Compared to most folks whose letters get printed on this opinion page I’m not that bright. I know this because I don’t have the answers to all of today’s critical questions. In fact, with the news cycle turning so quickly I seem to get my thoughts caught in the spokes.
One of America’s worsening concerns is our national debt. On this I do have an opinion. We’re in deep … ah … trouble. As of this writing Congressional Democrats want to spend an inconceivable $3.5 trillion on a loosely defined, deceptively named package some have dubbed human infrastucture. The GOP is backing a much more affordable $1 trillion idea, give or take a few hundred billion, to fix potholes.
In 2019, our last healthy year, we taxpayers paid our Uncle Sam about $4.5 trillion in taxes to live on. My father’s brother, my uncle Murray, always tapped my dad for some cash. One time Murray asked my dad for a few bucks. My dad handed his Ne’er-do-well bro a small wad of cash. Murray balked; it wasn’t enough. My dad said he had a bad month. Murray responded, “If you had a bad month, why should I suffer?” Uncle Sam and Uncle Murray seem interchangeable.
I’ve heard economics isn’t a “hard” science. On a personal level, I disagree. When you or I owe money to the butcher, baker, or credit card maker they will collect even if it means you or I eventually having to sleep on our sister’s couch. Personal debt is real, national government debt seems imaginary. Congress’s continuous funding fight is bread and circus. A better concept: A political wrestling match, not Olympic style, but WWE stuff. Just for show. If it’s a game, let’s make up rules to finish the game merrily, say good night, and have happy dreams.
We can make these dreams happen. The president can order the U.S. Mint to strike a $1 trillion platinum coin. Some noted economists believe that this magical coin dropped into the slot at the U.S. Treasury would be legal and would work to pay down the federal debt. So, with a pocketful of change our problems will be solved. As Monty Python once said, it’s a good solution “If you don’t mind living in the figment of someone else’s imagination.”