Math Problems

Our nation must solve a math problem.  

T (Tax Revenue) – (E (Entitlement obligations) + I (Interest on national debt) + D (Defense spending) + G (All other government spending)) = X 

Solve for “X.”

Or maybe we should call it a “story problem.”  Remember story problems?  “Johnny has twelve apples and he gives seventy-five of them to a bunch of his friends.  How many apples does Johnny have left?”  Oops.  Johnny didn’t have seventy-five apples to give away.  He owes some other friends sixty-three apples and he continues to give apples away.  What should he do?

What should we do?  The back story to our current math problem is a tale of moral deterioration, social strife, political polarization, and disturbing leadership failures.  Those problems are easier to ignore or explain away, and they are much more difficult to solve than an algebra equation.

At the end of the day, however, there is no getting around the numbers.  The difference between federal revenue and expenses cannot be bought off or lobbied into submission.  It must be solved.

My prayer is that this stubborn math problem will be an opportunity to deal with deep moral, social, and spiritual decay.  Our best hope for solving this math problem, in my opinion, is to work on some spiritual problems.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  2 Chronicles 7:14.

What do you think?

6 thoughts on “Math Problems

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  1. One more thing… was looking for a scripture about this, but I don’t have my Bible with me… I do remember we’re connecting dots to God!

  2. I’m not one to believe that the national budget is as simplistic as our home budgets. That is driven home to us in these times, however, when many are having trouble with income and underwater homes.
    We have never fought a war without debt. But the one thing we could always depend on in the past was American productivity and ingenuity to bring us out of it. This is where I land. I don’t think it’s as much about the debt as it is about JOBS. Jobs that have been sent overseas. Corporations still get tax breaks for paying someone in another country $12 a day for a shift who works from 7am til 11pm. Politicians who set themselves up for royal pensions and health care for a mere 2 years of service. Corporations are sitting on the sidelines with trillions of dollars. What will motivate them to build factories here? They are more likely to build in India, Brazil and China. Maybe we should stop rewarding the for this business tactic. Build America and we’ll give you a tax break. Ship the jobs overseas and it costs all of us.
    If we don’t have the way to create jobs in this country using our ingenuity and creativity, then none of the other discourse matters. The American people and original ideas are the foundation of our country and our greatness. They are the ones that need motivation and tax breaks to create jobs.
    Sometimes I think all this debt talk is just another “Y2K” crisis to distract us. The real issue is job growth.

    1. Thanks Ruthie. Yes, American creativity is a great asset, and I agree that we need more jobs which, of course, has positive implications on the national debt. Jobs going overseas is no doubt a factor, but I wonder if it is the primary issue. According to the SBCA, 64% of new jobs over the last fifteen years were created by small businesses. Why have small businesses, who probably aren’t building plants overseas, stopped generating jobs? Our illustrious Illinois legislation recently raised taxes by 67% to meet budget demands. Well, predictably, large corporations with influence like Motorola, threatened to leave and, how nice for them, Gov. Quinn made concessions so that they’ll stay. They got special treatment, but small businesses with no clout will get their increased tax bill. Maybe part of the problem is that the national budget has become a mechanism for politically motivated rewards and punishments instead of managing appropriate government function. In my humble opinion, the federal government should provide needed oversight, which they spectacularly failed to do in the recent bank meltdown, and stop brokering power and influence via tax incentives/disincentives which often have damaging unintended consequences. Yes, let creative Americans create business and jobs. Please.

      1. The whole tax thing is starting to look like a shell game, isn’t it? Perhaps both issues are equally important. Our middle class wasn’t built on the types of jobs small businesses are creating now. I’d have to research my sources but even back to 1984, small business (generally defined as 500 or fewer employees) was responsible for 2/3 of jobs generated. But now when we say 2/3 of jobs are created, ALOT of those are in the small, small business sector of 1-19 employees. There is a lot of churning and the resulting loss of jobs or layoffs are more often due to business death, than an economic contraction. So when you couple that with the number of businesses that fail within 3-5 years, that’s not exactly long-term security for middle-class families.
        I’d like to see some factories built here. But i think big business and big government are both a problem.
        One of the reasons small business stops generating jobs is because for the last few years, the home equity and small local loans for businesses that fueled alot of that growth completely dried up. Understandable considering a bank meltdown. so the big banks get exhonerated and the little banks get eaten up or “taxed” via FDIC dues to stay in the game.
        80% of the income tax paid in this country is by the top 20% of the earners, including you and me and most everyone we know.
        I just think there isn’t one simple answer. I do think the Republicans need to make this election season about jobs and tax cuts for NEW businesses if they want anyone’s ear. That hits both sides of the equation and steals the Democrats thunder. Remember, “It’s the economy, stupid?”… it’s like that… It’s jobs and tax incentives, stupid (politicians)

        I think this whole debt drama is grandstanding for Obama to get air time and to somehow be able to say, get soundbites for campaigning, that he wanted to compromise.

        And if Obama wants to pay more taxes, then let’s let him. I’d like to opt out of that however.
        Maybe they should put an option on tax forms, would you like to make an additional payment to help lower the debt?
        It would be nice to have some real leadership on the Hill wouldn’t it? Not just politicians running for office.

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