What Does Financial Security Mean to You and Where Has It Gone for Most Americans?

Shari Vaudo, a Soul of Wit author, recently published an excellent article called “Where is Our Security” on the Soul of Wit website. Before her question can be answered we must all define what the word “security” means to each of us.

What does it mean to you? When I think of the word security what comes to mind is the feeling of being safe and protected, having enough money in the bank to take care of our obligations, and still have a little left over each month so that every once in a while we can do something we find enjoyable. Whether it’s go out for dinner, see the latest release at the movies, or just go to the local apple orchard and eat donuts and drink cider.

Whatever it is that a person chooses to do either for enjoyment, or just survive, it generally involves money of some sort and the big “M” appears to be missing piece in the majority of our lives these days. The lack of financial stability in this country is what has created the financial insecurity many of us feel in our lives.

So what happened? How did we go from where we were to where we are? How did we go from being the most financially stable country in the world to basically teetering on the verge of bankruptcy?

Republican politicians would have you believe our financial woes are due to uncontrolled spending, Democratic politicians would have you believe we’re in the position we’re in due to tax cuts.

Let’s put what the politicians think totally out of the equation and take a walk down memory lane.

IMHO our financial security was misappropriated by the Republican Party during the Presidency of George W. Bush. Was the downfall of the United States of America an intentional ploy by the Republican Party? I couldn’t even begin to answer that question because I don’t know, but what I do know is when President George W. Bush entered the White House on January 20, 2001 the budget for FY 2001 had already been put in place by his predecessor, President William J. Clinton at $1.86 trillion dollars.

By the time our current President, President Barack Obama entered office on January 20, 2009, eight years later, the budget for FY 2009 had already been put in place by his predecessor, President George W. Bush at a whopping $3.51 trillion dollars, or an increase over the 2001 budget of $1.65 trillion dollars.

In other words, the budget of the United States of America was almost doubled under Republican leadership with a budget increase of 89 percent. I mean think about it for a minute. If your monthly expenses were increased by 89 percent what would your bottom line look like?

As the majority of us know, increasing expenses is not a major problem as long as we have sufficient revenues to cover the increase in expenses. That didn’t happen. Under Republican leadership, in the form of major tax legislation known as EGTRRA, made retroactive to taxable years after December 31, 2000, revenues were drastically decreased due to huge tax cuts and major loopholes.

By the end of FY2009, the very first year President Obama was in office, this country had a budget deficit of $1.4 trillion dollars and immediately the Republicans were loudly ringing the warning bells claiming the deficit spending liberals were going to bankrupt the country.

That might be true if it wasn’t for the fact that all but $458 billion of the $1.4 trillion dollar deficit was totally and completely due to tax legislation put in place during the Bush years. No one bothered to tell us that because it was much easier to blame the financial crisis, then and now, on our new President.

Republicans have continued to feed taxpayers false and misleading information about the economics of this country ever since President Obama has been in office. But, why wouldn’t they? Hand feeding the American public misleading information is a political ploy that has worked exceptionally well for the Republican Party for the past decade and may never change due to the fact it has been so successful.

In days gone by, we as a people could get the true story of what was happening in our country from Journalists. Journalism is not dead, but it certainly appears to have taken a long-term leave of absence.

Where we can get an accurate picture of what has actually happened to this country is from the resources that are available to us as taxpayers; the CBO, Congressional Budget Office, CRS, Congressional Research Service and JCT, the Joint Committee on Taxation.

As far as I’m concerned the CRS Report of April 2011 tells the entire story in one paragraph:

“For the decade as a whole, it can be estimated that legislative changes have increased deficits, relative to the 2001 baseline projections, by $6.9 trillion. Laws enacted in 2001 and 2003, notably the “Bush tax cuts”, generated the largest 10-year increases in budget deficits”.

The decade they were referencing is the 10-year period beginning in 2001.

In addition to doubling the budget and reducing the revenues, legislation passed during the Bush years created additional expenses as follows:

Two separate wars were begun with no provision being put in place for paying for the wars. Both wars were deficit financed. Not providing additional taxes to pay for war expenses is a very unusual move as all previous wars have been paid for by either increasing taxes and/or adding a war surcharge.

Another unpaid expense was Medicare Part D which was passed with absolutely no provision for the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate the price of drugs with the pharmaceutical companies. Why does that make a difference? By law, Veterans Affairs is allowed to negotiate the cost of their drugs with the various drug manufacturers, resulting in lower costs. Example: Medicare pays $1,485.00 for a year’s supply of the cholesterol drug Zocor, while Veterans Affairs pays $127.00 for the same quantity.

Does it make a difference? You bet your booties, just look at the profits made by the pharmaceutical companies since the implementation of the Medicare Part D benefit. If the Medicare Part D legislation had not included a waiver that pharmaceutical costs could not be negotiated, Medicare Part D expenses would not be so high, we would not be talking about Medicare ‘running out of money’ and the pharmaceutical companies would have lower profit margins, but that didn’t happen.

The list goes on and on. A person can listen to the information supplied to them by various sources on how this country is faring, or they can take the time and energy necessary to find out the facts on their own which basically becomes a relatively easy task if you remember one simple fact:

U.S. Politicians lie, numbers don’t!

© 2013 Patricia L Johnson

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