Friday, August 5, 2011
[Click image to enlarge.]
Never hurts to be reminded.
A guy who sends me the occasional email, and who I've generally thought reasonably smart about the economy, recently wrote that the debt is so huge there's no way to solve it. All the gold in Fort Knox, he said among other things, would barely make a dent.
But that's not relevant, seems to me. The point is that if we were to achieve a balanced budget -- you know, like Clinton did -- we'd pay off the debt eventually. If you owe $500K on your house, but can't scrape together the cash to pay it off all at once, it doesn't mean it's impossible to pay it off. All you need to do is keep making payments and avoid taking out second and third mortgages.
In the case of the US, it's not quite that simple, of course, because obligations will continue to increase (mostly because of old guys like me -- although I don't plan to partake of Medicare. I have my own solution to illness). Which is why everyone but teabaggRs and a few Democrats know that long-term balance will have to include cuts that change the slope of rising costs of entitlements and defense, and will have to include revenue unless we really do want to remove all hope of future survival. To achieve balance with cuts alone -- and not even Paul Ryan's draconian plan gets near balance -- would mean the end of education, environmental protection, infrastructure, and, most social programs. About that there's really no argument.
The mathematics of balance are simple; it's because of the politics that solution seems impossible, especially as long as teabaggRs have the corner on stupidity and the rest of the Rs have abandoned all pretense of respecting the rules of democracy.
It's a fair assumption that voters, too steeped in selfishness and willfully stupefied by the RW scream machine, won't give the Senate back to Democrats in numbers to defeat filibuster; and won't return the House majority to them. I look forward (in the way one looks forward to disease and torment) to seeing if Democrats, when they become minorities in both houses, will resort to the destructive tactics the Rs have used. And, of course, to the screams from Rs if they do.