Kiss Your Pension Goodbye!
Thursday, October 31, 2013
I was on the reunion committee for my 50-year high school class reunion a few years back. As we tried to track down classmates, we discovered that many—including a few I had known quite well—had died from lung cancer. These folks would light up a cigarette, joke about cancer sticks, cough, and make fun of their addiction. They ignored their symptoms and the constant warnings from their families and doctors, and they suffered the ugly consequences.
Former US Comptroller General David Walker appeared on 60 Minutes back in July 2007. His message? Our country is suffering from a fiscal cancer far more dangerous than any external threat. The federal government is broke. It has promised entitlement benefits—health care in particular—that it cannot afford. While few economists disagreed with Walker’s projections, politicians were unwilling to actually address the problem. From their standpoint, it’s always better to push the problem off to a later date in the vain hope (or delusion) that it will simply disappear.
Walker eventually gave up trying to educate politicians and took his message straight to the people. The Wall Street Journal referred to him as “Chicken Little,” and no one in Washington wanted to hear his doom-and-gloom message. After all, the economy was fine (remember, this was 2007). They either could not or would not see the problem. Walker was ignored.
Since then, the fiscal cancer Walker warned of has continued to grow. In July 2007, our national debt was $8.9 trillion. Six years later, it has nearly doubled to $16.7 trillion. The cancer has metastasized.
A Different Fiscal Cancer Hits Closer to Home