THE BLOG
02/07/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Greatest Ponzi Scheme of All Time

Suppose somebody came up to you and said, I'll give you and everybody in your family $5,000, over the next ten years, and, don't worry, you'll never have to pay it back, we've got a surplus. Would you take it? It does sound too good to be true, but the guy's the President of the United States; he's got a great reputation. So, of course, you take the money.

Eight years later, he leaves you, and everybody in your family, owing $16,286 more than when he offered you the money in the first place. What's more, he's taken away a lot of the jobs that were around eight years ago, and your house and your stocks aren't what they used to be either. Does the guy say, "Oops, I'm sorry."? Not this guy. He just says, "Well, back to the ranch.", and rides off into the sunset, passing the buck to somebody else. That's buck, not bucks, cuz we don't have anymore bucks left after he shelled out a trillion of them to the financial and automobile industries.

By now, you know who I'm talking about, so, I ought to tell you how I got to the numbers. When the President came into office, there were about 278 million people living in America. He gave us a $1.35 trillion tax cut over the next ten years. That's about $5,000 dollars a person. The national debt stood out $5.6 trillion.

Now, he's leaving office, and there are 307 million of us. The national debt stands at $10.6 trillion. That's $5 trillion more that we owe, and have to pay back, and that comes to $16,286. You get $5,000 a person, and you wind up owing $16,000, plus interest -- sounds kind of like a Ponzi scheme to me, and that's the way the numbers work.

Of course, all these numbers are averages; a lot of tax payers saved less than $5,000 a person under the Bush tax cut, and quite a few saved a hell of a lot more. And I suppose none of us will ever be asked to pay our share of the national debt outright. Ultimately we'll pay it through higher taxes, a weakened dollar, and fewer government services, and that's probably more painful than even paying it outright.

But, to go back to the title of this piece, Ponzi went to jail, Madoff will go to jail. George W. Bush, who scammed most of us into thinking we could afford a tax cut and then doubled our national debt, will never pay a price for his scam. I suggest he proves that although you can fool all the people only some of the time, and only some of the people all the time, that's usually enough. President Bush has scammed us all, and goes home scot-free.

Subscribe to the Politics email.
How will Trump’s administration impact you?