The columnists at MarketWatch must have misread the memo from Murdoch about being staunchly Republican and pro-business no matter the cost. Following Paul Farrell’s rant about the conspiracy of the super rich, now Brett Arends reminds us of Dwight Eisenhower’s warning of a military-industrial complex taking over the United States — and shows us that it’s already happened:
Forget the posturing you’re going to hear tonight. Do you want to hear the real state of the union? Just ask Ike: President Dwight Eisenhower.
As fund manager Jeremy Grantham notes, it was 50 years ago this month that the old general delivered his famous farewell address to the nation after a lifetime of service that few will ever match.
Less well-remembered: His warning against hocking ourselves up to the eyeballs as the easy way out of any problem.
“We… must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow,” he said. “We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.”
Living only for today?
Mortgaging our grandchildren’s assets?
An insolvent phantom?
Hmmm. Sound like anyone we know?
Today the United States is more in debt than any country, ever, in the history of the world. And it’s not just the ballooning federal debt that you keep hearing about. Companies are hocked up to the eyeballs. States and towns. And, of course, families.
Already, the total is $36 trillion. That is nearly three times the size of the economy. (And that is not even counting the trillions in so-called unfunded liabilities for the likes of Social Security and Medicare and municipal retirement plans.)
Just this conservative figure works out at about $300,000 per American household.
About half of that has been racked up in the last decade. About two-thirds of it just since 1990.
In Eisenhower’s time, gross federal debt was about half of GDP. And most of that had been built up fighting the Second World War.
This year it will reach about 100%.
What did we do with the money we borrowed? We had a housing bubble. And we bought a bunch of Jacuzzis and flat-screen TVs… made in China.
The situation is getting worse, not better…
[continues at MarketWatch]