State of the Union

The following is courtesy of Simon Black in his email entitled "11 facts that won't be in tonights State of the Union address."  Interesting facts - some appear to be opinions supported by current statistical facts and the logical future trends that they suggest, but get the point:

When President Obama ascends to the podium this evening to deliver his State of the Union address, he’ll undoubtedly shine a spotlight on the many strengths of America.

And to be fair, he’s right: the United States has a lot going for it.

Cheap energy, rapid innovation, quality universities, reasonably low crime rates, abundance of arable land, highly productive culture, etc.

The real issue, however, isn’t where the United States is today. The problem is where it’s going. And quickly.

  • Today’s young Americans, for example, are the first generation to be poorer than their parents.
  • They will also pay all their lives into a retirement system than won't be there for them when they get there.
  • Young Americans indebt themselves more than anyone else on the planet to attend university, requiring them to spend a large part of their careers paying off debt.
  • Americans of all ages are earning less than they did two decades ago when adjusted for inflation. Yet they’re paying more in taxes.
  • And US taxation is an increasing burden not only in quantity but complexity.

    According to the IRS itself, "tax requirements have become so confusing and the compliance burden so great that taxpayers are giving up the US citizenship in record numbers."
  • But despite record levels of tax collection, the national debt keeps increasing. It now stands at more than $18 trillion, well over 100% of GDP.
  • In fact over 14% of all federal tax revenue collected goes to pay interest on the debt. Another 20% goes towards destruction, war, bombs, drones, and spying.
  • They also create roughly 200 pages of new rules and regulations every single day. These rules govern something as sacred as what you can/cannot put in your own body, or often make it more difficult to do business.
  • Many of these regulations carry severe civil and criminal penalties; this is why the rate of civil asset forfeiture is skyrocketing, and why America leads the world in the number of people incarcerated.
  • More people rot away in US prisons than did in the Soviet gulag at the height of communism. And many Americans are serving hard times for victimless crimes of failing to abide by some obscure regulation.
  • In total, there were 79,066 pages of new regulation passed last year, with a total regulatory cost of $181.5 billion (based on the government’s own estimate).