getting a powerful new weapon in the War on Waste. Today, there is no reason why not all local, state, and federal government spending is available online, in real time, to every citizen. Taxpayers must be able to attend a school board meeting and check school expenses on their phones.
OpenTheBooks has a formidable weapon to unleash the ability of the voting public to tackle this exploding national debt, this lack of transparency, this threat to our democracy – the OpenTheBooks Government Expenditure Library, which brings more than 5 billion (and growing) local, provincial and federal government spending. Last year, we filed 41,500 requests for information about the Freedom of Information Act. We have sued several government agencies to encourage them to provide us with the same information that we collect in other states.
The OpenTheBooks Government Expenditure Library is open to everyone: citizens. Politicians. Students. Academics. Scholars. Journalists. Think tanks. Everyone – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Transparency can be as revolutionary as the Internet for the world's economic well-being. Transparency can not only increase the chances of survival of this, the largest country in the history of the world, but will over time contribute to our prosperity, health and happiness. Taxpayer dollars wasted aren't just unproductive. Waste that is allowed to exist stimulates more waste. Fraud that may exist encourages more fraud. A financially healthy economy, an economy committed to removing waste, fraud, duplication and incompetence, will increase respect for government and the rule of law.
OpenTheBooks puts the future of this great country more firmly in the hands of the voters. In order for our elected officials to understand this, we must continuously communicate with them what we expect and how we will vote. I suggest we start with one clear public statement: "I will never vote for anyone who voted for a law that he has not read." Record that statement OpenTheBooks.com/READTHEBILL.
Clearly, our elected officials are unwilling to tackle this explosive, increasingly critical, public debt problem. Fortunately, we taxpaying voters have a weapon within reach to successfully wage a War on Waste. Successful because our political leaders will quickly recognize that they must respond accordingly if they want to be reelected.
. (tagsToTranslate) government debt (t) government responsibility (t) OpenTheBooks (t) fraud (t) Transparency (t) government waste