Understanding what is embarrassingly unfolding in the US Congress has little to do with the two “d” words (deficit and default) and everything to do with one “g” word and that is greed. We are in this whole mess because our government continues to spend more than it brings in. I know this is a hard one to swallow given how much Americans pay in taxes, but the US government spends more money than it brings in with tax revenue.
Because the US spends more than it earns, we’ve accumulated an astronomical deficit and have been in debt for as long as I care to remember. The fact is we are a mere few days away from what could be one of the biggest upsets to hit our economy since the Great Depression of the 1920’s.
Since Congress imposes a limit on how much the US can borrow, one of two things will happen. One, the debt ceiling is increased by midnight Tuesday or two, the US defaults on its interest payments. As a result of the latter, the US will lose its gold-plated AAA credit rating along with its reputation as an economic powerhouse.
While Democrats are claiming that increasing the debt ceiling will save our nation $2.2 trillion over the next 10 years, Republicans want to chop federal spending. Do we tax the rich more simply because they can afford it the most? Do we NOT raise taxes and enact massive cuts to existing government programs, some of which can be brutal to those who rely on them? The answer lies somewhere in between. Both sides of the aisle have made valid arguments, to be sure, but neither side is totally right, which is expected. And this is where the spirit of compromise and seeking a mutually beneficial common ground is ALSO expected. Not gridlock.
As this grueling fight wages on, I have to wonder what is Uncle Sam thinking? How could our government allow something like this to happen at the expense of its citizens? How did the US (at one time the richest country in the world) fizzle down to this? The answer to every single one of these questions is GREED! Not just in the sense of wanting more money, but also in craving more and more political power.
Mahatma Gandhi once wrote, “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.” These are very wise words from a very wise man. Too bad the folks on Capitol Hill haven’t taken heed to this yet. If they did, the United States would now be in the midst of a golden age and not one of the biggest economic crises this country has ever seen.
Those of you who know me know that I’m not one to get involved in political debates. I try not to focus on all the negativity that seems to go along with it. I believe what we focus on in life is what we get back. Quite simply, like attracts like. So what’s the purpose of this blog?
By definition, greed is the excessive desire to acquire or possess. It is what motivated Bernie Madoff and it is what motivated Wall Street executives to make up absurd investment tactics based on junk mortgages so they could siphon off large fees without any regard for the consequences and without any regard for anyone else.
So if we ever want to get rid of this greed and the ramifications of what’s going on in Congress at this very moment as I write , the answer is to put your own desires aside and put other’s needs first. Congress needs to put the people of this great nation first. Only when it finally realizes that there are not two sides (Democrats and Republicans) to this issue but one, will we get anywhere.
A better “D’ word is “decency.” A better “G” word is “good.” As we do good for others, we will only get good in return. So in taking care of the needs of others, we will also take care of our own.
I still hold out hope that if we continue to be decent citizens (and decent representative voices of those citizens), and strive to truly do the most good for others, while pushing our own excessive needs aside, then that hideous monster called greed can ultimately be tamed along with our insidious US deficit. Let us all hope and pray.