18 May 2006

The penalty for bread and circuses

Starting today, states and localities have to recognize promised benefits as a cost. The result is a one t-as-in-tango trillion dollar liability. Here's how USA Today put it:
"Taxpayers will soon get a surprise bill that could exceed $1 trillion for the cost of paying future medical benefits for state and local workers who retire.
"Retiree medical costs are the biggest long-term challenge that state and local governments face."

This will, from the economically dunderheaded crowd, lead to calls for nationalized health care. Except the federal gov't's not in any better shape.

"The federal government also has a $2.3 trillion unfunded liability for medical and disability benefits promised to civil servants and military personnel who retire. The costs are not the nation's biggest financial problem. Medicare has a $33.4 trillion unfunded liability. Social Security has a $4.6 trillion shortfall."
That adds up to a 41.3 Trillion dollar unfunded requirement.
Well, no problems sayeth the dunderheads. The difference: the federal government can run a deficit. It sure can. Right up to the level of Argentina, which might be part of our future. Return with me now to one year ago today, when the Washington Post ran a column on the approaching bankruptcy of the USA
IN OTHER WORDS, for those of you who aren't dunderheads, forcing an additional few trillion bucks into the federal deficit only speeds the day of reckoning which a republican, a democrat, and the Comptroller warn about.
Observe this doesn't include any cost overruns from the 43rd President's drug plan.
Final note: Social Securty, which gets most of the attention, is actually a small problem compared unfunded medical problems.
Hat tip: Jane Galt
So, what does this have to do with Maritime Policy. Well, the US has some hard choices to make. When the cuts get made, will the maritime world emerge unscathed? Should it?

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