Friday, October 18, 2013
Shut Down and Debt Ceiling
Raising the debt ceiling was the main issue and it comes up regularly and most of the time it is raised with little fuss or fanfare -but it *always* gets raised. This time, for example, a few people pointed out that, as a junior senator, President Obama had voted against raising the debt ceiling when George W. Bush was president, saying that it was downright unpatriotic to keep piling on more debt for future generations. I am not sure which is worse, the idea that the President was being a total hypocrite (as Republicans claimed) by doing this or that the President didn’t really mean what he said back then and was just voting against it to annoy President Bush because Obama is a Democrat and Bush is a Republican. Pick your poison; dishonest and hypocritical or childish and petty. The important point here is that the debt ceiling is raised regularly, it always goes up, it never goes down. Am I the only one who wonders why we even bother to have a debt ceiling if that ceiling can just be raised every single time we reach the alleged limit? Is it just completely insane to even consider the possibility of maybe spending less so that we don’t have to keep borrowing more and more money just to stay afloat? I guess it is.
Even if it were just the United States of America this would be alarming enough. The total national economy should not be brought to the brink of ruin by the government being partially shut down for 16 days. That should not even be possible. However, it should also not be possible that the United States is over $16 trillion in debt and still able to borrow more money. Does anyone really think that amount can ever be paid back? I doubt it, but most countries are deeply in debt these days even if not as much as the United States (though I think Japan is #1) and this is partly why the rest of the world gets worried that the U.S. might not borrow more money. Everyone seems to depend on it these days. Thanks to extremely generous social welfare programs, most First World countries are so deeply in debt their whole method of thinking about economics revolves around juggling the books, printing/stealing money, borrowing money and just trying to keep everyone calm until they can come up with some new way of delaying the inevitable time when the bill collector appears at the door and no one will lend us any more. It is a little like what some people do on the stock market. Have you ever heard politicians complaining about those “evil” speculators on Wall Street? Well, that’s pretty rich considering that almost every major country is practically surviving on the same sort of system. Just like those people who make millions (and billions) betting on money that hasn’t been earned yet for selling goods that retailers haven’t purchased yet because the products haven’t been produced yet, governments have become accustomed to budgeting funds that haven’t been borrowed yet because they passed up the idea of spending only as much as your government can bring in on its own many years ago.
Now, I am sure someone is already asking what any of this has to do with monarchy, because a number of people always seem eager to “catch” me talking about something off-topic. Well, in this case, it does not have a great deal to do with monarchy specifically because monarchies and republics are both capable of making bad economic decisions. However, economics have an impact on monarchy because any time the economy gets bad, the monarchy is always one of the first things to come under criticism in spite of the fact that it has proven to be more cost-effective than a republic. When cuts finally have to be made, I would be very afraid that the British public today would sooner do away with the relative pittance the monarchy costs them before they would scrap the massive money-hole that is the NHS. If it comes down to choosing between anything, even the monarchy, and “my free stuff” from the government, people will always choose their “free stuff”. Of course, there are plenty of other ways governments could and should cut down their out-of-control spending habit but we all know they won’t. Europe as a whole decided to become an American protectorate so they could have a social welfare state which even then they couldn’t afford in the long run but that still didn’t stop them from adding on a whole new level of burden by creating the European Union. Forget finding a way out of the hole, Europe hasn’t even stopped digging. And don’t expect any financial sanity from the United States when someone like Senator Harry Reid refuses to even cut federal funding for “Cowboy Poetry Month”. The Democrats refuse to cut anything and the Republicans only seem to favor spending cuts when they are out of power.