(New Castle, Pa., News)
When you get down to it, predictions about what will happen in the future are a dime a dozen.
Popularly, they range from the notion of a unified humanity found in the “Star Trek” science fiction sagas to the fear that time itself will end later this month based on an interpretation of ancient Mayan calendars.
This week, the National Intelligence Council issued its annual report of expectations for the future. Called “Global Trends 2030,” it’s based on the analysis provided by America’s various intelligence agencies, produced by gathering existing data, reviewing policies of governments around the world and extrapolating what’s known today into the future.
For one thing, the report envisions an America that’s energy independent. That’s a far cry from the current situation, where the United States remains heavily dependent on foreign oil.
And what happens if America is no longer interested in the politics of various unstable regions where today’s oil is found? That alone could lead to dramatic changes in the international landscape, including a reduced need for an American military presence around the globe.
That’s the problem with predictions: They never can take everything into account. And sometimes, unexpected events come into play.
This report, of course, is not merely idle speculation. Rather, it’s intended to assess the world in order to avoid some negative outcomes and mitigate others. To prevent problems, it’s essential to know that they lurk on the horizon.
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Stop the hyperbole
(The Joplin, Mo., Globe)
Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., recently said that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are going bankrupt and unless current negotiations resolve the problem then all is hopeless.
A Washington Post fact checker debunked that statement indicating that bankruptcy was not a problem for those programs. So who should we believe?
As long as the people, through our federal government can borrow money, then bankruptcy is not the issue. If lenders keep lending, then no one will go bankrupt, period. All anyone has to do is just keep borrowing money to pay bills as they come due.
The trouble with that approach is finding lenders who will keep on lending money. The lenders will not even demand routine payments on the principal amounts of the loans on a routine basis. They just want interest payments, profits on such loans until the term of the loan expires.
Then they demand the principal amount on the loan to be paid in full, and our federal government does exactly that. They pay the principal amount due by, yep, borrowing 40 cents on the dollar to make the lump sum payments to bond holders.
Predicting “bankruptcy” is as much political hyperbole as saying that the federal government needs “just a little bit more” (from the rich). Both statements are designed to gain political advantage, and neither statement reflects the magnitude of the fiscal problems facing America today.
The real and underlying economic problem in America today is that we do not produce enough goods and services that can be sold around the world in a competitive market to grow our economy enough to pay all of our routine bills. Make more “stuff” and sell it around the world and our economy will reach a natural equilibrium.