AMERICA'S DEBT PROBLEM - A PROPOSED SOLUTION
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AMERICA'S DEBT PROBLEM - A PROPOSED SOLUTION

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America's debt is a large problem, compounded by a seeming inability of the government to summon up the courage to address. This article, in chart form, views the issue as a portion of a broader......

America's debt is a large problem, compounded by a seeming inability of the government to summon up the courage to address. This article, in chart form, views the issue as a portion of a broader issue: a broken government process in need of, and deserving of, more Citizen attention. The proposed solution uses this root cause as a basis for modifying the process.

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  • 1. AN OVERVIEWThis chart presentation describes America’s Debt problem briefly . . . but primarily focuses on theproblem, to set the stage for a proposed solution.The problem is viewed largely as an indication of a dysfunctional Congressional budgeting process, which fails to: set integrated priorities; eliminate old and obsolete programs; curtail costs whenrevenues are lean; keep a single set of transparentbooks that include Entitlement obligations; adhere to a regimen that systematically reduces theNation’s Debt and makes it difficult to subsequently increase it.The proposal makes use of citizen involvement andmore transparency of critical summary budget and debt element values.
  • 2. • DEBT PROBLEM IS IMPORTANT & TOUGH.• A MULTI-YEAR EFFORT IS REQUIRED TO GET ITUNDER CONTROLTHE ISSUE HAS MANY ELEMENTS ANDCONSEQUENCES; A FEW SELECTED EXAMPLES.MUCH OF THE ROOT CAUSE IS GOV‟TDYSFUNCTION.HERE‟S ONE SOLUTION APPROACH - - FIXING THEBROKEN FEDERAL “BUDGETING PROCESS”.A LOOK-AHEAD: OUR 6 MONTH SERIES ONAMERICA‟S DEBT.
  • 3. WHY A “DEBT” SERIES ?
  • 4. • DEBT PROBLEM IS IMPORTANT & TOUGH.• A MULTI-YEAR EFFORT IS REQUIRED TO GET ITUNDER CONTROLTHE ISSUE HAS MANY ELEMENTS ANDCONSEQUENCES; A FEW SELECTED EXAMPLES.MUCH OF THE ROOT CAUSE IS GOV‟TDYSFUNCTION.HERE‟S ONE SOLUTION APPROACH - - FIXING THEBROKEN FEDERAL “BUDGETING PROCESS”.A LOOK-AHEAD: OUR 6 MONTH SERIES ONAMERICA‟S DEBT.
  • 5. THE DEBT PROBLEM - - IT DIDN’T ARRIVE OVERNIGHT !OUR GROWING DEBT IS AN ISSUE THAT HAS NOWBEEN IGNORED FOR AT LEAST 3 DECADES. VERYRECENTLY, ON AUGUST 5th, ‘11, THE FINANCIALRATING OF THE UNITED STATES WAS REDUCED FROMAAA TO AA+ - - FOR THE FIRST TIME INAMERICAN HISTORY. IT WAS S&P’s WAY OFFLASHING A RED LIGHT TO INDICATE THE RATINGSERVICE PERCEIVES LESS CONFIDENCE IN HOWAMERICA’S GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN MANAGING ITSFINANCES. THIS WAS NOT A SHOCKING NEWREVELATION, HAVING BEEN PRECEDED BY MANY THE RATING DOWNGRADE:WEEKS OF CONGRESSIONAL WRANGLING OVERRAISING OUR DEBT LIMIT. UNFORTUNATELY, THE • WRONG-HEADED MOVE?LAST MINUTE DECISION DECLINED TO TAKE ANY ORSIGNIFICANT STEP TOWARD CLOSING THE SHARPLY • JUST DOING THEIR JOB?GROWING DEBT THAT AMERICA OWES ITSCREDITORS, BOTH FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC.
  • 6. MONETARY POLICY - -THE FED’S INTEREST RATE CONTROL SYSTEM
  • 7. A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT APPROACH TO AMERICA’S DEBT PROBLEM RE AMERICA’S DEBT: • LEADERSHIP MORALITY - SPENDING/GOVERNING/TRUTH • BUSINESS MORALITY - LENDING & DONATING • POLITICAL MORALITY - CITIZEN POWER/CAMPAIGNING
  • 8. TO SAY THAT MORALITY CAN HELP US FOCUSON SOLUTIONS - - IS NOT TO SAY THAT OURPROBLEMS ARE NOT: • REAL • COMPLEX and, • PUTTING MANY CITIZENS IN PAIN.OUR PROBLEMS ARE CERTAINLY REAL !
  • 9. • DEBT PROBLEM IS IMPORTANT & TOUGH.• A MULTI-YEAR EFFORT IS REQUIRED TO GET ITUNDER CONTROLTHE ISSUE HAS MANY ELEMENTS ANDCONSEQUENCES; A FEW SELECTED EXAMPLES.MUCH OF THE ROOT CAUSE IS GOV‟TDYSFUNCTION.HERE‟S ONE SOLUTION APPROACH - - FIXING THEBROKEN FEDERAL “BUDGETING PROCESS”.A LOOK-AHEAD: OUR 6 MONTH SERIES ONAMERICA‟S DEBT.
  • 10. GOVERNMENT DYSFUNCTION - SOME CRUCIAL EXAMPLESA TORRENT OF LEGISLATION TOOVAST FOR CITIZENS TO MONITOR.A TORRENT OF REGULATIONS TOOVAST FOR CONGRESS OR FORCITIZENS TO MONITOR.UNCHECKED EXTRAVAGANCE ANDIRRESPONSIBILITY WITH THECITIZEN’S FUNDS.UNCHECKED EXTRAVAGANCE WITHCAMPAIGN EXPENDITURES ANDRESULTING UNDUE INFLUENCE OFLARGE ORGANIZATIONS TO FUNDTHE CAMPAIGNS.CONTINUED PANDERING TO SPECIALINTEREST GROUPS TO BESTOWGOVERNMENTAL PRIVILEGE INEXCHANGE FOR CAMPAIGN SUPPORT.
  • 11. • DEBT PROBLEM IS IMPORTANT & TOUGH.• A MULTI-YEAR EFFORT IS REQUIRED TO GET ITUNDER CONTROLTHE ISSUE HAS MANY ELEMENTS ANDCONSEQUENCES; A FEW SELECTED EXAMPLES.MUCH OF THE ROOT CAUSE IS GOV‟TDYSFUNCTION.HERE‟S ONE SOLUTION APPROACH - - FIXING THEBROKEN FEDERAL “BUDGETING PROCESS”.A LOOK-AHEAD: OUR 6 MONTH SERIES ONAMERICA‟S DEBT.
  • 12. A “MODEST ALTERNATIVE PROPOSAL” [ “MAP” ]SEVERAL SOLUTIONS TOWARD REDUCING AMERICA’S THIS “MAP” ISGROWING DEBT HAVE BEEN PROPOSED. PARTIAL VERSIONSOF THEM HAVE BEEN INCLUDED IN THE FINAL , AUG 5th A STEPCONGRESSIONAL DEAL THAT WAS REACHED, INCLUDING: TOWARD• SOME VERY MODEST SPENDING “CUTS”, TO A RESPONSIBIL-BUDGET BASELINE THAT IS ALREADYINCREASING FROM YEAR TO YEAR. ITY ON THE• A “SUPER COMMISSION “ OF 6 DEMOCRATS PART OF THEAND 6 REPUBLICANS TO PUT TOGETHER CITIZENS ANDRECOMMENDATIONS FOR A FURTHER MODESTSPENDING CUT . ACCOUNTABIL-• CONGRESS HAS COMMITTED ITSELF TO AN „UP ITY ON THEOR DOWN VOTE ‟ ON SUBMITTING A “BALANCED PART OF OURBUDGET” AMENDMENT TO THE STATES FORRATIFICATION AS A CONSTITUTIONAL CONGRESS.AMENDMENT. THERE IS NO GUARANTEE OFPASSAGE OF SUCH A BILL THROUGH THECONGRESS OR SUBSEQUENTLY BY THE STATES.
  • 13. A “MODEST ALTERNATIVE PROPOSAL” BUT THESE FOLLOW-ON T H U S , R E L AT I V E T O T H E D E P T HACTIONS COULD TAKE A OF THE PROBLEM, THE CURRENTLONG TIME AND PERHAPS L E G I S L AT I V E O U T P U T I S ANEVER COME TO FRUITION, M O D E S T S T E P. SO I‟D LIKE TOBECAUSE THE BASIC DEBTISSUE ITSELF HAS STRONGLY PRESENT A “MAP” :DIVIDED SUPPORT ACROSS IT ESSENTIALLY LAYS OUT A SHORT LEGISLATIVE BILLTHE NATION. DESIGNED TO HELP OUR CITIZENS GET BACK INTO SOME CONTROL OF THE BUDGET PROCESS. IT RELIESTHUS THE CONGRESS ON A 3-PAGE MANDATED TEMPLATE:REFLECTS THAT DIVISION ANDHAS SIMILAR DIFFICULTYREACHING A DETAILEDDECISION. IT THEREFOREHAS HANDED THE “HOTPOTATO” TO OTHERS TOACTUALLY WORK OUT THESPECIFIC CUTS THAT MUST BEACHIEVED.
  • 14. THE “MAP” PROPOSAL IN A NUTSHELLTHE (“MAP”) PROPOSAL IS DIFFERENTFROM THE PRECEDING SOLUTION PLANSBECAUSE IT:i. ACKNOWLEDGES THAT CONGRESS AND THE NATION ARE DEEPLY DIVIDED OVER HOW TO CORRECT OUR DEBT PROBLEM.ii. FACTORS IN THE NEED FOR THE AMERICAN ELECTORATE TO UNDERSTAND AND CONTRIBUTE TO A DEBT REDUCTION CONSENSUS, AND,iii. INCLUDES ADDRESSING THE IMPACT OF THE NATION’S MUCH LARGER (BY A FACTOR OF ABOUT FOUR) “UNFUNDED LIABILITIES”. THESE LIABILITIES ARE ALSO OBLIGATIONS FOR PAYMENT IN FUTURE YEARS BY THE GOVERNMENT, BUT ARE NOT TYPICALLY INCLUDED IN THE $15 TRILLION DEBT NUMBER THAT IS USUALLY UNDER DISCUSSION.
  • 15. THE “MAP” PROPOSAL IN A NUTSHELLTHE “MAP” PLAN COMBINES: CONGRESS DEMOCRATSi. MORE TRANSPARENCY OF THE ISSUES FOR CLEARER VOTER EVALUATION, WITHii. A MANDATED PLAN SUBMITTED BY BOTH MAJOR AMERICAN POLITICAL PARTIES REPRESENTED IN OUR CONGRESS, AND,iii. A MANDATED INTEGRATED, GOP CITIZENS SINGLE, COMMON BUDGET PLAN DEVELOPED JOINTLY BY THE 2 PARTIES AND VOTED UPON BY THE WHOLE CONGRESS. THE TOTAL PROCESS HAS A “CLOCK RUNNING” AGAINST WHICH THE PROCESS STEPS MUST BE COMPLETED IN FULL VIEW OF THE ELECTORATE AND THE AMERICAN PUBLIC.
  • 16. NOTE: “RSD” = REVENUES / SPENDING / DEBT
  • 17. Leader: THE “MAP” PROPOSAL IN A NUTSHELLA 1000 MAXIMUM WORD LEGISLATION IS PASSED WITH THE FOLLOWINGPARTICULARS:• STEP #1A : CONGRESSIONAL DEMS & GOP (HOUSE & SENATE) EACH AGREE TO PUTTHEIR ALTERNATIVE PROPOSALS IN WRITING WITH A 3 PAGE (81/2 x 11) QUANTITATIVESUMMARY** , OF REVENUES, SPENDING, AND A 5 YEAR NATIONAL DEBT (RSD) PROJECTIONSHOWN AGAINST A 50 YEAR NATIONAL AVERAGE OF DEBT TO GDP. THIS SUMMARY ISCALLED THE “RSD FORM”. A MANDATED TEMPLATE** FOR EACH OF THE 3 PAGES IS TO BEPART OF THE LEGISLATION, AND AN EXAMPLE OF EACH PAGE IS GIVEN BELOW.• STEP #1B: OF COURSE, CONGRESS CAN MAINTAIN THE MORE DETAILED BUDGETACCOUNTING BOOKS TRADITIONALLY USED. BUT IF A DISCREPANCY BETWEEN THESETRADITIONAL BOOKS ARISES IN ANY OF THE RSD TOTALS, THE RSD FORM TOTALS WILLPREVAIL IN THE FINAL BUDGET LEGISLATION AND APPROPRIATIONS.• STEP #2: THE TWO SUMMARIES ARE PUBLISHED AND ON THE OFFICIAL “DAY #1” OFTHE PROCESS EVERY CONGRESSMAN & SENATOR SENDS A COPY OF (BOTH THE DEM & GOPVERSIONS ) TO THEIR CONSTITUENTS AND TO THE MEDIA. ADDITIONALLY, EACH OF THE 2PACKAGES WILL BE SCORED BY THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE FOR TOTALS OFREVENUES, SPENDING AND DEBT PROJECTION. cont’d next 4 pages 
  • 18. THE “MAP” PROPOSAL IN A NUTSHELLA 1000 MAXIMUM WORD LEGISLATION IS PASSED WITH THE FOLLOWINGPARTICULARS:• STEP #3: ALL CITIZENS ARE REQUESTED TO LET THEIR REPRESENTATIVE AND SENATORSKNOW THEIR THOUGHTS BY DAY #14.• STEP #4: APPROPRIATE CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES DELIBERATE WITH THELEGISLATION-STIPULATED OBJECTIVE OF REACHING AGREEMENT ON A COMMON REVENUE-SPENDING-DEBT SUMMARY OF THE INTITALLY SEPARATE 3 PAGE “RSD” FORMS**. THECOMMON SUMMARY IS PUBLISHED TO CONSTITUENTS AND MEDIA AND ON DAY #59.PEOPLE ARE AGAIN BY DAY #73. A SENATE AND HOUSE “BY-NAME”, PUBLIC, “UP OR DOWN”VOTE ON THE RSD PACKAGE IS TO BE COMPLETED BY DAY #80 OF THE PROCESS.• STEP #5: ON DAY #82, EACH CONGRESSMAN & SENATOR WILL SEND HISCONSTITUENTS A STATEMENT OF HIS VOTE AND A RATIONALE FOR IT. ** THE RSD 3-PAGE FORM TEMPLATE IS GIVEN AS FIGURES #1, #2 and #3 IN THIS ARTICLE.
  • 19. THE REVENUES / SPENDING / DEBT TEMPLATETHIS 3 PAGE SUMMARY FOLLOWS THE MANDATED FORMAT THROUGHOUT THE “RSD”PROCESS. EACH PAGE EVOLVES FROM: 1. TWO SEPARATE PARTY-SUBMITTED SUMMARIES • THE RSD-BLU (DEM) AND RSD-RED (GOP) VERSIONS 2. TO A HOUSE & SENATE JOINT VERSION, NOW ALSO ACCEPTED BY BOTH PARTIES • THE RSD-RWB VERSIONEACH VERSION USES THE SAME TEMPLATE SUMMARY, ALTHOUGH THE $ VALUES CAN CHANGE UNTIL THE FINAL, COMMON, INTEGRATED VERSION IS PRODUCED. THEREAFTER, THESE VALUES ARE FINAL AND BINDING ON ALL OTHER BUDGET DOCUMENTS AND LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS.
  • 20. RSD TEMPLATE – CHART #1 - REVENUES
  • 21. RSD TEMPLATE – CHART #2 - SPENDING
  • 22. RSD TEMPLATE – CHART #3 - DEBT SEE CHART, NEXT PAGE
  • 23. THE MAGICALWORLD OF“UNFUNDEDLIABILITIES”
  • 24. • DEBT PROBLEM IS IMPORTANT & TOUGH.• A MULTI-YEAR EFFORT IS REQUIRED TO GET ITUNDER CONTROLTHE ISSUE HAS MANY ELEMENTS ANDCONSEQUENCES; A FEW SELECTED EXAMPLES.MUCH OF THE ROOT CAUSE IS GOV‟TDYSFUNCTION.HERE‟S ONE SOLUTION APPROACH - - FIXING THEBROKEN FEDERAL “BUDGETING PROCESS”.A LOOK-AHEAD: OUR 6 MONTH SERIES ONAMERICA‟S DEBT.
  • 25. SO WHY WOULD THIS “MAP” SUCCEEDWHILE OTHER ATTEMPTS HAVE FAILED ? I THINK FOR THESE REASONS: • IT ADDS CITIZEN DIRECT OVERSIGHT TO A DIFFICULT ISSUE ( NOT EXACTLY A REVOLUTIONARY THOUGHT ). • IT GIVES CONGRESS A STRONGER SENSE OF WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT - - “IN WRITING” FROM CONSTITUENTS. • IT PUTS EVERY LEGISLATOR ON DISPLAY TO EVERY CITIZEN DURING THE PROCESS. • IT GIVES EVERYONE MORE CONFIDENCE IN A FAIR , ORDERLY, UNDERSTANDABLE AND RESPONSIVE GOVERNMENT.
  • 26. A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT APPROACH TO AMERICA’S DEBT PROBLEM
  • 27. THE ENDACTUALLY, IT‟S NOT THE END - - YOUR VOICE ISIMPORTANT TO OUR NATION. CITIZEN INTEREST,DIALOG AND DATA ARE CRITICAL TO GOOD CIVICOUTCOMES. AND THAT INCLUDES OUTCOMES WHICHSIMPLY ASSURE PROPER CONDITIONS FOR THEFREE MARKET TO WORK.