National debt as percentage of GDP was greater in 1945 then it is now. That was after a two-front war in which every "patriot" sacrificed not just by paying huge tax increases, but through rationing of food and commodities. That war lasted 5 years.
We are now in the eighth year of a two-front war in which (1) no "patriot" -- save those in uniform -- have been asked to sacrifice anything
-- in fact they've been encouraged to consume and consume -- and in which (2) taxes have been reduced. We now pay less tax than we did in 1970.
And we have a deficit. To that, a rational person could only respond, "Duh..."
From an historical perspective, it is not the case that government is too big and that the deficit is unmanageable. It would in fact be easy to manage if we, as "patriots", stepped up to the plate and assumed responsibility for it. Instead, it's "them" that caused the deficit, not "us." We don't feel any responsibility for it -- while we sit in our SUVs watching plasma TVs sprouting from the head-liner. It's all these rotten politicians... How'd those folks get there? How? We not only put them there but reelected their sorry asses? And the corporations? They have the power they have because we the people gave it to them. We could take it back -- but that would mean electing real leaders, not just borgs who tell us what we want to hear.
I understand that millions, maybe even most
Americans think that the deficit is unmanageable, that government is too big... We are a nation of middle-aged adolescents, unwilling to accept the most basic responsibilities of adulthood: "We bought it (on time), we used it, we broke it. We pay for it." Personally, I didn't vote for these people (I, of course, only vote for "good" pols
). But that's the constitutional contract: we the people are ultimately responsible.
We must man-up and make the sacrifice to ensure our children's future. There is
no other entity that can do it. The government is "us" -- as depressing as that is, it's a fact we most face sooner or later. If we behaved like the "adults" that we insist that our children become, we would accept the following as not only inevitable, but as our duty:
(1) to pay higher taxes,
(2) to recognize that we must switch from a consumer life-style to a conservation life-style, and work towards a better future for our children (which is what our parents and their parents and their parents ... did. Why does the buck stop somewhere else for us?),
(3) to vote for pols who support these unpopular options.
There is no other way. There is no one else to do it.
And I can't take the assertion that "if we could just get rid of pork-barrel spending everything would be okay" seriously. The pork, the ear-marks, are such a minuscule amount of total expenditures... But focusing on them keeps us from actually having to face the real enemy which is, of course, us
-- as in "us" the people, just as it always has been and always will be. Scapegoats are for children. Adults accept responsibility.
...and I clearly have too much time on my hands and should stop imposing my daily thoughts on this forum. The advantage and curse of being retired: you think you know all the answers and, worse, you've got the time to impose them on someone else. So I'll shut up now. Bye.