I first went on record that the U.S. was entering “Japan-like stagnation” in 2006, when high oil prices, legacy costs, escalating commodity and materials prices and a real estate bubble had me worried. (I had warned that the real estate bubble was poised to pop in April of 2005 – which turned out to be right at the high.) Here’s an excerpt of an article I did on this subject from the March 2006 ezine.
Corporations with defined benefit plans are underwater on their pension obligations by a whopping $4.50 billion, while the public sector pensions are drowning by an additional $260 billion (source: Milken Institute). The airline industry has lost approximately $42 billion since 2000 and is carryover $100 billion in debt, according to Ab-port Transportation Association VP.
General Motors lost $8.6 billion in 2005, driven by “poor performance” and legacy costs, according to GM chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner. Clearly the aging, of the U.S. population, alongside escalating medical costs and global competition is wiping out some industries, especially those that provide defined benefit plans to their workers and retirees.
All of the issues we are dealing with today, as a crisis, were evident in 2006. All of the factors I’ve outlined in this book as drags on GDP – the high cost of oil, legacy promises, medical costs – are still critically in need of addressing. There is a lot of talk about cutting spending, but each party covets only part of the solution and eschews other important elements. We must become more educated and united about the key issues that will ensure our collective and personal abundance and prosperity — kicking our oil addiction, getting healthy and fit, helping our businesses and corporations deal with legacy promises that they are having difficulty keeping and educating our population for the jobs of tomorrow. Making it easy for people to start a business cannot carry any nation on its own, although it is absolutely the foundation of freedom and democracy.
Just as you have to address the big-ticket items in your own budget in order to live within your means, the U.S. has to address the big-ticket spending to reduce the debt and balance our own budgets. There is “good debt” that pays off for you personally, and there are also certain national budget items that are investments for our collective future. Energy independence (not fossil fuel addiction), healthy citizens, a business friendly environment and a focus on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math) education are all investments that pay off, and are the foundation of America. (In the nascent oil industry, we were supplying our own, instead of importing from other countries.) Imagine how fast we could get back on track if every American embraced these reforms in their own lives, on their own doorstep and in their own communities! Collectively, we would be saving trillions of dollars and going a long way to reducing our national debt.
If 1/3 of Americans weren’t obese, we wouldn’t have to spend $2.5 trillion each year on health care. If everyone drove a fuel-efficient car or rode a bike (like they do in Amsterdam), we wouldn’t have to spend $420 billion importing oil and petroleum products each year. That could lead to fewer military engagements in the Middle East, another multi-trillion dollar savings. Now that people are living longer, healthier lives, the golden years can be more productive. When we manage our own financial future, we can do a far better job than handing that over to a corporation that might not be able to compete in a few decades. And so on…
What should I do today if I ace the IRS debt?
If you can’t pay the taxes you owe, the IRS has payment options available. Which option might work for you generally depends on how much you owe and your current financial situation. Each option has different requirements and some have fees.
The most important thing: take action
Most options for paying off a tax debt work best if you are proactive. By taking action as soon as possible, you’ll help ease the burden and keep the IRS from acting to collect the debt.
If you need to file a tax return, you should. You’ll still owe the taxes, whether or not you file.
You should file your return on time, with or without a payment — the IRS can charge penalties for filing late. The IRS also charges daily interest on unpaid tax bills, so the longer you wait, the more interest you will owe.
What you need is a full budget analysis and a sound, long-term strategy that makes fiscal sense for you (not just your bank and their debt collection sales team). Learn more about the legal options that are available to you in the IRS tax help sector. Even if you have been denied before and have received a bad news, there is a way to keep all of your money, and stay in a good financial shape.
No matter who is trying to “help” you, you cannot simply have blind faith. The only thing you can trust these days is results-over a 10-year period. Read more at honesttax.com