"Civilizations die from suicide, not murder," wrote historian Arnold J. Toynbee.
These words came to mind as we watched the weekend's partisan duel over how and whether to limit the American government's crazed spendaholism.
President Barack Obama, whose Democratic Party power comes from buying the votes of the unproductive with money taken from the pockets of productive Americans, remains intransigent and petulant.
"Don't call my bluff, Eric," poker player Obama angrily told Republican Congressman Eric Cantor days ago.
Obama also warned that he would hold America's senior citizens hostage and strip them of Social Security checks on which Democrats have forced millions to depend, unless Republicans capitulate to demands for ever-more taxes.
"I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on Aug. 3 if we haven't resolved this issue" of expanding the debt ceiling, said Obama on the CBS Evening News, "because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it."
This statement was odd not only because it sounded almost like the threat of an extortionist or domestic terrorist, but also because, as columnist Mark Steyn noted, the President's left-liberal comrades have long denied that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme because it has its own $2.6 trillion trust fund.
Surely this gigantic fund should be enough to guarantee a few $20 billion per month transfer payments to Social Security recipients.
Yes, we all know that free-spending Congresses looted this fund long ago, leaving IOUs in place of the trillions they stole, but Democrats like Obama should be forced by reporters to admit this.
Obama should also be forced to account for the hundreds of billions he has expropriated by denying Social Security recipients cost-of-living adjustments in 2010 and 2011 to offset the massive inflation his failed economic policies have caused. His administration has already said that most seniors will also receive no such cost of living increases in 2012.
Republican leaders, meanwhile, last week appeared close to again becoming "cave" men — eager to cave to Obama's pressure tactics and give in to his demands for a new spending limit big enough to buy votes until after the November 2012 elections.
Over the weekend, after a tidal wave of tea party calls flooded the offices of Republican members of Congress, House Speaker John Boehner suddenly remembered why voters had given the GOP overwhelming control of the House of Representatives.
Feeling the heat, Boehner in weekend interviews said he had seen the light.
Republican plans call for cutting impressive amounts of government spending — as much as $3 trillion to $4 trillion over the next 10 years.
Trouble is, on our current spending trajectory the U.S. government is on track to add $18 trillion or more to the national debt 10 years from today.
Even if Republicans could effect genuine cuts adding up to $4 trillion, and not just smoke-and-mirrors gimmicks such as cuts to the rate of increase, America's debt could increase by at least $14 trillion more.
The United States is already effectively bankrupt. The government now owes as much as our entire national income, the gross domestic product (GDP).
President Obama has grown the relative size of the federal government by roughly 25 percent in just three years, from devouring 19 percent of GDP to gorging on more than 24 percent of GDP.
Obama now insists that he will never permit rolling back government to its 2007 size.
How has the government managed such socialistic growth during the Great Recession in the face of soaring gold from a disintegrating dollar, Eurosocialist high unemployment, and anemic economic growth of between 1 and 2 percent despite Obama spending more than $5 trillion in Keynesian stimulus money that even one of the Fed's economists now admit did more to harm than help the economy?
The answer is borrowing that bankrolls the government via credit.
At least 42 cents of every dollar the federal government now spends is borrowed money.
Under the Obama administration, the federal government is borrowing $58,000 every second — at least $1.8 trillion per year added to the spendaholic bar tab that our children and grandchildren will pay.
Borrowers need willing lenders. By late Sunday, as Asian markets opened shakily, the tremors and widening cracks in the world's economic foundation made clear that President Obama's credit, and America's, has just about run out. The cave-in is coming.
Lowell Ponte is co-author, with Craig R. Smith, of "The Inflation Deception: Six Ways Government Tricks Us . . . and Seven Ways to Stop It" and "Crashing the Dollar: How to Survive a Global Currency Collapse."
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