A.J. DiCintio
One life-saving, one life-threatening reality
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By A.J. DiCintio
April 9, 2011

John Stossel (Fox Business) recently directed some much needed sunlight on a wildly irrational aspect of human behavior when he pointed out that the death of a prominent politician occasions an enormous amount of public attention (to which should be added, "a pandemic of eulogistic bombast") while the passing of a person who developed a medicine that has saved the lives of millions goes unnoticed.

I was reminded of that observation when I learned of the work of former U. S. Comptroller David Walker, who is devoting himself to inventing and distributing gratis the medicine that is information about American's syphilitic fiscal condition.

Yes, though Mr. Walker is no politician and, of course, very much alive, the unhappy truth is that Stossel's observation correctly implies not enough people know about his work as founder and CEO of the Comeback America Initiative, regarding which he commissioned "A Sovereign Fiscal Responsibility Index," a report prepared by graduate students who worked under his direction at Stanford University's Institute for Economic Policy Research.

This report serves no less a purpose than saving our country's life as well as the lives of other industrialized nations that are increasingly succumbing to the rot of "escalating deficits and mounting debt burdens." Therefore, it is imperative it becomes widely known and understood.

Toward that goal, here is a summary, including new terms that should become part of the everyday vocabulary of citizens who are horrified by "generational theft," a disease born of an unspeakably immoral behavior and one that left untreated is certain to decay not just America's prosperity but the socio-political structure the Founders left in our care.

Having observed that "no comprehensive metric to evaluate sovereign fiscal responsibility currently exists," the study states its purpose as an attempt "to develop a Sovereign Fiscal Responsibility Index (SFRI)" that defines "fiscal responsibility" and allows for "cross-country comparisons," initially among 31 industrially advanced nations and the emerging markets of Brazil, India, and China.

Then, it gets to the heart of the matter, defining a nation's "fiscal responsibility."

Here the vocabulary mentioned above comes into play as we learn the definition is based upon three factors: Fiscal Space, Fiscal Path, and Fiscal Governance, which are quantified and compiled to produce a Fiscal Responsibility Score.

Following are details about the three metrics:

Fiscal Space. Think of the concept this way. A family strained by an unreasonably large mortgage, heavy loans to purchase expensive autos, and a number of nearly maxed out credit cards has very little fiscal space. That is, there isn't far to go before the family hits its debt ceiling, the point at which it is "virtually certain to have a fiscal crisis."

Would you lend money to this family so that it could complete its next purchase?

Fiscal Path. With respect to the aforementioned family — Would you lend it money if you knew that with no hope of doubling its income, its budget calls for doubling debt in the next ten years? Or how about 39 years, since the study used IMF data to project each country's fiscal path not for ten years but until 2050.

Fiscal Governance measures how effectively a government enacts transparent, enforceable policies in its efforts to achieve financial responsibility.

The inevitable truth about a nation that refuses to enact credible policies aimed at curing a disease inexorably rotting every one of its fundamental supports is this: The pain its people suffer from a failing, non-competitive economy is mightily exacerbated by the high interest rates demanded by its creditors.

Finally, the report produces a chart showing how the 34 nations fared after the three metrics were applied to their fiscal situations.

If you're like me, you most of all want to see where the U.S. landed on the chart but pause long enough to note that Number One Australia has set itself on a fiscal path that is sound for the next 40+ years through smart, open, honest fiscal governance that ranks fifth highest on the list.

Then, you look, look, look down the list to find the United States at a stunning Number 28, shocked to learn our nation has only 16 years until its fiscal path leads it to a horribly sickened state.

You also smart from a blow slapped by America's fiscal governance score of 46, a number that crowns the USA with the new, perverse exceptionality of being as serious and transparent about taking its fiscal medicine as Portugal (45.1), Ireland (48.4), and Greece (45).

And you recoil from a painfully embarrassing whack delivered by the 60.7 fiscal governance performance earned by Spain, the "S" in PIGS.

In closing, every American who believes it a moral and pragmatic imperative to cure the nation of its fiscal illness will thank and praise David Walker and his co-authors for their life-saving work.

However, our president cannot honestly join those citizens; for from his first day in office, he has evaded every possible act of sound, courageous leadership in favor of being AWOL in the fight to cure this nation of a disease ravaging it from within.

For instance, he appointed a debt commission that produced some admirable work. However, after his fellow liberals summarily condemned its suggestions, he has had not one serious word to say about the labors of patriots who accepted a daunting task they knew would subject them to ugly invective spewed by selfishly ideological Know Nothings.

He has offered not one bit of honest, thoughtful, sincere, bi-partisan help to reformers, neither to individual Republicans who are offering plans for fiscal reform nor to the coalition of Democratic and Republican Senators who are trying to revive reform through open, honest discussions of the debt commission's proposals.

In fact, he is so religiously devoted to the ideology that what America desperately needs most is ever increasing spending and borrowing that his 2012 budget includes a plan for nearly doubling America's $14 trillion debt in the next ten years.

These are facts, not opinions, a truth demanding that the nation's voters, especially independents, keep their minds wide open about Barack Obama's astoundingly incredible, absolutely inexcusable, life-threatening profligacy.

© A.J. DiCintio

 

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A.J. DiCintio

A.J. DiCintio posts regularly at RenewAmerica and YourNews.com. He first exercised his polemical skills arguing with friends on the street corners of the working class neighborhood where he grew up. Retired from teaching, he now applies those skills, somewhat honed and polished by experience, to social/political affairs.

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