The magnitude of the problem.
Click here to listen to the broadcast of You Tell Me on KTBB AM & FM, Friday, Apr. 8, 2011.
As congress and now, at last, the president, haggle over cutting a mere two percent from current fiscal year spending, House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, has unveiled a proposed budget for fiscal year 2012. That proposal would cut more than $6 trillion in federal spending over ten years.
Credit Ryan with at least beginning the process of tackling the biggest threat to the survival of America since the Civil War. That is to say, give him credit for at least recognizing in a concrete way that current deficit and debt levels will ultimately lead to the fall of the United States.
The numbers are truly staggering and thus they are hard to absorb and comprehend and thus most of us just don’t deal with them. After all, we’ve heard for decades that federal deficits would lead to ruin and yet we are still here and things appear on the surface at least to be more or less normal, sluggish economy notwithstanding.
Into that vacuum of denial the Democrats have already rushed with the demagoguery that has become their trademark.
It’s the same tired, worn out cliches they’ve been using for decades. You know them. School children will go without lunch. Senior citizens will have to choose between food and medical care. Thousands will be forced out of their homes. The environment will suffer irreparable harm. The poor will be denied food. The unemployed will have no safety net. Thousands will starve. In other words, all of the usual twaddle.
That none of these predictions have ever come true is a fact that stands unchallenged by most of the media. Thus the Democrats are free to keep demagogueing instead of actually addressing what has become an existential threat that surpasses even Islamist terrorism.
Here it is in the starkest possible terms. If you closed every civilian federal agency, from the FBI to the Justice Department to the EPA, the FTC, the SEC, the Department of the Interior and every other civilian agency, and fired every civilian federal employee, the deficit this year would still be $680 billion. If you then shuttered the military and furloughed every member of all the services and shut down every U.S. military installation in the world, and if at the end of this you still had the approximately $1.4 trillion in annual federal revenue, only then would you have enough money to cover Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and interest on the existing debt.
Between profligate borrowing and unsustainable promises in the form of entitlement spending, we have reached the point that we can no longer pay for any of the constitutionally defined functions of government. We can’t even pay what it costs to defend ourselves.
Republicans, particularly the freshman class of Republicans in the House, who more than any should understand why they were elected, cannot allow the Democrats to demagogue any more. This time, Republicans must stand their ground come what may from the Democrats and the media.
And let’s don’t do as we usually do and wrap the argument up in talk of our children and grandchildren.
If we don’t act soon, the inevitable economic cataclysm could very well come while we’re still around.