Letter to the Editor

Vote for the best option to heal economy

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

An open letter to my adult grandchildren:

This is a political letter, so I need to inform you about my politics. The politics that some of you have seen from me recently are pretty much conservative Republican stuff, but that is misleading. For all my life up to now, I have been rather apathetic to politics. My political history is to vote for candidates whose issues I support. I voted for Jimmy Carter and for Bill Clinton vs. Bob Dole. I grew up in a Democrat-voting family.

In our present time I do not agree with Republicans on some issues. I think we surely could make some cuts in the defense budget without putting ourselves at risk, and "no tax increase" should not be a sacred cow for the upper class, middle class or lower class. I would not hesitate, now, to vote for a Democrat based on his/her position on the issues.

I am writing to you now because of an overriding present-day problem. This problem is so important that I am advising you to put aside all other issues and cast your votes and support based on this one issue (advice I would normally abhor). That issue is the economic survival of The United States.

Economic collapse is not right on top of us. It probably will not happen during my lifetime, but don't take much comfort in that. It could happen within your parent's lifetime and is very likely to happen well within your lifetime unless something is done now. The timing is uncertain because it depends on unpredictables such as how much we will spend on wars and whether interest rates will rise to normal or higher levels instead of the artificially low levels the government has created and is trying desperately to maintain. They will eventually (pretty soon) lose control.

Preceding the collapse there will come a "point-of-no-return" where the collapse has not yet happened but cannot be prevented because the government has become over-committed beyond repair. You know, like a family that has piled up so much debt that they are drowning in snowballing interest charges and their only recourse is destined to be bankruptcy, although they haven't filed yet. The point-of-no-return could be reached as early as the next four years unless some pretty drastic measures are taken now. That is why I am writing.

From the time I became aware of adult matters, people have been saying (about taxes and spending) that we are "spending our grandchildren's inheritance." I regret to advise you that you are the generation that will not be able to do that. Those of us who have gone before you are about to "max out" the government's credit, so your government will not be able to take on additional debt for you to pass on to your children and grandchildren. Not only that, but you are in an unenviable position of risking that your own latter years will be turned topsy-turvy.

Are we going to become like near-bankrupt Greece and Spain, with their economic problems (government reneging on financial commitments to its people with attendant upheaval in the streets)? Sorry to say, we are going to have it much worse. Greece and Spain have several other European countries, with much larger economies, stepping in to bail them out. Economies large enough to bail out the United States do not exist, so we will have to go it alone. What state of chaos will emerge from an economic collapse of the U.S., where the government can no longer pay its obligations for interest, Social Security, Medicare, unemployment, welfare, infrastructure maintenance, and national defense is unknown. Nothing like that has ever happened before. Use your imagination about the chaos in medical services, banking, transportation, food supply, and telecommunications with everyone (including you) scratching unsuccessfully to get his due from a bankrupt government.

I believe that George Bush is the single person most responsible for taking us from an already precarious indebtedness to the dire financial condition that we are in now. (Close runners-up are Congressman Barney Frank, Sen. Christopher Dodd and Barrack Obama.) The important thing now is not who got us into this predicament but how do we survive it.

Unfortunately, you do not have a voting option this November that is certain to fix this problem for you, but why not give yourself the best chance? You can vote for an administration that understands we have a grave problem, has a history of successful business and government financial experience, and is likely to put the country's best economic minds to work on this. Or you can re-elect a president who recently said (on Letterman) we do not need to worry about the debt right now, has virtually no experience related to the problem and appointed cronies instead of experts to most key government positions. The observable result is no progress toward solving the problem in four years (actually, an enormous worsening).

I know this letter consists of qualitative statements without supporting figures. Please accept my assertion that everything said is based on quantitative data. I spent an entire career drawing qualitative conclusions from quantitative information, and my message to you here is not based on a hunch, but on facts and figures. This letter would become too voluminous and hard to read if I tried to present supporting data. If anyone wants to communicate with me about the basis, please feel free to do so.

Yes, the sky is falling. Really. Protect yourself.

Dr. Jerrell M. Thomas
Semi Valley, Calif.
Cooter High School graduate

P.S. This is about you. All of this is not likely to have much effect on me, personally. My high-earning days are over, so income tax issues do not affect me much. Social Security and Medicare probably won't go broke while I am alive. I just love this country and the opportunity that it offers, and I don't want to see it go down the tubes.