These American states are drowning in ‘irretrievable’ debt
Connecticut may be the richest state in the country, on a per capita basis, but it’s racked up a sizable debt worth more than $53 billion – and it could be taxpayers who are forced to bail out the Constitution State, according to the former governor of Indiana.
“Someone’s going to the barbershop,” Mitch Daniels, a Republican, said during an interview with FOX Business’ Stuart Varney on Thursday. “The first will be the taxpayers, already beleaguered in some of these states.”
And Connecticut isn’t the only state struggling with a debt crisis: California, Illinois, New Jersey and New York are unable to make pension payments to retired government workers.
In Illinois, for instance, vendors wait months to be paid by a government that’s $30 billion in debt, and one whose bonds are just one notch above junk bond status, according to Daniels. New York’s more than $356 billion in debt; New Jersey more than $104 billion; and California more than $428 billion.
Folks; it is just like any other problem/difficult situation that exists. Left unattended or ignored, hoping it will heal itself, only makes the matters worse.
Gangs, drugs, terrorists, illegal immigration, debt, plus plus plus. If any of the fore-mentioned were ignored in their infancy as they were, sooner or later they grown up to be monsters that are totally out of control and impossible to reign in.
Who do I blame for these catastrophes?? The suit and the skirts, in all walks of politics that we elect to make sure conditions like this are nipped in the bud.
I have said it before and I will say it again; 80% of the politicians are nothing but a bunch of self-serving leaches, over paid, under worked dead beats.
What is their answer to all of the predicaments that they caused by their incompetence? RAISE THE TAXES. If they would do what they were elected for, the country would not be in dire straights as it is. Key words: do what they were elected for.
Instead of all the cloak and dagger, clandestine activities that consumes all of their time trying to catch one another tip-toeing out of a motel room with some hooker or stripper; if they would put the same efforts into more constructive uses, we would not find ourselves drowning in our own excrement.
Whenever there is a problem, for the most part, I usually have a reasonable solution. In this case, I may be stumped. The only possible way out of this swamp is get rid of all politicians, federal, state, county and local and make a fresh start. Chances of that are little to none.
These foul-balls that call themselves leaders of our country are absolutely pathetic and have no regrets for their part in the failures of this country. It is a perfect situation for them. When the shit hits the fan, they ALWAYS blame the other party.
Isn’t that convenient, NEVER, EVER taking any responsibility for themselves.
I wish someone would clue me in. Maybe sometime I am a little t
hick-headed. IFFF, these political parasites truly had the best interest for the American people as their priority as they should, would they be raping the country as they are. Check out the following.
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1. A base annual salary of $174,000
Admittedly, there should be some premium in pay for setting the laws and running the country as elected officials, and certain companies do grant their employees exorbitant pay packages, but being a member of Congress includes a minimum annual paycheck of $174,000, which is more than three times higher than the average private-sector salary of $51,986 in 2010, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
2. Free airport parking
How much would you pay for an airport parking spot that was directly next to the terminal you landed at? For Congress, it’s a big fat zero. At one time in its history, long before the Airport Authority controlled Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Dulles International Airport in the Washington, D.C., area, the federal government operated them. When the Airport Authority took over in 1987, as a courtesy, it kept 92 combined spots reserved between both airports for members of Congress. At a rate of $22 per day, that represents almost $740,000 in forgone revenue annually for Reagan National.
3. A free, on-site gym for House members
Not only are members of the House of Representatives treated to their own exclusive gym, but it also comes with flat-screen TVs, a swimming pool, a sauna and stream room, and paddle-ball and basketball courts. This wouldn’t be too bad, except that Congress kept its gym open during all 16 days of the government shutdown, putting the onus of cleaning and maintenance fees squarely on taxpayers.
4. Weakened insider trading restrictions
Despite passing the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, perhaps known better as the STOCK Act in 2012, Congress gutted the primary disclosure component earlier this year. While still making it difficult to make trades on inside information, this means they don’t have to publicly disclose their trades and potential insider knowledge. It’s laudable they passed the restrictions, but it’s hard keep them honest if it’s difficult to access the information.
5. Up to 239 days off
According to the congressional calendar released in late 2012, there were 126 congressional sessions on the docket without a single five-day work week, leaving members of Congress with 239 days to work outside of Congress. Sometimes this means working within their home state, and in other cases it can mean a vacation. Members of Congress get the entire month of August off, get two weeks around Easter off, and weren’t scheduled to work a single weekend, according to this year’s docket. Of course, the congressional docket can be changed and, as we saw as recently as the debt-ceiling debate, members of Congress will indeed work weekends as deemed necessary.
6. Congress receives health-care subsidies under Obamacare
Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, individuals are required to have health insurance or face a penalty that increases each year through 2016. For individuals earning less than four times the annual poverty level (about $46,000) or families earning less than four times the poverty level (close to $92,000), they are eligible to receive a partial or full subsidy on their health insurance through Obamacare’s health exchanges. Congress, however, also gets a large portion of its health insurance subsidized by the public on Obamacare’s health exchanges despite making more than four times the poverty level.
7. A better retirement plan
According to figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, the average Social Security recipient is going to net $15,000 a year in benefits while a public workers’ pension will average around $26,000. By contrast, a retired member of Congress who’s served 20 years will average $59,000 annually in pension benefits. In addition, Congress members (actually all federal workers) have access to the Thrift Savings Plan, a 401(k)-like investment vehicle with fees of just 0.03%. To put that into context, Bankrate notes that this means just $0.27 in fees for every $1,000 for the Thrift Savings Plan, compared with the average 401(k), which charges around $5 in fees for every $1,000! Over a lifetime, that can mean thousands less in fees for congressional employees compared to public- and private-sector workers.
8. Members of Congress fly free
OK, so not every flight is free for members of Congress, but a vast majority of flights between their home states and Washington, D.C., are funded with taxpayer money. What’s really unique is that lawmakers are afforded the ability by airlines to book themselves on multiple flights without being charged multiple times because of their very liquid schedules.
9. Death benefits
Should a member of Congress be killed while in office, the surviving family of that member would be entitled to receive at least one year’s worth of salary, or a minimum of $174,000. In contrast, family members of soldiers in the United States armed forces who perish while defending our country domestically or overseas are entitled to $100,000 in military death benefits, as well as funeral and burial expenses.
10. A $1.2 million to $3.3 million allowance
Members of the House receive a $900,000 annual allowance for a staff as well as a $250,000 budget for travel and office expenses, paid for entirely by taxpayers. Each senator, on the other hand, gets a budget close to $3.3 million based on figures from the Congressional Research Service. Again, certain companies do offer lavish pay packages and perks to employees so it may be a bit hypocritical to pick on Congress for this one point. However, I’m not aware of any business out there where all employees equally get at least $1.2 million in expenses at their disposal.
Why is it that the politicians should not live by the same rules and conditions as the average citizen?? Because they think they are better than us.
In my opinion, # 5 bothers me the most. Up to 239 days off. Folks, these are perks and benefits they have voted in for themselves. Where is the justification?? For what they make and what they steal, they should ONLY have official holidays off and 2 weeks paid vacation. BUTT because of their arrogance, they think they are better than citizen Joe and Jane.
Let us be a little generous. Assume that on they days they did work, they accomplished something. The ONLY things that they seem to be in accordance with is; when they should get ready for their next days off.
Based on what we see as far as perks goes; what is their incentive to work hard for the people?? How can they, with a good conscience justify all of these absurd perks?? They all have had it too good for too long.
One issue I haven’t heard a whisper about coming from our illustrious leaders that may be the most critical to the USA is the national debt. Better get the puking bowl ready. If this does not make you sick, go see your saw-bones in the morning.
We don’t have to be Einestein to figure out that some day, it may be sooner than later, the day of reckoning is going to come crashing down on this entire country. WHY we AXE?? Because our politicians did not do their jobs.
Don’t say it can’t happen. If you do, you sound like the fools that governed the most powerful kingdom in the world, the Roman Empire. Take a look at what brought them down and see if there are any similarities as to where the USA is today.
Even as Rome was under attack from outside forces, it was also crumbling from within thanks to a severe financial crisis. Constant wars and overspending had significantly lightened imperial coffers, and oppressive taxation and inflation had widened the gap between rich and poor. In the hope of avoiding the taxman, many members of the wealthy classes had even fled to the countryside and set up independent fiefdoms. At the same time, the empire was rocked by a labor deficit. Rome’s economy depended on slaves to till its fields and work as craftsmen, and its military might had traditionally provided a fresh influx of conquered peoples to put to work. But when expansion ground to a halt in the second century, Rome’s supply of slaves and other war treasures began to dry up. A further blow came in the fifth century, when the Vandals claimed North Africa and began disrupting the empire’s trade by prowling the Mediterranean as pirates. With its economy faltering and its commercial and agricultural production in decline, the Empire began to lose its grip on Europe.
The fate of Western Rome was partially sealed in the late third century, when the Emperor Diocletian divided the Empire into two halves—the Western Empire seated in the city of Milan, and the Eastern Empire in Byzantium, later known as Constantinople. The division made the empire more easily governable in the short term, but over time the two halves drifted apart. East and West failed to adequately work together to combat outside threats, and the two often squabbled over resources and military aid. As the gulf widened, the largely Greek-speaking Eastern Empire grew in wealth while the Latin-speaking West descended into economic crisis. Most importantly, the strength of the Eastern Empire served to divert Barbarian invasions to the West. Emperors like Constantine ensured that the city of Constantinople was fortified and well guarded, but Italy and the city of Rome—which only had symbolic value for many in the East—were left vulnerable. The Western political structure would finally disintegrate in the fifth century, but the Eastern Empire endured in some form for another thousand years before being overwhelmed by the Ottoman Empire in the 1400s.
Overexpansion and military overspending
At its height, the Roman Empire stretched from the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Euphrates River in the Middle East, but its grandeur may have also been its downfall. With such a vast territory to govern, the empire faced an administrative and logistical nightmare. Even with their excellent road systems, the Romans were unable to communicate quickly or effectively enough to manage their holdings. Rome struggled to marshal enough troops and resources to defend its frontiers from local rebellions and outside attacks, and by the second century the Emperor Hadrian was forced to build his famous wall in Britain just to keep the enemy at bay. As more and more funds were funneled into the military upkeep of the empire, technological advancement slowed and Rome’s civil infrastructure fell into disrepair.
If Rome’s sheer size made it difficult to govern, ineffective and inconsistent leadership only served to magnify the problem. Being the Roman emperor had always been a particularly dangerous job, but during the tumultuous second and third centuries it nearly became a death sentence. Civil war thrust the empire into chaos, and more than 20 men took the throne in the span of only 75 years, usually after the murder of their predecessor. The Praetorian Guard—the emperor’s personal bodyguards—assassinated and installed new sovereigns at will, and once even auctioned the spot off to the highest bidder. The political rot also extended to the Roman Senate, which failed to temper the excesses of the emperors due to its own widespread corruption and incompetence. As the situation worsened, civic pride waned and many Roman citizens lost trust in their leadership.
The arrival of the Huns and the migration of the Barbarian tribes
The Barbarian attacks on Rome partially stemmed from a mass migration caused by the Huns’ invasion of Europe in the late fourth century. When these Eurasian warriors rampaged through northern Europe, they drove many Germanic tribes to the borders of the Roman Empire. The Romans grudgingly allowed members of the Visigoth tribe to cross south of the Danube and into the safety of Roman territory, but they treated them with extreme cruelty. According to the historian Ammianus Marcellinus, Roman officials even forced the starving Goths to trade their children into slavery in exchange for dog meat. In brutalizing the Goths, the Romans created a dangerous enemy within their own borders. When the oppression became too much to bear, the Goths rose up in revolt and eventually routed a Roman army and killed the Eastern Emperor Valens during the Battle of Adrianople in A.D. 378. The shocked Romans negotiated a flimsy peace with the barbarians, but the truce unraveled in 410, when the Goth King Alaric moved west and sacked Rome. With the Western Empire weakened, Germanic tribes like the Vandals and the Saxons were able to surge across its borders and occupy Britain, Spain and North Africa.
The decline of Rome dovetailed with the spread of Christianity, and some have argued that the rise of a new faith helped contribute to the empire’s fall. The Edict of Milan legalized Christianity in 313, and it later became the state religion in 380. These decrees ended centuries of persecution, but they may have also eroded the traditional Roman values system. Christianity displaced the polytheistic Roman religion, which viewed the emperor as having a divine status, and also shifted focus away from the glory of the state and onto a sole deity. Meanwhile, popes and other church leaders took an increased role in political affairs, further complicating governance. The 18th-century historian Edward Gibbon was the most famous proponent of this theory, but his take has since been widely criticized. While the spread of Christianity may have played a small role in curbing Roman civic virtue, most scholars now argue that its influence paled in comparison to military, economic and administrative factors.
For most of its history, Rome’s military was the envy of the ancient world. But during the decline, the makeup of the once mighty legions began to change. Unable to recruit enough soldiers from the Roman citizenry, emperors like Diocletian and Constantine began hiring foreign mercenaries to prop up their armies. The ranks of the legions eventually swelled with Germanic Goths and other barbarians, so much so that Romans began using the Latin word “barbarus” in place of “soldier.” While these Germanic soldiers of fortune proved to be fierce warriors, they also had little or no loyalty to the empire, and their power-hungry officers often turned against their Roman employers. In fact, many of the barbarians who sacked the city of Rome and brought down the Western Empire had earned their military stripes while serving in the Roman legions.
If their arrogance and neglect was not a carbon copy of what the USA’s officials are up against centuries later, I don’t what is.
One of the elements that was not touched on to heavily was; the self-serving of the parasitic officials, that do not do what they were elected to do, misused and abuse everything they possibly could for their own personal gains, and said: collapse can not happen to us, we are too big too powerful. Guess what; the rest is history.
I keep touching on the OLD DAYS and how much better everything was. Did we have corruption in politics way back when? Absolutely, BUTT not the degree we have today.
Everything we are up-against is relative. Back int the OLD DAYS, the vast majority of the people were patriotic; not so today. Politicians back then had a lot more integrity because they loved there country. Just take a look at all of the celebs that joined the military in honor of their country in WW II.
These were men, not parasitic cowards. How many of the Boulder Rollers today would put their delicate ass on the line to serve their country?? Not many, if any.
We now have a man sitting in the Big Chair and a few others that came before him that did not serve in the military. As far as I am concerned, it should be a written in the rule books; NO ONE that did not serve in the military, with a minimum of 4 years, getting an honorable discharge, should not be eligible to run for president. And that should be followed by; NO ONE should ever be appointed to a government position for life!!
Nothing is going to change. The finger pointing will continue as it has for decades in politics. The country is going to continue with it’s downward slide until it crashes. Round and round we go, where we stop, nobody knows.
Remember the Roman Empire. They were a lot bigger and more powerful than the USA and see where they ended up, in ashes.