Op-Ed: Politicians Need More Skin in the Game

RSLocalFile 162A44B5 AE76 4F72 85AF B1EE95C5274EMy Op-Ed ran in today’s Moscow-Pullman Daily News. This is the expanded version (the Daily News limits Op-Ed’s to 650 words).

In my last four Op-ed’s, I discussed Emsi’s free eBook, “The Demographic Drought” (https://bit.ly/3b7teIEand the effects of the collapsing birthrate. “The Demographic Drought” discusses the sansdemic that is upon us. Sans meaning without; demic meaning people.


Due to the pandemic, 3.2 million boomers retired in 2020 compared to 1.5 million who retired in 2019. The rate at which baby boomers are exiting the workforce is far larger than the rate at which Gen-X, Millennials, and Gen-Z can offset.

Further exacerbating the labor shortage, ever more Gen-Xers, Millennials, and Zoomers are electing not to work. The Labor Force Participation Rate which peaked in April 2000 has steadily fallen to 61% today.

Bank of America says that anyone earning under $32,000 per year before the pandemic is financially better off not working, collecting federal and state unemployment benefits instead. Why would anyone choose to work when the government pays more not to work? The $2.2 trillion CARES Act and the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan paid unemployment benefits that most employers cannot compete with. With fewer people working and the cost of labor skyrocketing, businesses are making the rational choice of substituting low-skilled laborers with machines.

Meanwhile, President Biden denies unemployment benefits are holding back job seekers. Clearly, Biden thinks that Americans are irrational and will work against their best interests. The WSJ reported that 26 states have opted out of one or more federal pandemic jobless programs earlier than the Sept. 6 expiration date. All but one state that opted out early were led by Republican governors. Unsurprisingly, June unemployment rates were lower in the states that opted out early. Meanwhile, Americans willing to work in those 25 red states are paying for the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), And Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) to the blue states so that their able-bodied workers can stay at home.

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Further exacerbating the problem is that Biden and the Democrats are spending money like drunken sailors. I’ve seen my share of drunken sailors. The difference is that drunken sailors are spending their own money which eventually runs out. Not so for Democrats. They just keep spending and printing more money, charging it forward to our kids’ and grandkids’ accounts. They raised the US national debt from 110% to 128% of GDP in a mere six months.

Nevertheless, the Democrats are literally going for broke. Last week they proposed another $4.1 trillion in federal spending in addition to the $600 billion on infrastructure. This would be the largest spending increase in US history from 20% to 25% of GDP. They are making this an entitlement, meaning these new programs will expand automatically without an annual appropriation by Congress, making them politically impossible to rein in. It’s the progressive wish-list from hell. Every major program that Biden has asked for is robustly funded including expansions in Medicare, Obamacare, teachers’ unions, affordable housing, home healthcare, food, welfare, benefits for illegal immigrants, free pre-K babysitting, paid-family leave, free community college, a vast climate agenda with permanent green-energy subsidies, etc.

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There are only three ways to end our runaway deficits: cut spending, raise taxes, or allow deliberate inflation. Democrats naturally propose to pay for the additional $4.7 trillion by taxing the rich. Coincidentally, the entire wealth of all US billionaires is $4.7 trillion. Even if the Democrats confiscated every penny, we would still be $28.5 trillion in debt. As Margaret Thatcher famously said, “the trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” The USSR learned this the hard way. But combined with a dwindling workforce, the Democrats cannot tax their way out of our escalating debt, and there are simply not enough workers to pay for their insane spending.

Biden promises that his eight years of spending will be paid for with 15 years of tax increases. When was the last time you saw a federal project paid for as advertised? The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) never correctly predict the effect of spending on the US national debt. The CBO underestimates the 2025 projected debt by 36% and the OMB by 27%. I plan on revisiting their predictions in four years.

Screen Shot 2021 07 21 at 15 38 23That only leaves one solution for politicians: to deliberately inflate. Right on schedule, the US inflation rate has increased from 1.4% when Biden took office to 5.4% today. And economists predict the inflation rate to continue to soar. How can it not? Meanwhile, liberals and journalists think this is a good thing. CNBC headlined it this way: “Inflation’s silver lining: higher salaries.” That headline could have read, “Bleeding to death silver lining: weight loss.”

Bernie Sanders actually won the 2020 presidential election. Bidenomics is Bernie socialism on steroids. The problem with our politicians passing these financially ruinous laws is that there is no personal accountability: they have no skin in the game. What we need is a contractual rider that says when the $4.1 trillion is not paid off in 15 years as promised, the personal wealth of every politician who votes for the plan will be confiscated and used to pay off the remaining debt.