Tag Archives: deficit

Economic Storm Clouds and a Potential Blue Sky

There’s a pair of columns on the web today that I found time to digest that are excellent and well worth your time. The first is by Paul A. Rahe, hosted by Big Government. Rahe is a Hoover Institution fellow, as is another columnist/historian I look up to, Victor Davis Hansen. This column lays out in quick — but pretty accurate — terms how we got to in our country’s current economic downturn, the mistakes that our leadership has made in dealing with the crisis, and most importantly, what very well might be the horizon for us if we don’t turn ship immediately. He makes the compelling case that the worst is yet to come, a view that I share. It’s not pretty. Spend 5 minutes and read it.

The second piece comes from TV’s newest reality show star, Sarah Palin. She writes an editorial in the Wall Street Journal today, vigorously supporting Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap for America’s Future” that was released earlier this year. I have more respect than ever for Palin in endorsing the plan. I’d agree with her that it’s the best plan proposed by anyone with actual power in the government. It shows that all the wailing in our capitol about how it’s impossible to balance the budget and to fix our structural fiscal issues is hogwash.

Now, most importantly, does our leadership have the courage to implement something like this? It’s radical, sure, but no more radical than the original programs — Social Security and Medicare — that got us into this mess to begin with. Probably more to the point, do the American people actually want this? Unfortunately, probably not yet. This is from a poll by Bloomberg:

Americans want Congress to bring down a federal budget deficit that many believe is “dangerously out of control,” only under two conditions: minimize the pain and make the rich pay.

The public wants Congress to keep its hands off entitlements such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, a Bloomberg National Poll shows. They oppose cuts in most other major domestic programs and defense. They want to maintain subsidies for farmers and tax breaks like the mortgage-interest deduction. And they’re against an increase in the gasoline tax.

Pain for thee, but not for me. The crazy part about this is that Ryan’s plan doesn’t really involve much in the way of extreme sacrifice for everyday citizens. No, if implemented, the pain would be felt primarily by politicians and bureaucrats as their power is slowly stripped away. What a shame that would be, right?

Get Your Checkbook Out…

Daniel Indiviglio over at the Atlantic has a post that references a great chart on the USA Today. It shows that every household in America now is committed to $668,621 of debt, including both Federal and private debt. Now, be honest: where do you think this will end? It won’t be a happy happy joy joy place, I can assure you of that. The sad part is that when I propose that perhaps the government borrowing trillions to get us out of the problem of having trillions of debt isn’t the best of ideas, a large swath of the country thinks I’m insane.

More Tea Party Commentary

Thanks to Instapundit, I saw this today.

Judging from the left’s hysterical reaction, something really big must have happened. But the only way to really understand the left’s misinformed and paranoid attacks is to realize that the protests represent tangible proof that basic libertarian values continue to resonate with the American electorate. That, apparently, is a difficult thing for some to accept.

Yes, that seems right to me. It’s been almost surrealistic for the Left — as a whole — to be so venomous about the tea party protests. Isn’t this the People Power Party? I guess only when you’re protesting on the right side of things. And I’ll paste in a piece that Glenn pasted into his post, because it’s perfect:

What were the tea parties about? Reading the signs and talking to people (unlike CNN’s incredibly hostile Susan Roesgen, I actually let folks answer my questions in their own words), the “agenda” was crystal clear. Tea party activists were worried and angry about government bailouts for the irresponsible, about spending that “stimulated” record growth in government and not much else, and about government borrowing that will place unconscionable burdens on future generations of Americans. My favorite sign of the day: “Give Me Liberty, Not Debt.”

Some tried to diminish the tea parties as misguided tax protests. In reality, the protestors demonstrated a sophisticated understanding of economics that went well beyond objections to higher tax rates. You can’t spend money you don’t have, the tea party attendees understood, and government spending above current revenues must be paid for with higher taxes, more borrowing (to be paid for with higher taxes in the future), or artificial government expansion of money and credit, which can only debase the currency and make everyone poorer through inflation.

Yes! That’s exactly what I’ve been saying ever since these protests started. It’s not about the taxes we’re paying now — it’s about the future. Listen: you can’t run 2 trillion dollar deficits without eventually increasing taxes on the middle class. The only other option is inflating the value of the dollar to make 2 trillion dollars not as scary, which 1) makes everyone’s savings worth less and less, and 2) is exactly what tin pot dictators do when the going gets tough.

Tell me this isn’t scary. I dare you.

The Fourth American Republic

Every once in a while, you read something that opens a door in your mind, allowing you to see things around you with noticeably more clarity. I haven’t had time to get this up of late, but I read this last week and the more I think about it, the more I think James DeLong has it nailed. He believes that a new governmental structure — a new polity — is coming, and fairly soon, and that the one that’s existed since the New Deal is just about dead. You know what? I agree. Read it all, and let me know what you think.

Obama talks about change, but really, his policies are just business as usual turned up to 11. Bush pushes through a medication plan? He wants to socialize medicine. Clinton wanted to increase taxes? He wants to cut deductions on charitable giving. The 90’s had a tech bubble, the 00’s, had a real estate bubble — I think Obama is ushering in the government spending bubble, pushing things to rediculous levels that cannot be sustained. I mean, 2 trillion deficit? Break out your Dr. Evil pose, pinky up with a smirk. It’s crazy. The only positive thing is that bubbles break, and when that happens, sanity and equilibrium come back into vogue.

When will the transition come and what will it look like? In a perfect world, it would be peaceful and very soon. I sure hope so. Mr. DeLong makes a good point, though: in each of the last transition, they were marked with lots of blood spilt, either on American soil or overseas, each on a scale that makes the Iraq War look like a small theater battle. But past performance, as they say, isn’t indicitive of the future, right? Have we learned from the past?

One thing to note about his writing: he’s not breaking things down to the tired old Republican vs. Democrat sides. The past 70 years are all the same thing, differing only in intensity of the special interest pain. So, before leaping to defend your favorite politician, realize that this piece isn’t an rah rah go Republicans piece. Back away from the dogmatic lens slowly and open your eyes.

Graphical Representation

If you read my last post about the tea party movement and were still thinking, “Well, I still think they’re shills for Rush and FOX, and I don’t see a problem with what President Obama and Congress are doing,” well, click through to this post by Jimmy Akin and watch the video. Then tell me that you have complete trust in our government that it’ll be alright, and it’s just the super rich that are going to pay for this.

Butcher’s bill on our wallets and our way of life. Everyone’s.

The Tea Parties — Just What They Appear To Be

The amount of craziness and rage coming from the Left (in general) about the tea parties is pretty amazing. Ironic, to say the least. I don’t have a lot of time today for blogging, but considering it’s Tax Day, I just want to make some quick points about this:

1. This isn’t a Republican thing, period. A lot of the people protesting today are fed up with both parties. Get that idea out of your head. It may be characterized as a mostly conservative thing with a strong libertarian bent, but not Republican. There’s a pretty big difference (sadly).

2. This isn’t about how high our taxes are right now. This is about the incredible spending going on in Washington, D.C. right now, and fears about financial butcher’s bill that will come due for this spending, probably in the form of oppressive taxes. So, if you hear people say that the protesters are stupid because taxes are low right now, they’re either obfuscating or they are lying.

3. This movement is not primarily underwritten by FOX News. That’s really a non-starter.

If you’d like a primer on this whole thing got started (and no, it doesn’t involve overweight pasty males smoking tobacco in unventilated areas), go here.

Why ironic? Well, I think it’s just incredible that for years, especially in Portland, Oregon, we’ve had very regular marches against Bush, against the war, against capitalism, against you-name-it. I’ve seen countless bumper stickers that informed me that “Dissidence is the highest form of patriotism”. I’ve been warned that any minute now we’re going to lose the right to protest and to speak our minds about what concerns us, all due to Evil Republicans. Now the Democrats hold almost all the levels of power in government, there are people that wish it to be known that they aren’t happy with what that government is doing, and dark, evil purposes are suddenly behind it.

Listen, I may have disagreed with the anti-war protesters (and still do, for that matter), but I never thought they were under cover operatives sent here by Saddam Hussein, or that NGO’s and non-profits were nefariously behind the whole thing. I always recognized that a vast majority of the people out there were citizens that really wanted their voice heard, and were trying to find a way to amplify it. Now there’s another concern and another roar that wants to be heard. If you disagree, well, get out of the way. Knock it off with the ad hominem attacks and grow up.