April 15th came this week.
It’s the deadline to file and pay an individual person’s income tax. (For corporations and other business entities, different deadlines apply.) Annually it is the biggest pay day for the US federal government. In fiscal year 2013, the Internal Revenue Service collected almost 2.9 trillion dollars in taxes. Think about it: US$2,900,000,000,000. The United States must be a wealthy country if it could take so much from its citizens.
Is it? This “rich” country also owes a national debt of about 17 trillion dollars. $17,000,000,000,000. And we have a spendthrift’s habit of running a negative balance in our books year after year. Divide that by the population of 320 million people, your share – and your new-born baby’s share of the national debt – is $53,000. That raises the term “original sin” to a brand-new biblical level.
If the US government were a business formation, it probably would be prosecuted for running a Ponzi scheme. It keeps borrowing money from you and me, the Japanese, Chinese, Brazilians, and other countries, just to pay its interest obligations, while the principal amount keeps growing.
What this non-economist doesn’t understand is this: Why do foreign countries keep lending us money? Are their own national bonds so bad that they rather take risks with the Yankees? Is it like eating fatty food until you have a heart attack because there are no fresh vegetables around?
I am sure the problem is a lot more complicated than my simple question tends to explore. But it is, I believe, a common sentiment and dissatisfaction from a concerned citizen toward its federal government.
The fifteenth of April
Good old USA
Groceries inflating with flying hoofs
House prices shooting through the roof
Passengers in chains
*** The End ***
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