What servicing our debt has really cost us
Monday morning and America cringes at another week of misdirection, distractions, lies, smears, half-truths, fibs, deception, fictions, slander, evasion and statistical fabrications emitted by the most transparent Administration in US history. Yes, there are substantive issues that should demand some of our attention: the steep rises in food and gas prices, Keystone XL, the ascension of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and the faux overreaction to an ESPN headline that allowed the MSM to yell "racism" in a crowded theater. But there is one overriding issue that drains the our nations vitality, that will not appear on the thirty second sound bites this week; our unfathomable Federal debt.
In B-School, do you remember that nasty test question on opportunity costs? Investopedia has a practical definition and example.
The cost of an alternative that must be forgone in order to pursue a certain action. Put another way, the benefits you could have received by taking an alternative action. [For example] The opportunity cost of going to college is the money you would have earned if you worked instead. On the one hand, you lose four years of salary while getting your degree; on the other hand, you hope to earn more during your career, thanks to your education, to offset the lost wages.
During the twelve fiscal years of 2000 thru 2011, the Congress and the Presidents have jointly authorized the spending of four trillion, five hundred and eight-five billion, five hundred and thirty million, seven hundred and fifty seven thousand, seven hundred and forty-four dollars and seventeen cents on the interest owed on the Federal debt. $4,585,530,757,744.17 - wow!
We all know that hollow feeling of paying interest on our revolving credit cards. So, what opportunities have the Federal government forgone by paying out an average of $382 billion a year in interest? That money could have been used for the betterment of the entire country; NASA, parks and recreation, transportation, blue collar infrastructure, energy research, medical research, the-wish-we-coulda's are endless as our desires for doing good for all citizens.
But our biggest loss was not just the staggering sums of taxpayer's money, but the time those lost projects could have bought to the sick and less fortunate. We lost opportunities to explore the moon and Mars, to open new doors on aging, and to develop energy wave technology. Bitterly, those shattering discoveries yet-to-be will not be made for another twenty-five years. We lost time in creating new 21st century industrial and manufacturing bases here in America. And we lost so much time that we have given an opportunity to those who knowingly spread hatred, fear and envy to satiate their own lust for power. So, what is the real cost of the federal debt? We have closed our eyes to the despotism of TARP, Wall Street bailouts, the redacting of our Constitution and Bill of Rights, lunch box searches and death panels.