Google Analytics

Monday, February 14, 2011

Making Sense Out of the U.S. Financial Mess

The U.S. will have to borrow $0.40 of every dollar we spend in the 2012 budget. That is simply not sustainable. Here are three relatively simple suggestions for getting our financial house in order.
1) Social Security is continually raised as a major financial problem. The facts are that Social Security is fully funded until at least 2039. All that is required to make Social Security fully funded forever is to remove the cap on earnings (currently $106,000). Make that simple adjustment and you take Social Security off the table, period. Contrast that with Paul Ryan's plan to give your retirement funds over to the stock market. We have seen how well that would work.
2) Health care costs are a real and current problem that will only get worse in the future. The facts are that 80% of our health care costs are spent in the last two months of life. (Various studies have used the last two years and some have used the last two days so 80% in two months is a reasonable estimate.) We have created some extraordinary devices for prolonging the lives of unconscious people.The end of life is an incredibly emotional time, but it is also inevitable. Health care costs could be dramatically reduced if we just paid doctors and other health care professionals for discussing Living Wills, Do Not Resuscitate, and other directives chosen by the patient. It is as simple and humane as that. Unfortunately, the Wicked Witch of the North chose to call this idea "death panels". Nothing could be farther from the truth. And what she didn't mention is that there are faceless, nameless insurance company employees acting as a defacto death panel right now by refusing to pay for various treatments.
3) Half of the entire budget is devoted to the Defense Department. We have over 1,000 bases overseas. Actually, no one know the exact number for sure since this entire "empire" operates in the shadows. We built those bases over sixty years ago when our enemy was the Soviet Union. Today our enemy is a few thousand (maybe hundred) terrorists and this hidden empire of overseas bases does absolutely nothing to improve our security. It is impossible to offer exact numbers of what could be saved by dismantling this overseas "empire" because there are no accessible numbers on their costs, but it is not unlikely that the entire deficit could be corrected right here.
Now the question of importance is; "How many of our Congress persons are willing to even discuss these ideas?"

No comments: