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Web letter by Rich Polk: Restoring nation’s financial standing will require painful cuts

Imagine if you had a credit card and kept piling on purchases month after month, year after year, until your outstanding debt balance exceeded any rational limit. Your creditors would be on you. That’s the good ol’ USA in a nutshell; just biding time until the piper comes calling. And we’ll eventually have to pay said piper – in real-life terms the Chinese and other foreign creditors that are holding a goodly portion of our paper and one day will bury us the way we did the Soviet Union – by driving us into insolvency unless we straighten up our finances.

If we continue down this road, the only way out will be for us to print paper like it’s Germany in the 1920s. Then inflation will run rampant and we’ll be double whammied by an inflationary depression. You think it can’t happen? History begs to differ.

We need to get serious about this crisis on our doorstep. We can’t pretend that, by keeping interest rates at an artificially low rate near zero (and, by the way, destroying the savings of the elderly/retired!) and printing money to stimulate the economy, all will be fine.

What can we do? Well I don’t profess to be a learned economist or a political whiz kid; that’s up to the miscreants in Washington, D.C., and other public offices to figure out. But how about, for starters, biting the bullet, hitching up our pants and other such platitudes/idioms and, oh, yes, at least making an effort to get our financial houses in order – like maybe recalling that 2+2 = 4, not some imaginary number.

Is there a real interest/effort to get our financials back into perspective? I don’t see it. President Obama certainly is unconcerned, as is most of his base. The Republicans say let’s do it, but like so many on both sides of the aisle, it depends upon whose ox is getting gored or, more simply, let’s make cuts but not in my state or district, not my pet project.

Can we tax hike our way out of this? I say, no way. Financial capital will leave for greener pastures, and those who invest will do so elsewhere.

The answer is simply that this country must face the fact that we can’t expect to continue down this path indefinitely. Something has to give – either we wake up and get things in order or events/outside influences will do it for us … and we won’t like it!


Fort Wayne