According to a recent and rather shocking guest column in the Asheville Citizen-Times, “America is bankrupt.” Noted economist John Boyle says, “The country’s balance sheet shows a $17 trillion negative net worth,” but (and this is a huge but), that does NOT include “an additional $53 trillion of unfunded liabilities (no funds set aside) for payment for Social Security, Medicare, and retirement benefits for federal employees.” I think you’ll find this information very disturbing and Mr. Boyle’s proposed solutions very interesting.
After hearing one of Mr. Boyle’s presentations in Atlanta, GA, my friend, Rick Bagley, CLU, wrote an editorial for the Asheville Citizen-Times in which he pointed out that the current American debt “in the form of unfunded liabilities, for which there is no means for repayment, is $76 trillion (five times America’s annual gross domestic product — and $245,000 for every man, woman, and child in America).”
Mr. Boyle not only outlines the scope of the problem, but offers a number of solutions:
- First, pass a constitutional amendment requiring the president and Congress to balance the budget — and forbidding any sitting president or member of Congress from running for re-election if the current budget is not balanced.
- Second, revamp the 73,000-page tax code, which is incomprehensible and oppressive and turns hardworking innocent taxpayers into felons.
- Third, revamp Social Security.
- Fourth, address Medicare and the cost of medical care.
In the column he proposes what seem to me to be sensible solutions for us to consider. As Mr. Boyle writes, “There is no easy path to stanching America’s slide into the economic abyss. However, the first step is to recognize the needed changes will never come to pass without an educated and involved citizenry. Hopefully, this essay will help to get that ball rolling.” This post is my small step in helping Mr. Boyle.