I realize we are not supposed to use “angry” rhetoric these days, but columns like this one in USA Today by Jody Bottum demand an answer.The title is, “Where are adults in debt ceiling talks?” If there is justice in the world, the only correct answer is, “Getting punched in the face, though metaphorically speaking.”We can forgive a contributing editor of the Weekly Standard for taking to USA Today to take shots — also metaphorical — at Jim DeMint. After all, the magazine that gave us the ideological underpinnings of the “big government conservative” cannot be expected to really be too dedicated to . . . um . . . smaller government.But to juxtapose Jim DeMint as a child and Tim Geithner as an adult is a bit much — let alone Geithner as the conservative and DeMint as the radical.
Jim DeMint says it’s not his fault. The GOP senator from South Carolina points out that he didn’t help spend all the nation’s money. Neither did the new congressional Republicans. So why, he asked in a recent interview, should they extend the national debt ceiling to pay for that spending?. . . .[I]t’s curious that Geithner sounds like a conservative in all this, while DeMint sounds like a radical.
Here is the problem, which no one wants to discuss. If we are going to keep raising the debt ceiling, why have it at all? We’ve set ourselves up for an elaborate and cynical kabuki dance with a pre-ordained outcome and, ultimately, no incentive to cut spending.In fact, it is the adults in the room — the ones who supposedly aren’t speaking enough — who have created the problem. I don’t want those people to speak. I want them to shut the heck up. They’ve driven up debt. They’ve driven up spending. They’d drive up taxes if we let them. And they know, they absolutely know, that they can do it with impunity because high minded pundits will take to the pages of USA Today and call them adult, back them up, and insist on more debt so we can have more spending. Of course most will fail to mention the “more spending” problem.The arguments we are having now — the sky is falling, the world is ending, we are going to default, the markets will crash, everyone will hate us — are the exact same arguments pushed by the exact same people who advocated TARP.Many politicians lost their political lives — again, metaphorically speaking — for supporting TARP. The same should happen here.As Jody Bottum himself notes, the world will not end, the sky will not fall, and the Treasury Secretary can keep paying out money.Friends, we take in more money each month than we must pay out in interest on the national debt. The only way we will default on our loans if the debt ceiling is not raised is if Barack Obama lets us default.We should resist all efforts to raise the debt ceiling and should instead start living within our means. Otherwise, let’s scrap the debt ceiling and stop doing the stupid kabuki dance while lighting candles and sacrificing red herrings in the name of some mythical, responsible adults participating in a conversation we wouldn’t even be having if these adults hadn’t been destroying the economic future of this country in the first place.Maybe heaven is not the only thing requiring the faith of a child.By the way, it is time we consider making the “Adult Establishment” in Washington as morally objectionable as “adult establishments” already are.