Americans understand benefits, but we can’t afford all of them

Gig HarborNovember 20, 2013 

A Time to Talk columnist Mary Magee is a very pleasant lady. She says “Americans have no idea how much they benefit from our government programs at both the state and federal levels” (Gateway, Oct. 16). The majority disagree.

A CNN poll shows that 83 percent of us think the country is on the wrong track, 60 percent think more government is not the answer (35 percent agree with your columnist).

We pay for these programs by borrowing $1 million a minute — 43 percent of our federal budget — from foreign countries, and from ourselves through Federal Reserve legerdemain. Debt per capita has risen 36 percent under President Obama, from $37,000 to $52,000.

A full-page ad in the New York Times on Oct. 22 signed by more than 1,000 economists, including the most prominent, warns that our children will be saddled with this debt. They praised the sequester as a good start.

The Fed has kept the interest rate artificially low for years. When it rises, interest alone will eat up the budget, and look out below for the real estate market.

All levels governments have promised more than they can deliver. You don’t have to look to Greece to see what happens when governments run out of money. Detroit and California cities are bankrupt. Illinois has a $100 billion pension shortfall.Chicago is short $19.5 billion.

The Republicans are losers politically because they are telling us what we refuse to hear: the party is over. The American dream is now working two minimum-wage, fast-food jobs, with $15-per-hour minimum wage in SeaTac said to be impossibly high.

The good jobs went to the countries loaning us money — for now.

We are living beyond our means on borrowed money but can’t agree on what to cut. Your columnist is mistaken that we don’t understand the benefits. We just do not have the money.

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