David Walker and our Economic Meltdown

David Walker is not a politician. He was hired by Bill Clinton during his presidency to head the GAO. His official title was: Comptroller General of the United States and head of the GAO. He was not an elected official and was hired for 15 years regardless of which president or political party was in office.

Walker has been preaching of impending fiscal doom for some time now, unless there is immediate action. It is his premise that there is not enough money to pay future retirees their full Social Security and Medicare benifits and in fact, unless something is done immediately, our country may not survive.

A commenter to my last diary: "Social Security and Medicare Crisis" asked the following question:

"TKH, as a Democrat, why do you believe the Walkers of the world, but not the Kuttners?"

Walker quit his job in march 2008 to join the "Peterson Foundation" to warn Americans of the seriousness of the impending fiscal melt down of the American economy. On his staff are Republican, Democratic, and Independent economists. His message is about as middle-of-the-road as one can get.

His message pisses both Democrats and Republicans off because he blames both parties for the problem. The solutions he proposes go against the core beliefs of both political party bases.

I trust his judgement. Politicians, both Democratic and Republican, say what they need to say, and promise what they need to promise, to get elected regardless of whether they can actually produce it or not. David Walker has no political agenda. Of all the people I have seen in high government positions, I believe Walker is one of the few who cares more about the problem, and its solution, than any elected official can.

Yes...I am proud to be a Democrat, but as my sig line at the bottom says, I am not a follower and will go against the party line, if need be, when I believe the party is wrong on any issue. On this issue, I do believe that the Democratic party is to damn stuborn to see that they can not solve this problem alone and, as revolting as it may be, they need the Republican party.

I know that there are some things that are to complicated to be solved solely by partisan politics. This is a national problem and it will require choices that piss everyone off to solve it.

Look at it this way...For 50 years both Dems and Reps have squandered excess SS money that should have been invested for retirees future, but NO, they had to borrow this money to fulfill election promises. Not giving a damn about what that meant to future generations.

Social Security: There is No Trust Fund, Only IOU's

Here's another way to think about the problem. Social Security is a commitment by the government to make payments to people in the future. The Trust Fund exists, supposedly, to secure that commitment by setting money aside today — so that in the future, the money doesn't have to come from taxes, borrowing, or spending cuts. Fine — in principle. But when that money is invested in Treasury bonds, those bonds themselves will have to redeemed in the future, and the money to do that will have to come from taxes, borrowing, or spending cuts.

Instead of investing our money into things that can be immediately converted back into cash when needed, they left us IOUs and promises that it would be paid back. Well guess what...payment is coming due and there is no cash, just IOUs. Seniors can not eat IOUs. IOUs can not provide medical care. The money will have to come from somewhere and guess where that is: higher taxes AND reduced benifits.

The last line above shows exactly where the problem is. I can not see a Democratic platform demanding "reduced benifits" or a Republican platform demanding "higher taxes". Unfortunately, the solution to this problem will require both. That is why politicians on both sides of the Isle refuse to take this issue head on. So, Politicians ignore it and the problem continues to grow and be passed along to the next generation.

Unfortunately, there are no more future generations to pass this problem on too. We must begin to solve this problem now or our entire economy will collapse within the next 30-40 years. Politicians have kicked this economic can down the road for 50 years leaving it to someone else to solve. Well, the road has run out and there is no where else to kick this can to. Barack must start the process and make the hard choices that will eventually save America.

Hell...I'm 60, why should I give a damn about a problem that probably won't affect me or my chances of getting benifits? The answer to that is obvious. Everytime I look at my grown children, and especially at my grandbabies, I wonder what their futures will be like? Will they even have a future? Will they have the opportunities that I've had or will they live in a third world country where the majority of the population lives in poverty. Where pain and suffering are the norm? I see this as a possibility, unless things change. To me, these questions are bigger than both the Democratic and Republican parties combined.

Neither party alone has been able to fix this problem because of partisan politics and have more or less ignored it, because their party can not provide a total solution. Therefore, IMHO, logic suggests, that alone they never will. This problem was caused by both political partys. For either party to blame the other is a stupid waste of time and accomplishes nothing. It will require elected officials on both sides of the isle to hold their collective noses, work together, and make hard decisions that no one likes, but are necessary. The longer they wait, the less likely it is that it can ever be solved and the more likely it is that our nation may not survive.

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As always, Here is a link to my main diary on the subject