"Heywood, [few words removed for clarity] according to the GAO (the government's own accountants), we will exceed fifty trillion dollars in debt sometime this year. We were at about twenty trillion in 2000. Bush has incurred more debt than all other presidents combined.
The 'debt' figure they cite so often is just money we've actively borrowed from people. 'Debt', as defined by the GAO, is computed to GAAP standards... the same standards to which publicly-traded corporations in the US must adhere. In GAAP, debt isn't just the money you have already borrowed, it's money you've promised to pay in the future.
By their computations, and these guys are as fiscally conservative as they come, the NET PRESENT VALUE of all known liabilities we have assumed was 46.something trillion dollars at the end of 2005... and should exceed fifty trillion this year. Net Present Value means we need fifty trillion dollars in the bank, right now, earning 6% interest to pay off our future liabilities.
Fifty trillion dollars is $375,000 for every working adult in this country. That's $375,000 RIGHT NOW, earning interest, not just money we'll earn someday.
Do you work? Do you own a nice house? I've got some news for you, and you're not going to like it much."
Capitalism relies on consumption. If you shift 100% of government receipts onto a sales tax, you are banking on steady consumption over time, and that your tax will not deter people from consuming.
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