Don’t take my word for the national debt problem.  There is a new documentary I just went to see on the subject.  It is entitled, “I.O.U.S.A.”    The main force behind the movie is the former Controller of the United States, David Walker; essentially the chief accountant of the government.  It does an exceptional job presenting the facts on the issue of the national debt.

The data is even worse than I portrayed it.  In addition to the national debt, which is essentially bonds floated by the government to pay for its lack of balanced budgets, there are the unfunded mandates.  These are required programs passed by Congress, yet not yet given money for.  At some point, the law requires that these mandates be funded.  This means that the real national debt is (drum roll) $55 trillion dollars!  The documentary shows how we are addicted to debt.  In economist’s terms, we are addicted to getting stuff and putting off paying for it to future generations.  If you are a relatively young person, you should be outraged.  Not only should you stop demanding that the Federal government wipe your nose every time it runs, but you should insist on drastic spending cuts and budget surpluses so that the debt can be paid off. 

Not only should we insist that this be done on the government’s part, we should stop doing it in our personal lives.  The documentary should the Saturday Night Live skit called, “If You Don’t Have the Money, Don’t Buy It!”  This humorous segment shows a man selling a one-page book, essentially saying that if you don’t have the money, you should not buy the product.  The couple listening to him have the worse time figuring out the concept.  Far fetched? Check your acid-test ratio.  The acid test ratio, adapted for private citizens, is:  cash on hand + marketable securities + net expected salary for a year/current liabilities (in other words bills owed for the year).  If this is a negative or near negative figure, you have a problem, and need to pare down your debt.  The first step in this process is stop buying non-emergency stuff on credit!  The next step is to make more than minimum payments.  Ask yourself, “Why should I imitate the profligacy of the Federal government?  Then go see this movie!!!

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