Coming Clean Beyond the Fiscal Cliff

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 - 8:32am

"Information is the hardest currency." – Andrew Vachss

Washington's negotiations to address the fiscal cliff of automatic tax increases and spending cuts legislatively triggered at the close of 2012 are the latest in an ongoing effort to address increasing U.S. federal government deficits and debt levels. Enormous monetary and fiscal stimulus has failed to produce an economic recovery. In short, the U.S. government and central banks have failed to dig out. Instead, they are now dug in deeper. What to do now?

What is missing from this and other debates on the reengineering of the U.S. federal finances is an understanding or discussion of the structural problems in the federal finances that have been accumulating since WWII, when the United States - with 6% of the world’s population - found itself the master of 50% of the world’s resources.

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of some of these structural issues in the hope that more citizens will be encouraged to consider how the federal finances flow through the immediate world around us - our household budget, our business, farm or place of work, our municipality - and the government-sponsored organized crime and fraud draining us, so we can begin to implement real solutions.

Ultimately, the fiscal cliff is the tip of the iceberg of our economic and cultural woes. Our problems are deeper. The more of us there are, who are prepared to look honestly at our situation and take responsibility for it, the sooner authentic solutions will become possible and emerge.

As we look over the fiscal cliff into our financial abyss, now is a good time to “Come Clean” about the real state of our lives, our communities, and our economy, starting with the U.S. federal finances that flow deeply and intimately throughout every aspect of our lives.

First, a Story

Imagine that you live in a historical mansion in a large, privileged family on a fine property -- rich with good land, good water and natural resources that your ancestors originally acquired through surreptitious means.

Imagine that the mansion and estate have serious structural problems that accumulated over many years. The reasons are complex.

There is enormous distrust within the family. As the vigor of the generations dissipated, expenses rose and numerous members have turned to activities that are unproductive at best, or fraudulent and criminal at worst.

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