To the editor:
Imagine a city with 90,000 abandoned homes, enough vacant land to engulf the City of San Francisco, and more homicides than U.S. casualties incurred fighting a year of war. Pretend you're in a place called The Motor City where a National Institute for Literacy study stated 47 percent of adults are functionally illiterate. They lack the ability to use reading, speaking, writing, and computational skills in everyday life situations.
The mayor's distraught. He says the city will run out of cash by year end. An independent company found the city's water department union contract has 257 job descriptions, including that of a horseshoer. The horseshoer job description was last updated in 1967. Someone is being paid $56,000 a year to shoe horses the city doesn't have.
The city has people in powerful places with one political party dominating local, state and federal offices for more than 40 years. Mayors have belonged to the same party since 1962. The city has had the same Congressman since 1965. Its U.S. Senator has served since 1979.
Imagine you work for a company whose CEO says "trust me" when Wall Street questions company accounting practices. After $60 billion of shareholder value, $2.1 billion in retirement savings, and 5,600 jobs are lost, the CEO goes to jail. You move and get a job at a lobbying firm with a guy named Jack Abramoff. The FBI shows up and sends Jack to prison for mail fraud, conspiracy to bribe public officials, and tax evasion. The Republican House Majority Leader is found guilty of accepting lavish gifts from Jack, including golf trips to Scotland.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, Gross Federal Debt in 1987 was $2.3 trillion. It's now $16 trillion. Of the $5 trillion 2009-12 deficit, the Bush tax cuts for those earning over $250,000 equal $136 billion. Bush tax cuts for those who earn less than $250,000 equal $544 billion. The cost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan equals $611 billion. 75 percent or $3.8 trillion of the deficit is due to entitlement spending.
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Current unfunded government liabilities total $81 trillion, of which $38.8 trillion is Medicare, $20.5 trillion is social security, and $16.2 trillion is federal debt. How much is $81 trillion? It's equivalent to paying every person in the state of Michigan $164,030 per year for the next 50 years.