I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
Nation’s fiscal path looks like a downward spiral
On July 16, 2009, the director of the Congressional Budget Office, Douglas W. Elmendorf, wrote:
Under current law, the federal budget is on an unsustainable path, because federal debt will continue to grow much faster than the economy over the long run. Although great uncertainty surrounds long-term fiscal projections, rising costs for health care and the aging of the population will cause federal spending to increase rapidly under any plausible scenario for current law. Unless revenues increase just as rapidly, the rise in spending will produce growing budget deficits. Large budget deficits would reduce national saving, leading to more borrowing from abroad and less domestic investment, which in turn would depress economic growth in the United States. Over time, accumulating debt would cause substantial harm to the economy.
The rest of the piece outlines the reasons for his conclusion, but the president and many Democratic members of Congress seem determined to disregard such projections and continue spending our money — yours and mine, despite what Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and company think — like shopaholics at some gigantic, never-ending after Christmas clearance sale.
Actually, the money isn’t yours and mine. It’s our children’s and grandchildren’s. What this government is doing is taxing people who are not old enough to vote — and taxing many others who have not even been born yet.
Now, before anyone objects that Republican administrations and Congresses have engaged in deficit spending, let me say that I freely acknowledge this. And if you ask why you did not read a column from me about this when Bush was president, it’s because I only began writing this column during President Obama’s administration. Personally, I would like to see a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, so that every president and every Congress, no matter their party, can be held to a reasonable standard of fiscal restraint.
The fact is, our government cannot go on spending money at the rate it has been. Politicians of both parties have in the past defended deficit spending because, “We can grow our way out of the deficit.” Oh, really? So what happens when the economy contracts — as it is doing now — instead of expands? The concept of spending our way out of a deficit is a dangerous and irresponsible risk, predicated upon a stubborn and puerile refusal to acknowledge the reality that the economy cannot realistically be expected to go on expanding forever.
Purportedly intelligent people (for we do not elect imbeciles, do we?) appear to believe that it can, however, and so deficit spending has become a way of political life. But it is wrong. It is taxation without representation, because children and the unborn do not vote.
Now, in hopes of ramming a health care bill through Congress before more foul-smelling economic news hits the fan, President Obama has delayed the release of the administration’s budget update from mid-July, when it is normally scheduled, until August. He’s bought himself a little time, and is determined to use it to get that health care bill, and get it now:
…those who are betting against this happening this year are badly mistaken… We are going to get this done. We will reform health care. It will happen this year. I’m absolutely convinced of that.
It’s an emergency! We need it now! Time is of the essence! It’s the stimulus bill all over again. That was another thousand-plus-page monstrosity that Obama insisted had to be passed right now even if nobody in Congress had time to read it. At least the staff of Investor’s Business Daily had time, because amid 1,018 pages of the legalese, they found a provision that would outlaw private health insurance. Yes, you read that correctly. According to IBD:
Under the Orwellian header of “Protecting The Choice To Keep Current Coverage,” the “Limitation On New Enrollment” section of the bill clearly states:
“Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day” of the year the legislation becomes law.
So we can all keep our coverage, just as promised — with, of course, exceptions: Those who currently have private individual coverage won’t be able to change it. Nor will those who leave a company to work for themselves be free to buy individual plans from private carriers.
I’ve made clear before my views on government health care. My point today is two-fold: First, the president is rushing this bill through in an irresponsible way. The bill is too long, and the issue too complicated, for a slap-dash solution that has to be passed now now now without sufficient analysis and consideration. Second, our nation is in economic free-fall, and this is not the time to rush expensive and ill-thought out programs through Congress. We just don’t have the money.
When your job is threatened and your bills are mounting, do you rush out to the mall and go on a mad shopping spree, telling yourself that you’d better buy what you want quickly, before the easy credit dries up?
Of course not. At least, I hope not. But that’s exactly what the president and a lot of members of Congress are doing.
But don’t worry. You may no’t have to pay for it. You and I may be dead when the whole disgusting house of cards comes crashing down. Our children and grandchildren can clean up the mess.