Maybe “budget” wasn’t really the word they were looking for.
How else to explain the face of bipartisan agreement to a two year “budget” deal that lifts the debt limit and increases federal spending by $300 billion. If that’s their idea of “budgeting”, let’s just be grateful they didn’t call the agreement “Splurge 2018”.
This is like a credit card company agreeing to postpone the repossession of all that stuff you “bought” on credit and giving you the green light to keep using your card, and racking up more debt, while they happily debit your ledger with outrageous interest charges every month — charges, and principal, that you’ll someday be legally liable to repay.
If you are older than eight, you probably vaguely recall a little movement known as the Tea Party. Its symbol: The Gadsen Glag — the coiled snake beneath the motto, “Don’t Tread On Me.”
It wasn’t just a message to government, it was a message to all those grifters whose greed was tickled by Obama’s offer of free stuff — phones, food stamps, cars, healthcare — paid for with OPM. The “O” in “other people’s money” was always in Obama’s class warfare rhetoric, “the rich,” which as his (and prior) administrations continued to print money like confetti, was designed to keep pushing more and more taxpayers above the threshold where they’d qualify for the highest, most regressive tax brackets, and thus get middle earners scrambling on a treadmill to feed the government maw.
It’s why we saw so many “Atlas Shrugged” signs lofted by Tea Party protesters — a signal that they rejected the role of being the sacrificial Atlas on whose strong, but bruised shoulders the “duty” to carry the multiplying ranks of moochers Obama’s policies would create. It was a heroic “NO” — not just to sacrificing the self for the sake of freeloaders, but to sacrificing the nation’s fiscal health, by acquiescing to massive new entitlement spending that would send national debt soaring — and doom America to the descent into bankruptcy and wrenching, often violent civil strife as seen by those who arrived at the end of the tracks: Greece, Spain, Italy.
To borrow a controversial metaphor from that Tea Party top tome: Remaining silent to the fatal consequences of assuming such massive debt would be like failing to warn the passengers boarding the Comet train that far from willingly boarding a commuter train to a destination of choice, they were in fact cattle being herded into a stock car doomed for certain death.
Where are those voices now? As both houses passed profligate “budget” deals with bipartisan support, the formerly deafening cries for fiscal discipline — which propelled the Republicans into control of Congress in 2010 — are now reduced to hoarse whispers from lonely, yet heroic legislative leaders like Senator Rand Paul and Rep. Thomas Massie.
But they are outliers in the Republican Party of 2018, which seems to regard the Tea Party’s grassroots resistance to spending OPM or assuming IOUs as a youthful enthusiasm, rather than the fundamental betrayal of reality — and future generations — that the debt truly represents.
“We can ignore reality,” Ayn Rand once famously observed, “but we cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.’”
The consequences of ignoring reality — the real fact that the federal government just agreed to keep spending money it doesn’t have — will be born not by me, not by my parents, but by Millennials and their younger brothers and sisters, who have all their earning and taxpaying years ahead of them.
Which is why when speaking to student groups on campus, I always start by “thanking” them.
I “thank” them for being the most Generous Generation ever, by agreeing to pick up the enormous tab left them by preceding generations — tallying up entitlement spending and benefits they’ll never enjoy, but for which they will bear the costs.
My gratitude is of course facetious — on three counts. First: I would never “thank” anyone for sacrificing themselves so obsequiously — it’s not a moral value to be encouraged or upheld. Second: The young people I “thank” did not choose this debt — nor is it likely even on their radar. Third: My thank you is backhanded — not meant to offend, but to awake!
Debt is the four-letter-word that is barred from polite conversation. It’s just not polite to remind a person who is enjoying a bender that they will likely feel ill in the morning. But the very same people who are now voting to spend, spend, spend, were just a few years ago chanting that America was becoming Greece. Where are those voices now?
Here is the hard reality: In just over a half a decade, all government revenues will be entirely consumed by the costs of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and interest payments on our rapidly ballooning debt. Despite this glaring threat to our fiscal health, no one in Washington seems to be doing anything about it. In fact, they seem to be only adding to the problem, as the recent budget deal demonstrates.
So “thank you” Generous Generation — we in the Grifter Generation appreciate your forced generosity.