Debtzilla and The Politics of Expediancy: Lost In Translation
August 1st, 2011
By Barry Secrest
I often wonder if, indeed, any beyond a select few have actually stopped to carefully consider exactly where America stands at present and why? Within the course of our condition as a nation increasingly divided, one must, at some point, strongly consider the fact that most of America has yet to simply pause and conduct a bit of inward reflection, putting politics completely aside-- if but only for a moment--to ascertain where the nation currently finds itself, while leveraging minimal amounts of common sense into the analytical process for a change.
Unfortunately, it now seems that a daunting number of individuals simply lack the neutrally charged intellectual honesty, if not the overall capacity, to initiate such a radical, soul-searching process. This experiment, if you will, being to at least try to gain a quick glimpse of the little used but ever-present knowing derived esoterically, rather than ideologically, from our latest of painful realities.
In that particular vein, and once upon a time, long, long ago, a great and extraordinarily learned man was poetically inspired to write the following:
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
Interestingly, the preamble to Jefferson's Declaration of Independence, speaks to us across a multitude of thought-provoking fronts when considering these words under the varying straits of the human condition, if not polemic. So, what might the modern-day cause which will impel us to our political separation actually be? Could it possibly be our fatalistic governmental expedition into what is, unarguably, a mindless mountain of indefatigable debt unchecked?
An Enormous Debt Politicized
Could it further be that while one political faction fights to maintain and even worsen that debt, another opposing faction seeks to only mitigate the damage rather than entirely defeating it but out of "forgivable" political expediency?
And, for Heaven's sake, since when did a staggering mass of IOU's become politicized to such a degree that those, who will remain unnamed, but who have ordinarily shown what could be described as an extraordinary amount of wisdom and thoughtfulness, now set themselves to literally howling in abject denial of the truth that unimaginable debt is now a good and necessary thing, if not only for just a wee bit longer.
The simple fact is that a difficult debt is not a good thing--period--and a debt, be it good or bad, cares not for the various ideological sways one way or another. A terrible debt cares not for the way it was amassed nor the way that it was used, nor does it care for the way that it will be inflated or defeated, it simply exists and naturally grows, monolithically, in our case, until, by some various means, it doesn't, and this is what those few who do understand are painfully trying to rectify. Debt, in other words, is neither political or apolitical, it simply is--or at least it was.
We have heard from a considerable number of highly respected establishment Conservatives, who appear largely on the side of history's rubbish heap of thoughtfully inactive deliberation, that in order to ultimately defeat the Beast that is slowly devouring our nation, we must join with the Beast and, at least for a time, aid it within its sublime act of the destruction and eventual devastation of the wealth that has been built up within this nation for over two centuries.
They will tell us that we must "retreat and retreat and retreat" in order to survive the fight until another day, for the final and grandest of all victories over our cunning berzerker adversaries. But, here's a thought for consideration: What if the fight that simply must be won is the battle that we are currently within, and what if we miss the opportunity that could completely turn the tide of our nation's impending economic devastation?
The Safe Route
Our wizened senior fellows will hasten to further admonish us that "we cannot govern from one house alone," and will even go so far as to chasten both parties, and those legislators who would stop the nation's economic derailment, as (almost amusingly) being "counter-constitutional and self-destructive in practice." The argument that seems not to be in consideration is simply that, at some point, we must consider the fact that we may be even now at that tipping point of dissolution, and that our considerations of action should go to every possible length now rather than to impatiently wait for some vague latter day of "virtually assured" victory that may never actually come.
In a nutshell, what if time is a luxury that America simply does not have?
The Republican leaders of the US Congress have fought a brave and embittered battle, having actually conspired with the duplicitous adversaries of our current economic straits in triplicate, only to have each loosely agreed upon measure thrown back into their faces, like excrement. The Commander in Chief has been nothing, if not obstinate, in forcefully spewing the rhetoric of capitulation, while actively hamstringing each and every effort in turn, almost as if he were entirely malevolent about the entire process of finally solving the problem.
Our complicit media has ever sought to portray the entire event as a mirthful political exercise in mass entertainment, rarely asking the bold questions and never performing their true function of pointing out the flaws and the blatant hypocrisy of bureaucratic dysfunction personified.
As each plan has been put forth, only to be promptly tabled in a confusion of jaggedly protruding numbers and disheveled debt-years, we are left with the understanding of the one truth that has been evident throughout the entire process. The actions that each side has been arguing for, in an effort to mitigate the damage eventually, does not seek to actively correct the problem immediately. No matter which plan, be it Republican, Democrat or Presidential, no active plan will seek to decisively reverse the tide of money flowing out, nor the mountain of debt building up until at least ten years hence, and herein lies the mother of all problems if not the looming financial disaster. The Cut, Cap and Balance act that the House recently passed contained the only quantifiable hope that America's credit rating "might" be salvaged; however, the Senate tabled that particular bill without a vote.
The True Aim Lost In Translation
The major financial ratings agencies, which will actively determine America's future bond ratings, have recently indicated that the gold-plated AAA debt ratings that America has always charged for its treasury bonds--being borrowed money--will be reduced within three months if our legislative corrections do not immediately and conclusively reduce our spending and our future debt levels. None of the measures, as put forth by any of our political parties, will actively seek to decisively address the AAA rating concerns of these agencies.
These agencies have also indicated that current plans to reduce spending by $ 2 trillion over the next 10 years, including the Republican plans, are simply not enough. This will then mean that Americans, as a result of their Government's gross ineptitude, and perhaps even impeachable excesses, will see their personal costs for any and all forms of credit increase due to global market functions.
This will include increased credit costs for our already severely strained businesses that depend upon credit markets to smooth out cash flows and increase manufacturing capacity. This will further increase America's interest on the debt costs exorbitantly, taking an even larger bite out of our tax revenues, which have been waning since the advent of the Emperor of All Ill's regime.
Despite all of this, we have the dizzy denizens of the extreme-left cheer-leading the guaranteed demise of the nation's credit standing and, by rote, their own credit costs, as if both were a grand and wondrous accomplishment for the President and the Senate Leader in toppling our industry to defeat the Republican's efforts. In addition to that, we have the various members on the Right, and virtually all on the Left, enjoining us to shut-up and accept the fact that nothing immediate can be done, when in fact, something can in truth be done but it will be hard for some few and divisively unpopular to some others.
Kill The Bill
The questions we should be asking ourselves throughout these debates on the various bills and measures is simply the following:
- Will this particular bill or measure guarantee that the cost of the nation's credit or borrowing will not increase?
- Does this particular bill or measure reduce our spending significantly and immediately to the point that our national debt is not increased but rather decreased in short order?
Unfortunately, these are not the questions actually being asked; therefore, no one is actively trying to solve the true problem. Rather, we have two political parties engaging in the politics of expediency while completely ignoring the problem that is gazing at them hungrily, and with a designedly ravenous contempt that bears nothing but ill for America in the immediately foreseeable future.
But this then brings us all the way back to our first question with regard to why does the US all suddenly find itself in this unenviable position and with no actively corrective solutions in play? Well hold on to your hats, because you're not going to like this next point at all.
In 2009, the $ 800 billion dollar stimulus was passed and added to the US budget as a one time massive payout "designed" to get the economy rolling again, but it's what you didn't know about the 2009 stimulus that should and most likely will enrage you, if not drive you totally insane. The Federal Government budgetary practices are predicated upon taking each previous year's total budgetary layout and tacking approximately 7% on for the following year, no matter what. Therefore, in 2010, Obama's budget, that was submitted, but never passed by Congress, automatically included the entire amount that was paid for the stimulus in 2009.
In effect we actually duplicated and spent a second stimulus that was not an actual stimulus at all. Even worse, mega-ditto' s for "fiscal" 2011, as well, another amount equal to the budget-busting stimulus was funded but not spent on stimulus by the Democratic legislators. So, in other words, your President has thoughtfully included the one-time charge that we were leveraging for the supposed one-time stimulus into each successive budget year.
It is in fact the gift that keeps on giving year, after year, after year and its also why America is effectively broke. The other thing to remember is simply that the amount of the stimulus is almost equivalent to the total that America pays in individual income taxes every year. So the question would logically then become, how could we not be broke after all of this, especially including all of the mysterious payouts from the economic meltdown? The next question would therefore have to be, "how do we distinguish these egregiously over-burdening non-budgetary amounts from a true Cloward-Piven derived strategy," as previously written about in an earlier article?
Putting Government To Work For The First Time
Interestingly, the one thing that would essentially force America into cutting off its "crack-addict-like" dependence upon borrowing would be for the Republicans to simply throw up their hands and allow the current law, which is in place for a reason, to take over. The US Treasury and the Federal government would then be forced into using the beyond considerable amounts of governmental assets on hand, in addition to our current humongous revenue streams, to fund our required outlays while being forced to reduce its unsustainable spending.
This would also creatively inspire a tremendous number of legislators and government workers to, for perhaps the first time in eons, depend upon themselves for creatively finding revenue and assets rather than some bloated bureaucrat in a foreign land needing a "safe investment."
This would further inspire the governmental bureaucrats to get serious about cutting waste and fraud and, of course, the ever-present abuse. Would it be unpopular? Well now, this is where it becomes truly interesting. Most Americans, I believe, would be moved into support of our government in defense of the cause that America's citizenry has been navigating through since the economic meltdown. We would guarantee our seniors and our military and our debt interest payments first--and in that order. The ratings agencies would most likely be giddy to see that a ponderous American bureaucracy is finally moving to take extreme action in getting its house in order.
I have always found it to be amazing at how many things a select grouping of determined individuals can accomplish when left with few choices beyond their own creativity. Nothing motivates like necessity, and perhaps that is what is finally needed to make Washington, once and for all, feel the pain of its people, rather than just providing crocodile tears and lip-service for said discomfort. This would also, quite naturally, take care of the President's predilection to spend America into oblivion. Amazing how constructive and appealing "doing nothing" for a change actually sounds, isn't it?
Nothing but nothing motivates like necessity.