Futures America

The Challenge 

The United States of America is a unique and special country whose establishment changed the world and the rights and dreams of people not only in this country, but also across the globe.  The tenants laid out in its founding Constitution have provided a beacon of hope and aspiration for countless millions of people over the past two hundred years.  Literally millions of people from every corner and nation of the world have immigrated to this great country to seek their fortunes and improve the future opportunities for their children.  And their sacrifices and hard work have laid the foundation for literally unlimited opportunities for current and future generations.  The challenge is how we build upon their hard work and sacrifice.  Will we continue to grow and remain the beacon of hope, liberty, and freedom for the world or slide into mediocrity and become just another 3rd world county, deep in debt with no or limited opportunities?

As we look at America’s future, it is important that we do this objectively, meaning any discussion must be based on fact.  That is the purpose of Futures America. And we must also consider that the cornerstone of our democracy must rest on honest and capable leader citizens who place the needs and future of our country and its citizens above personal agendas or gain.

Today America is a nation in trouble.  It’s publicly declared $15.9 trillion debt now exceeds the output of the entire U.S. economy.  Over 42,000 American factories have been relocated/outsourced since just 2001 and its unemployment rate seems stuck at over 8%.  And one out of seven Americans receive food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (previously called Food Stamps).  That means that nearly one out of every three households from sea to shining sea is receiving federal food assistance. In addition, over 31 million children in over 101,000 public and non-profit private schools and residential child care institutions received federally subsidized free or reduced price meals in 2010.  Its trade deficit with other countries in 2011 alone exceeded $559.9 billion, with $295.5 billion going to Communist China ($103.9 billion U.S. exports versus $399.4 billion Chinese imports), a country that does not share our democratic traditions or beliefs.  And the trade deficit with China over the past 10 years has exceeded $1.9 trillion dollars, the largest wealth transfer from one nation to another in the history of mankind for comparable period.  Underfunded entitlement obligations for Social Security now exceeds $15.8 trillion, the prescription drug program $20.9 trillion, and the granddaddy of them all, Medicare, $83.2 trillion, an amount alone that is approaching the entire net worth of the United States ($91.5 trillion).  Long term projections suggest the debt will continue to grow faster than the economy, which would have to expand by at least 6% a year to keep pace. How serious is this?  Only Portugal, Greece, Italy, Ireland, and Japan have debts larger per capita than their economy.  And Italy, Greece, Ireland, and Portugal are the primary reason for the European debt crisis that threatens to destabilize the entire world economy.  Yet, as concerning as this number is, it only reflects a small portion of the larger debt and unfinanced entitlement requirements that have been placed into law in Washington and that will have to be paid by current and especially future generations of Americans.

So just looking at one of the many challenges facing America, how serious is our nation’s debt crisis and what are the primary causes for this disaster?  How will this affect all Americans? And more importantly, what can we do to correct this?

Historically each generation of Americans has been excellent stewards of our country and economy.  Most felt they should pay their way and provide a better future and increased opportunities for following generations.  However, over the past 30 years in particular this stewardship has changed.  The me-first attitude of many current Americans has made it all too easy to just borrow the money and pass the costs for repaying it and the resulting interest to future generations.

Because the numbers are so large, lets try and put the debt crisis alone in terms of something we can better understand.  If we combine the federal deficit with the bigger items of the under funded Federal entitlements, including Social Security, Medicare, and the prescription drug program, the nation’s real measure of debt and under funded entitlements increases to $135.8 trillion dollars.  This number is far from all-inclusive, but it is a good start.  Now let’s put this in terms we can better understand.  If we were to borrow $1 million and pay it back at the rate of $1 per second, it takes 11 days to repay the amount.  If we borrow $1 billion, it takes 31 years.  And if we borrow $1 trillion, it takes 31,000 years.  So if we multiply 31,000 years by the $135.8 trillion debt and under funded entitlements it will take us and our children and grandchildren a very, very long time to just cover the principle of the amount owed (assuming no interest on all this debt or increase in the obligations).  It’s a staggeringly huge amount of money and to make it even worse, the Federal government continues to dig the hole deeper by borrowing over 39 cents of every dollar they spend, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week…365 days a year.  Under the current administration in Washington, we have added over $5 trillion dollars to our national debt in just three years.  When combined with the massive trade deficit and the corresponding loss of good paying jobs in America, we begin to see the magnitude of the problem. 

These and other issues affecting America and its future are addressed in the respective sections of this site.  Your comments and recommendations are appreciated and will be added to the discussion as we work to find solutions to these challenges.

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