"Whither is God," he cried. "I shall tell you. We have killed him - you and I. All of us are murderers.... God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him...”
Nietsche, The Gay Science, section 126, 1882
Economist and Washington Post editorialist Robert Samuelson pointed out the obvious in his condign criticism of Barack Obama’s State of The Obama Address. We, our nation’s church, mosque and synagogue attendance stats aside, are profoundly a nation of heretics. The average Americans, whoever they are, seem convinced, as an article of faith, that they can ascend to heaven without the terrible cost of having to die. He lays out our apostasy below.
Americans think deficits are someone else's problem that can be cured by taxing the rich (say liberals) or ending wasteful spending (conservatives). Obama indulged these fantasies.
Thus, we get offered a “common-sense” position that I’ve seen intelligently articulated here. It holds that we could still raise our country’s deficit ceiling and pass a balanced budget amendment. A gradual increase of the spending, combined with the good arts of the Economic Growth Fairy, will make this mess come right. There is no sense amongst “intelligent” or “well-read” Conservatives that we our leaving our future generations with an untenable, failing socialism, held together with frayed and slipping Duct Tape.
Here’s why I’m an absolutist, fanatical Wingnut (cue the horror show music!) on NOT raising that debt ceiling.
Proponents support doing this at least partially with a Doomsday Threat. Raise that debt ceiling or the welfare checks stop, the troops don’t get paid, the ATMs spew funny-money. Anarchy, red of claws and teeth, prowls the alleys whilst the Scarlet Whore of Babylon whelps forth her foul offspring in the street. This is the argumentation of charlatans.
I’m reminded of what happened when a reporter asked “Scientist” Dr. Benjamin Santer what Americans could do about Global Warming. His reply: “They’d better be scared as Hell!” That; is not a legitimate form of argumentation. TARP was passed on the basis of a threat. So was the Stimulus (if we didn’t; unemployment could have gotten as high as 8%!!!!!).
They are both monumental policy disasters. They were both major transfer payments from the less well-off to the rich. I see this proposed raise in the debt ceiling as nothing except the same.
Another reason to slam that debt ceiling down hard comes from my total and fundamental lack of faith in this Congress, even with a few Tea Partiers, to meaningfully abide by a Balanced Budget Amendment. It will work just like Glorious and Sanctimonious Pay-Go. What I mean by that is that we’ll have a balanced budget for all fiscal years that don’t have “certain contingencies”. We’ll balance it in years where no “unforeseen emergencies” or “military necessities”, or “environmental disasters” or “acts of God” take place.
Once all these caveats have been included, the balanced budget amendment will have as much effect on the commonweal as naming another nature park after the Late Senator Byrd. Quite, simply put I don’t trust these iniquitous children of dubious progeny. They will not take the deficit problem seriously until reporters find out what these various and sundry Senators have actual sent to the Scarlet Whore of Babylon via their Twitter accounts. Nobody in the US Senate really believes that deficit spending leads to any long-term negative consequences.
So what we’ll get with a balanced budget/ raised deficit ceiling bargain between Boehner, McConnell, Reid and Obama is the status quo we have right now. This brings me to my third and final argument against giving in to bureaucratic inertia. As I blogged a few days ago, we are heading down a slow but steady road to Hell, paved with every good intention that can possibly be crammed into a Federal Budget. We will end up less well defended, more in debt and run by a larger and more domineering government. “In the long run,” Said Lord Keynes. “We will all be dead.”
And in the long run, as a result of the Conservative Movement’s compromises with our destroyers, so will our republic. To paraphrase Nietzsche’s mad-man with a lantern: “The Republic is dead. The Republic remains dead. And we have killed it.” Unless, of course, we grow the spine, say to Hell with the political and financial risks and make our glorious stand upon conviction somewhere. I believe that that somewhere is right here and right now.