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Giving Back the Surplus
The Cynic

cynic@politicalusa.com

10/31/2000

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I've just finished writing a letter to my boss. You see, he has been paying me for all these years, without fail, and I have appreciated it. There is, however, a problem. I have run up huge credit card bills and spent my earnings on various luxuries and somehow got myself in to a tremendous amount of debt. It's been an ongoing problem for years and I didn't want to rock the boat by bringing it up to him, until he made this silly little mistake.

It turns out, that last year he paid me 20% more than I was supposed to make. He brought this to my attention and, after much deliberation, I've decided that I can't return it. I need to get out of debt and I also need a few more luxuries to make life easier for me. He needs to understand that without my efforts his company cannot continue to do well and his children's future may suffer because of it. If he didn't miss the money until now, what's the big deal anyway?

OK, there is no letter and I wasn't overpaid last year (although the debt is all too real). I would never dream of making such an absurd argument for what would essentially be stealing, and I don't think any of you would either. So why do we allow our government to make this argument with our surplus?

With the amount of thick headedness running rampant on the subject, I feel that I have no choice but to yell out my next sentence: "WE HAVE A SURPLUS BECAUSE THEY TOOK TOO MUCH OF OUR MONEY!" (whew, that felt good). Now that we are clear on this, there should be no argument as to where the surplus must go; back to us. 

There have been a lot of feel good proposals for the surplus. We can give drugs to little old ladies, or throw more money at our kid's schools but in reality all we are doing is creating another entitlement. Ronald Reagan once said that the closest we will ever come to immortality is a government program. This is the problem. We may have a surplus now, but what about ten years from now? When the budget goes back into the red, we will still be paying for these programs. We end up making too many commitments when times are good, and lack the gonads to cut the programs when the economy sours. We then run deficits and accumulate more debt. It's a never ending cycle and we continue to make the same moronic mistakes over and over again.

So now you're thinking, "We should use the surplus to pay down existing national debt, so we can start with a fresh slate." (This is why I write a column and you don't.) 

We did not accumulate debt, Uncle Sam has. It's his problem, not ours. There is enough wasted spending in the budget now that can make a dent in the debt, without overcharging the citizenry. The federal government owns, for the first time in history, more than 50% of our land. With the huge assets and billions of mismanaged funds, Uncle Sam can settle the debt without dragging us into his mess.

Every politician, when speaking about the national debt, uses the words "we" and "our" excessively. As in: "We need to pay down the debt, so we can provide for a stable future for our children and our grandchildren." I've been on a few benders in my time, but I doubt that I gave $52 billion dollars to the International Monetary Fund during one, that was Uncle Sam's doing. I don't think that I authorized $14 million on worm excrement studies, Uncle Sam's problem again. I don't think that I lent billions to Mexico and then said "Fughedaboudit" when their economy went south. Uncle Sam needs to stop this we business. This is not our debt it's his, so quit asking us to pay for it. 

The projected surplus over the next ten years is around 1.4 trillion dollars. This is a lot of money. This equal to the total federal outlays for a full year. This is higher than many countries' GDP over the same time span. This is $5600 for every man, woman and child in the country. 

Now you and your wife, and your two little ones, may think that the government has served your interests well. You may even think that they do a good job. So let me ask you this: Do you really think that the job was so good that they deserve a $22,000 tip? 

I think you should ask for the change.

The Cynic, 2000

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View expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Political USA.


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