THE BLOG
11/13/2012 05:32 pm ET Updated Jan 13, 2013

Get On Board: Worry About the Deficit

Now that the elections are over, you must start worrying about the deficit. Very serious people are worried about the deficit. CEOs of very big companies are worried about the deficit. Economists and pundits are worried about the deficit.

Sufficient worry will cure any problem. Remember Y2K? Avian flu? The population bomb? Peak oil? Anthrax? Thomas Malthus? Jeremiah? We remedied all these through worry, so pull your weight and worry about the deficit.

The deficit now exceeds $1.1 trillion. This is a huge number, so let me put it in household terms that everyone can understand. Suppose a family of four had run up $1.1 trillion of debt last year. This would be equal to $275 billion per person.

Democrats sort of, kind of, don't like the deficit. They will fix it. But not right now because the economy is a mess. After the economy recovers, they will fix it. Not right away. First they have to pick some shirts at the cleaners, trim the big tree in the front yard, and take the kids to soccer practice. Then they will fix the deficit.

Republicans hate the deficit. They want to slash government spending. Except when they are in office. (Federal debt increased by 83 percent under Reagan and 45 percent under George W.) Now Republicans propose closing the deficit by cutting taxes and increasing military spending. Republicans do not believe in evolution, global warming and mathematics.

The U.S. spends more on military than the next largest 14 countries combined. But we could be outgunned if we fight all fourteen plus the Netherlands (number 19) and Chile (number 26). Better safe than sorry, I always say. And most everyone agrees with me. I have met few people who would rather be sorry than safe.

Republican also claim vouchers can solve the deficit. For example, we can save $9 billion by closing the Environmental Protection Agency and giving everyone a voucher for clean air.

Both parties agree that rising medical costs are a big problem. We have the most costly, inefficient system in the world. No one has any incentive to control costs because everyone thinks they can stick someone else with the bill. We spend twice as much per capital as any other country with worse results.

So the Democrats devised a brilliant solution -- don't change the system, expand it. They also promise to ask doctors and hospitals not to charge so much. They say this will save $716 billion. I wish they had thought of this years ago.

The Republicans would control medical costs with vouchers. Everyone will get vouchers for a single disease. You might get a diphtheria voucher while your neighbor gets a meningitis voucher. Then Wall Street will create unfettered free markets where one can buy and sell vouchers. Thus, through the genius of free markets, you will end up with the precise voucher you need and Wall Street greedsters will become even richer. This means they will have more to trickle on you.

Because Republicans will not allow them to increase tax rates, Democrats will try to raise revenue by closing tax loopholes. Congress is always closing loopholes. Congress amended the tax laws in 1964, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010. I am amazed there are any loopholes left. Loopholes must be like barnacles that grow on their own without human assistance.

Whenever Congress tries to close loopholes or tax the rich, it ignores the fundamental truth of American life: THOSE WITH THE WORST INTENTIONS WILL HIRE THE SMARTEST LAWYERS. The federal tax code has grown from 504 pages in 1939 to 72,536 today. Does anyone really believe that additional pages will accomplish anything other than the rich paying their lawyers more to avoid taxes?

Rape may be the only solution for the deficit. Rape will increase federal revenues and reduce medical cost escalation. It's all part of God's plan. It's hard to explain because He works in mysterious ways. Meanwhile, remain worried. Congress is in session.

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