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Opinion: America’s got a serious deficit disorder
11302017 ECONOMY

Our nation suffers from a serious case of ADDD: Attention Deficit Deficit Disorder.

As I write this the national debt is $28,809,779,253,335. But we’re hearing calls to raise the debt ceiling. Try telling that to your bank to pay for a world cruise. 

Democrats and Republicans point the finger of blame at each other. Meanwhile the national debt keeps pointing northward. 

Another thing we hear about is for “rich” people to pay their “fair share.” Tax the rich! That’s when a lot of folks find out they’re rich. 

In 2003, I exercised stock options granted to me by the company I worked for. My tax bill, based on the Alternative Minimum Tax was $91,000. The AMT was designed to make sure I paid my fair share. Also in 2003 the national debt grew bigger. What? I paid my fair share! 

Those same folks in government go after people like Jeff Bezos. He runs Amazon (disclaimer-we own AMZN stock). He started out as an online book seller and has since created arguably the most successful business in the history of the world. He started with nothing and made it into something. We used to celebrate that sort of thing. But now it’s time for him to pay his fair share! 

Michael Dell spoke at my daughter’s graduation from UT-Austin. He pointed towards his former dorm calling it his first factory. Then pointed to the parking garage. The trunk of his car was his first warehouse. Nothing to something. Time to pay up Michael! 

A few years back my friend former Sen. Alan Simpson along with Erskine Bowles, who worked for President Bill Clinton, were tasked with coming up with a plan to reduce the deficit. They did. It’s written in plain English, easy to understand. 

One problem. Everyone had to pay their fair share. Everyone. Congress needed to stop spending more money than it took in from. Oops. So it got filed away, likely in the same warehouse as the Ark of the Covenant in that Indiana Jones movie. 

Here’s a point of reference about all the billions and trillions we hear about every day. 

One billion seconds = a bit over a year and a half. 

One trillion seconds = 31,688 years. 

There’s just not enough billionaires around to pay their fair share to cover our debt, which as I finish this is now at, gasp, $28,809,803,355,945. 

The huge majority of us live by spending less than we take in. Maybe government should try it.

Brian Olson

Gainesville

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