Friday, May 1, 2009

Why There's So Little Outrage

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the federal government is projected to spend $1.8 trillion more than it takes in this year. Next year, expenses are projected to exceed revenue by another $1.4 trillion. $1.8 trillion is equal to the entire amount of revenue generated by the federal government as recently as 1999. 10 years later, it's equal to the amount we're spending in excess of revenue.

This $1.8 and $1.4 trillion is just the beginning. The CBO estimates that our cumulative deficits will run to over $9 trillion over the next decade. The figures are simply astounding. Where will all of this money come from? It will be borrowed. That borrowed money eventually needs to be repaid.

Let's be clear about this deficit, our debt, and the steady stream of bailouts. These are inter-generational transfers of wealth. We are "saving" and "rescuing" those who have failed in some capacity, and we are expecting our children to pay the cost. For a moment, let's forget about whether these deficits will "work" to strengthen the economy (they won't), and let's forget about the future economic consequences of this massive borrowing binge. Where is the discussion of fairness? Where is our sense of decency? Where is the outrage?!

I suppose it's hard to feel outraged if you can't even quantify the magnitude of the problem.

How Many Millions are in a Trillion? from Econ4U on Vimeo.

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