There Is Really Only One Way to Reduce Our Debt

 

In 2012 I was a candidate in the Republican Primary for U.S. Congress, Nebraska District 2. My platform at that time was to “Eliminate the Deficit.” Today I am about to enter the 2018 Nebraska Republican Primary for the U.S. Senate.  My platform will be to “Fix the Debt.” (http://www.fixthedebt.org/)
Our current debt ($15 trillion for the public part on which we pay interest) is now 77% of GDP, the highest since right after WWII, and steadily getting worse.  At the present time it is essentially “free” money because interest rates are so low. But that is already starting to change.  Every 1% increase in interest rates will increase interest payments by $150 billion per year.  A huge upsurge in inflation (which can happen at any time), followed by a corresponding rise in interest rates, will become a huge drain on the federal budget and likely lead to a new crisis much worse than the Financial Crisis of 2008.


With healthcare spending, both public and private, now almost 18% of GDP, and growing rapidly, there is really only one practical way of getting our national debt under control: stabilize the cost of healthcare in the U.S.
Consider the following data:

  • Our national health expenditure grew 4.3% (much faster than inflation) to $3.3 trillion in 2016, $10,348 per person, and accounted for $17.9% of GDP.
  • National health spending is projected to grow at an average rate of 5.6% for 2016 – 2015, and reach 19.9% of GDP by 2025.

  • Federal Medicare Outlays were $588 billion in 2016 or 15% of federal outlays.
  • Federal Medicaid outlays were about $390 billion in 2016 or 10% of federal outlays.
  • The federal tax exclusion for employer provided health insurance was $250 billion in 2016.
  • Summary: the federal government spent almost $1.23 trillion on healthcare in 2016, over 30% of all federal spending of $3.9 trillion.

Conclusion. The only practical way to get our nation’s debt under control is to limit the growth of healthcare spending. Right now federal spending on healthcare is defined benefit (i.e. open ended).  We simply must move to a defined contribution system where all of us as healthcare consumers assume responsibility for our own healthcare spending.  Detailed proposal forthcoming!

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6 thoughts on “There Is Really Only One Way to Reduce Our Debt

  1. The Paradigm Paralysis gripping our nation’s healthcare has produced a death-spiral for our nation’s autonomy within the market-place arenas of our world’s RESOURCES, KNOWLEDGE and HUMAN DIGNITY. The root cause of root causes is likely best understood as a decline in the resiliency of the Common Good for each citizen’s community driven by the locally occurring progressive decline in the Social Capital that sustains it.
    .
    .
    Consider a modern day definition of SOCIAL CAPITAL as follows:

    .the spontaneously communicated attributes of Trust, Cooperation and Reciprocity
    .that occur more frequently for resolving the Social Dilemmas encountered
    .by each citizen during their participation in the civil life of their community
    .when Caring Relationships prominently characterize
    .the generational networks of the community’s citizens,
    .especially within the Neighborhood Network of each citizen’s Family,

    • Excessive debt, largely caused by our inability to control the cost of healthcare, will indeed lead to a loss of autonomy in addressing all of the myriad problems of modern society.

  2. How great that you are running for the U.S. Senate with your platform to fix the debt. We need people with your intelligence and commitment working on this. Good luck!

    • Thanks for your encouragement! For me our huge and rapidly growing debt as a compelling moral issue totally outweighs my slim chances in challenging a popular incumbent like Deb Fischer who just voted to increase our debt by $1 trillion.

      • Takes courage and grit! Margaret Meade is credited as saying: “Never doubt that a few thoughtful committed people can change the world. In the end, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

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