Ar­ro­gant gov­ern­ment binge spending

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Pat Buchanan

“It’s time to stop wor­ry­ing about the deficit — and start pan­ick­ing about the debt,” the Wash­ing­ton Post ed­i­to­rial be­gan. “The fis­cal sit­u­a­tion was se­ri­ous be­fore the re­ces­sion. It is now dire.” The ed­i­to­rial con­tin­ued: “In the space of a sin­gle fis­cal year, 2009, the debt soared from 41 per­cent of the gross do­mes­tic prod­uct to 53 per­cent. This sum, which does not in­clude what the gov­ern­ment has bor­rowed from its own trust funds, is on track to rise to a crush­ing 85 per­cent of the econ­omy by 2018.”

What are the risks of an ex­plod­ing U.S. pub­lic debt?

The Chi­nese, Ja­panese and Arabs still buy­ing that debt will be­gin to sus­pect they are hold­ing onto pa­per on which the United States will de­fault, or will cheapen by in­flat­ing its cur­rency — as the Ger­mans did in 1923 to avoid pay­ing war repa­ra­tions.

When they do, they will stop buy­ing U.S. debt and start dump­ing. The Fed will then have to raise in­ter­est rates to at­tract bor­row­ers, throw­ing the econ­omy into a tail­spin.

Is Congress even aware of what is hap­pen­ing?

Harry Reid is talk­ing about dou­bling Medi­care rolls to in­clude folks 55 to 64. Fac­ing a sec­ond straight $1.4 tril­lion deficit, Congress is mov­ing to raise the debt ceil­ing by an­other $1.8 tril­lion.

And the lead story in the Post on Dec. 14 be­gan:

“The Se­nate cleared for Pres­i­dent Obama’s sig­na­ture on [Dec. 13] a $447 bil­lion om­nibus spending bill that con­tains thou­sands of earmarks and dou­ble-digit in­creases for sev­eral Cab­i­net agen­cies.”

To­tal cost of the Se­nate bill passed Dec. 13 was “$1.1 tril­lion, in­clud­ing av­er­age spending in­creases of 10 per­cent for dozens of fed­eral agen­cies.”

Ten per­cent hikes for fed­eral agen­cies? What is go­ing on?

Democrats say the money is needed to make up for the ne­glect of the Ge­orge W. Bush years. But the Bush years were the fat­test years for fed­eral so- cial spending since the Great So­ci­ety.

Sen. Dick Durbin says the spending is nec­es­sary “to keep cops on the street [. . .] so that fam­i­lies feel se­cure. [. . .] Money spent to help our first re­spon­ders, fire­fight­ers and po­lice­men is a crit­i­cal in­vest­ment.”

But aren’t cops and fire­men a state and lo­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity?

“It is busi­ness as usual, spending money like a drunken sailor, “ said Sen. John McCain. “And the bar is still open.”

But when sailors get drunk and spend crazily, they are on shore leave and spending their own money. When they get back aboard ship, they sober up and shape up, and do the vi­tal work they en­listed to do.

Th­ese con­gress­men never stop binge­ing. They are ad­dicts. They are al­co­holics. And they are spending our money. Ac­cord­ing to Tax­pay­ers for Com­mon Sense, there are 5,200 earmarks in that one Se­nate bill, which aver­ages out to 12 pork projects for ev­ery House mem­ber — and 52 for ev­ery se­na­tor.

What is go­ing on in Wash­ing­ton?

Democrats are fol­low­ing the Rahm Rule of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Em­manuel. “Don‘t al­low a cri­sis to go to waste. [. . .] There are op­por­tu­ni­ties to do big things.”

The Party of Gov­ern­ment is ex­ploit­ing the eco­nomic cri­sis to grow the gov­ern­ment. And from the stand­point of self in­ter­est, this makes sense. Most gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees are Demo­cratic vot­ers, as are most ben­e­fi­cia­ries of gov­ern­ment pro­grams.

More­over, Democrats have to get the money out the door be­fore the midterms, where the party is go­ing to take a bath and lose power.

How else to ex­plain this lead story two weeks ago in USA To­day:

“The num­ber of fed­eral work­ers earn­ing six-fig­ure salaries has ex­ploded dur­ing the re­ces­sion. [. . .]

“Fed­eral em­ploy­ees mak­ing salaries of $100,000 or more jumped from 14 per­cent to 19 per­cent of civil ser­vants dur­ing the re­ces­sion’s first 18 months — and that is be­fore over­time pay and bonuses are counted.

“Fed­eral work­ers are en­joy­ing an ex­traor­di­nary boom time — in pay and hir­ing — dur­ing a re­ces­sion that has cost 7.3 mil­lion jobs in the pri­vate sec­tor.”

When the re­ces­sion started, the De­fense Depart­ment had 1,868 civil­ian em­ploy­ees earn- ing $150,000. De­fense now has 10,100. The Trans­porta­tion Depart­ment had one per­son earn­ing $170,000 when the re­ces­sion be­gan. Trans­porta­tion now has 1,690 em­ploy­ees earn­ing above $170,000. Re­ces­sion in Amer­ica means boom times in D.C.

The fi­nan­cial cri­sis that al­most sank the cap­i­tal­ist sys­tem was the work of Wash­ing­ton and Wall Street. The Fed cre­ated the bub­ble. The White House and Congress goaded banks into mak­ing all those sub­prime mortgages. Fan­nie and Fred­die bought up the lousy pa­per and turned it into se­cu­ri­ties. Wall Street banks bought them up and put them on their books as Triple A as­sets. Fed­eral reg­u­la­tors looked the other way.

Yet happy days are here again on Wall Street. And Wash­ing­ton never saw bet­ter times, with fed­eral work­ers now earn­ing, on av­er­age, $31,000 a year more than work­ers in the gut­ted pri­vate sec­tor.

Is this the gov­ern­ment the Found­ing Fathers dreamed of — or is this the kind of ar­ro­gant gov­ern­ment they took up arms against?

Pa­trick Buchanan is a na­tion­ally syndicated colum­nist.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.