Sunday, September 07, 2008

Warnings of impending disaster: anyone listening?

Some notes on an add by the Peter G Peterson Foundation in today's New York Times [pp. 14-15].

> The total of the US government liabilities and unfunded entitlement promises is $53 trillion. This amounts to $456,000 debt per household.
> Medicare and Social Security amount to $41 trillion of the above number.
> Our trade deficit is $800 billion a year and we are saving about zero collectively.
> This makes us dependent on foreign lenders to supply the funds we need [that is, want] to maintain our standard of living. Japan and China and other countries now own about half of our public debt.

So much for the reality we don't want to know. The most worrisome part of this story is that the American people are not listening; I suspect they will scarcely take note of this advertisement. It even says we should not punish our politicians for telling us the truth: if they tell us that it will cost us to avert disaster. I wonder. The finest example in literature of precisely this kind of situation is in the Bible: the refusal of the Hebrews to take note of impending disaster. "Oh land, land, land! Hear the word of the Lord!" says Jeremiah. What chance is there that this country will elect the kind of leaders that would turn the country away from disaster?

1 comment:

hannah said...

The choice of Sarah Palin just makes it so clear to me that the Republican Party as it exists right now no longer has any grasp on reality; the only thing that matters is to win, and damn the consequences. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac... what's next? I never thought I'd see the day when the Bush administration would start nationalizing businesses. It makes me worry what signs they see coming that scare them enough to do so.