Water is wet. The sky is blue. The United States is insolvent. None of these will change anytime soon.
Yet as The Great Debt Ceiling Debate continues, it is fascinating to watch both sides spin their rhetoric. President Obama, saying the U.S. must raise its debt limit or the government will default, has apparently forgotten that he and his party have spent incomprehensible amounts of money to put us at that level.
Many on the right seem content to play the blame game, arguing that Obama and the Democrats are solely responsible, conveniently forgetting that George W. Bush (who inherited a budget surplus) and his Republican Congress more than doubled the national debt during their watch.
As the deadline looms, there is a sense that the “they’ll get it done” confidence may not apply. And no one really knows how things will shake out if they don’t.
Relax. Of course they’ll “get it done,” for one major reason: self-preservation. Politicians don’t want to lose re-election next year because a government default further tanks the economy.
So they will dance the Washington Two Step, playing with the numbers to allow both sides to save face but in reality sealing America’s fate.
In all likelihood, the debt ceiling will be significantly raised (good for Obama), with promises of big “deficit reductions” (red meat for the GOP).
Common sense begs a question, though. Why is it necessary to spend more (increasing the debt) in order to cut spending (deficit reductions)? Kind of seems counterproductive.
Wouldn’t it have just been easier to tighten the nation’s belt a while ago, and not raise the (already unsustainable) debt level?
No, because efficiency is anathema to politicians. For them, it’s not about doing the right thing for country, but themselves. That’s why Congress has historically passed workplace rules which exempted Congressmen.
It doesn’t really matter what happens with the debt ceiling. The beast has become so large that it is impossible to kill. We the people made our bed, and now must lie in it.
Honestly, it is pointless to discuss “fixing the problem.” This author included, there have been many who have outlined realistic steps that would turn the ship around, thus avoiding the massive iceberg. But there is simply no political, or public, will to make them a reality. None.
Americans have been feeding at the public trough for so long that too many think they are “entitled” to darn near everything. And despite the imminent financial collapse caused by that “let me get mine” mentality, people still don’t want to give up the keys to the Treasury. There remains a naïve belief that America is too big to fail. How wrong.
Many mistakenly believe that America’s high standard of living is a result of having the world’s largest economy. It is not. Because we have deliberately outsourced virtually our entire manufacturing base and refuse to become energy independent, the economy is built on a house of cards. And the underlying foundation? Debt.
Like their government, Americans have an unquenchable thirst for things they cannot afford. Three-year-old car not new enough? Buy a new one — with debt. Want a 4,000-square-foot house with flat-screen TVs? Take out a massive mortgage. Want Facebook friends seeing you eat out every night? Buy a smart phone you can’t afford.
So while not defending Congress, they are only reflecting the people’s will.
Which is why the debt deal will be smoke and mirrors. They’ll increase our borrowing ability, but agreements to cut the deficit will be void in a year, as future Congresses will not be obligated to follow any reduction measures this legislature passes.
The United States’ debt is now equal to our annual Gross Domestic Product, a debt so high that we wouldn’t even meet European Union admission standards. And anytime Europe is one-up on you, you’ve got problems.
The economy won’t implode today or tomorrow, but will be a slow, painful burn as entitlement programs eventually run out of money, services dry up, interest rates rise, and inflation goes through the roof.
No longer conjecture, it is a mathematical certainty. Americans will reap what they have sown, and the diseased crop is coming to harvest.
Just as most sports fans feigned disgust during baseball’s Steroid Era, while secretly loving the enhanced play, so too are many criticizing mammoth spending while deep down hoping their pet projects don’t get slashed.
Americans have to learn to once again live within their means, realizing that entitlements aren’t free and government money is actually their own. But it may take a default on the largest debt the world has ever known for that to sink in.
Otherwise, get used to living in the United States of China.
Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com
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