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Wealth in a time of increasing debt

Published 9:33pm Monday, July 29, 2013

By Joseph L. Bass

If you don’t have anything entertaining to do some day go to www.usdebtclock.org/ and watch the government debt counters go up. Last time I looked it was near $17 quadrillion for federal debt, $1.85 quadrillion for state government debts, and $1.78 quadrillion for local government debt.

By the time you look, the total might be $20 quadrillion. That’s $20,000,000,000,000. I’m confident you will have great fun watching the counters go up. You might get your spouse and kids together and watch the ever-increasing red numbers, instead of watching the Super Bowl next year. Imagine the fun you all will have!

I’m having trouble understanding all the good news about the improving economy while those red numbers continue to spin up. Our debt is going up and we are getting better? I would think we would be getting better when the debt numbers start going down. Is there something wrong with my thinking?

I’m beginning to think there is not too much difference between Republicans and Democrats. Both groups are made up of spend-tax-and-go-into-debt politicians. And, although what they want to spend our money on may differ, both groups struggle to convince us that their spend-tax-go-into-debt plan will create more and more jobs.

I think we are caught in a cycle of creating more jobs and debts without creating anywhere near enough wealth to repay our investments. And we are rewarding the politicians by re-electing them for continuing this pattern.

How is it possible to create jobs without creating wealth? One easy example is two business people investing $100,000 of their own money and $300,000 of government money to start a business that operates for two years, employing many people. If the business fails or goes bankrupt in the end and is unable to repay the government, no wealth is created. Another example would be the government funding a grant program that hires employees. People feel good about the effort, but there is no positive end result and no wealth is created.

Of course not all government spending efforts will create wealth, just as not every business venture is successful. But with government it is nearly impossible to end an unsuccessful program, and government is unable to prioritize spending either in allotting funds or ending allotment of funds.

If Congress and the President could set spending priorities, we would not have the current across-the-board sequester reductions.

Instead of being taken in by politicians who want us to think that “creating jobs” is the obvious, good result, maybe the American people should closely examine what our elected officials are doing with their votes and our money and reward those that make the tough decisions, which are obviously needed to get us on the right track.

Joseph L. Bass is the executive director of ABetterSociety.Info Inc., a nonprofit organization in Hobson. Email him at ABetterSociety1@aol.com.

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