As the United States grapples with the grisliest economic downturn in decades, many politicians seem strangely unable or unwilling to stop their zombified shuffling toward a full-blown fiscal FUBAR.
President Barack Obama pushes for yet more stimulus spending and the Republican leadership pledges to stay mum on the prospect for serious spending entitlement reform until at least election day.
Given the decade-long spending binge that started under George W. Bush and a Republican Congress and has accelerated under Obama and the Democrats, America's balance sheet hasn't been this scary since World War II.
The only way to tell this story is in 3D: Debts, Deficits, and Despair!
Spending has reached has record highs. So have deficits and national debt. And public-sector compensation at all levels continues to rise like the living dead at the witching hour. The worst part? If current trends continue, we ain't seen nothing yet!
The following videos lay out in gory detail just how heart-stopping the situation is. So watch the warning video first, check your pulse, and continue on – if you dare!
To experience the full horror, subscribe to Reason magazine now and receive our special 3D November issue, which includes a pair 3D glasses and, more important, practical plans to cut spending now.
These videos are best viewed in high-definition. Immediately after clicking play, click on the 360p button on the lower-right hand corner of each video and select 720p for the best resolution.
A Warning from Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska)
Out of a sense of common decency—and a court order—former Alaska senator, I Like Mike star, and recidivist presidential candidate Mike Gravel warns viewers prone to seizures, high blood pressure, and politically induced rage to exit their browsers now. If you do choose to continue and feel your head about to explode at any time, he counsels, don't be afraid to scream with everything you've got. The life you save may be your own. And your country's.
I Spend on Your Grave!
How did the federal budget become more terrifying than Rahm Emmanuel in a locker-room shower? It's not complicated. Since World War II, government revenues have averaged about 18 percent of Gross Domestic Product. Government expenditures, alas, have rarely kept close to that number (this year alone, it will be close to 26 percent of GDP). The result is as predictable and grisly as a curvaceous college co-ed entering the last house on the lane: red ink that threaten to drown us all.
Night of The Living Debt
What's spookier than Sen. Harry Reid guest-starring in The Vagina Monologues? The balance sheet from hell better known as the national debt. In 2009, the federal deficit was $1.4 trillion, or over 12 percent of GDP and the highest level since World War II. The federal debt, which is made up of all the annual deficits plus interest on borrowed money, is around 45 percent of GDP and is projected to be 90 percent of GDP by 2020. Which means the government will be sucking more money out of your pocket and the larger economy to pay for bailing out GM and Citigroup today.
Attack of The Killer Compensation
Here's a tale more fear-inducing than Michelle Obama at a fat farm. Chew on this: In more than eight of 10 occupations, federal workers make more in straight salary than their private sector counterparts. A federal janitor makes $6,000 more than his private-sector counterpart and a federal nurse makes $11,000 than her counterpart. And federal workers on average get four times more in benefits such as health care and retirement. At the state and local level, public-sector workers take home more than their private-sector equivalents, too (Michigan public-sector workers, for instance, take home 47 percent more in total compensation than their private-sector analogues). The result of such taxpayer-funded largess? An economic living death on the installment plan!
Is this the end of the American experiment? Certainly, the trend lines are as difficult to change as they are unsustainable. Yet the situation can be reversed. Reason's November issue—also in 3D!—contains true tales of budgetary restraint and right-sizing.
Subscribe to Reason now and read how the U.S., New Zealand, and Canada all cut spending quickly and effectively. Read how to spin off the government-sponsored money-sucks Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And read Reason staffers' recommendations for slashing ineffective, redundant, or wasteful government programs.
Reason.tv's 3D Fiscal House of Horrors is written and produced by Meredith Bragg, Austin Bragg, and Nick Gillespie.