America’s Politics Hits Bottom

According to nearly everyone, the downgrading in American credit is the fault of the Tea Party Republicans. “If they weren’t so partisan and ideological,” the conventional “wisdom” spouted by academia and the media goes, “then we wouldn’t be in this mess.”

Oh, really?

The reportedly probable downgrade in American credit wasn’t the result of a vote in Congress. Nor was it the result of a failure of Tea Party House Republicans and the rest of the government to come up with some phony compromise. This all happened because the government has borrowed way, way more than even a prosperous USA can ever be expected to pay back. It has been a long time coming, but we finally reached the tipping point.

The behavior of Obama, liberal Democrats and conventional, mealy-mouthed Republicans resembles that of an addict who will not come to terms with reality.

These political addicts, like real-life substance abusers, insist that it isn’t their fault. They claim to be the victims when in fact they are among the perpetrators of the crime of fiscal insolvency that the American government has been committing for many a decade. These established “Republicrats” have known this was coming. Yet they act like they cannot believe their misfortune, and they have to blame somebody. So they blame the Tea Party for being too “partisan” and ideological.

Addicts also minimize the problem. By claiming that it’s all the Tea Party’s fault, they don’t have to face what’s coming even if they do get their way. The tax increases proposed by Obama and moderate Republicans will not even begin to make a dent in the spiraling national debt. And this assumes that the spending cuts they’re proposing will even take place, which they almost certainly will not. When have politicians ever kept their word about cutting spending? Politicians are addicted to spending other people’s money. The people have allowed and even encouraged it for many generations now. The national debt grew and grew and grew, and nobody ever concerned themselves with it until now. But now it’s too late — at least for the welfare state that these politicians feel they must maintain and continue to expand.

The collapse of American credit is not a partisan issue. Both parties have participated in it for many decades. More of the spending has been done by Democratic administrations and Democratic Congresses. The current crisis came about sooner than it otherwise would have because the Democratic administration and Congress of 2009-2010 ran up the national debt more than all previous administrations and Congresses combined. But there’s plenty of blame to go around. The George W. Bush administration and the Republican Congress of that time spent plenty too.

“As the current situation makes clear, it would be irresponsible to put our country and economy at risk again in just a few short months with another battle over raising the debt ceiling,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement. “Congress should refrain from playing reckless political games with our economy. Instead, it should be responsible and do its job, avoiding default and cutting the deficit.”

Reckless political games with the economy? What about the last 75 years? What about the last two years, when Obama and the Democratic Congress grew the national debt exponentially? This would be like a cocaine addict wrecking his life, losing his job, his savings and alienating his loved ones — and then turning around and blaming it on somebody else. Yes, Speaker of the House John Boehner was a big spender during the years of the Bush Republican Congress; but Obama and his cohorts in Congress have been far, far bigger spenders than anyone in all of American history. If Boehner lacks credibility, Obama lacks it even more. And at least Boehner is making attempts to reverse course. Obama merely keeps lying, as all addicts do. They lie to themselves, and they expect you to go along with it.

If Obama gets his way, and Republicans cave in to phony spending cuts and very real tax increases — which probably will happen, in the end — it still won’t matter. The national debt will still be unsustainable. Cutting several trillion dollars over a ten-year period isn’t going to do enough, and if past history is any guide, revenue will actually go down once taxes rise. This is because “revenue enhancements” (the political term for tax increases) hinder productivity, which has already gone on strike due to a major recession bordering on a depression. Add to this the fact that the demand for government services such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and now ObamaCare are on the rise, and you have a vicious cycle which by definition has to come crashing down on itself (as it already is).

It’s over for the welfare state. The addicts who depend on the money and power transfers which that welfare state embodies are not facing up to this. They’re trusting in God and Obama to “somehow” make sure that they’re always provided for; good luck with that.

That’s the real lesson of this budget impasse. Reality is coming tomorrow, either way. In fact, it already has arrived. Americans must end their political addiction to Big Government. Why? Because Big Government has run out of other people’s money, and it has also run out of theoretical “Bernanke” and “Geithner” money, trillions to be paid someday, but not today.

Imagine that in 2008 a fortune teller had told you, “Obama’s economic program will pass in its entirety. Three years from now, unemployment will be higher, the economy will still be in recession and the debt — from the spending of Obama’s program — will rise to the trillions and America will be unable to finance any further debt. The government and the economy will spiral into the biggest crisis ever. Still, at least half the country still sides with Obama and he will be the favorite for reelection.”

The fact that this is reality tells us more about why America is in this predicament than the actions of any one politician.