Michael B. Duff

Lubbock's answer to a question no one asked

When the reckoning comes, it won’t matter who the President is

Consider this Part 2 of the screed that began with Republicans are sabotaging the economy!

Clearly, our two national parties have irreconcilable differences. I am so tired of this oscillating Nanny State/Daddy State bullshit, I’m tempted to see a judge and have myself declared an Emancipated Voter, just so I can get out of the house.

The parties are so devoted to their bunker mentality, they honesty can’t imagine the existence of a larger world. And they certainly aren’t smart enough to learn from Europe.

No one can see further than the next election. That’s why my mantra for the next decade is, “When it finally comes time to cut spending, it won’t matter who the President is.”

You think Ireland wanted to cut spending? You think Greece wanted to implement austerity?

Now that I’ve seen the exceptions, I’m ready to declare a rule: No democratic government can voluntarily cut spending. With the corollary, No democratic government can voluntarily raise taxes.

There are minor exceptions, so I have to add the unspoken clause “enough to matter” at the end of these.

The Republicans have a tentative mandate to cut spending as they take back the House in 2011, but they have already declared that Medicare and Social Security are off-limits. So where are they going to cut, defense?

The problem facing us is so huge, you could cut billions from discretionary programs without making a dent. And the bunker mentality assures us that the Democrats will fight every cut as if it were a bullet fired at grandma.

Expect to see huge fireworks over health care and the Bush tax cuts but these issues are sideshows to the main event. The eventual compromises will be so small, the final products will be so neutered, their effect on the deficit won’t even be a bump on the graph.

And no, they won’t do much for jobs, either.

America isn’t ready to cut spending yet. I would argue that is electorally impossible for either party to cut spending or raise taxes enough to matter. Any reform big enough to solve the problem would make the offending party unelectable in the next cycle.

The changes must come from outside. There must be a third party that both sides can blame. We must blame Europe or China or the bond market. My personal choice would be to blame the banks and host a bipartisan mortgage-burning on the White House lawn.

But that reform looks impossible, too, as long as both sides remain terrified of bank runs and civil unrest.

Keep one thing in mind, as you read the headlines this year. If Ireland and Greece could print money, they would still be spending. Hell, they still are spending, and will continue to do so, as long as Germany and France are willing to incur debt on their behalf.

There are only two ways this can end. Spend until debt is so expensive you can’t borrow anymore, or print money until you reach a hyperinflation tipping point.

The PIIGS can’t print, so they’ll stop when Europe stops subsidizing their debt. America CAN print, and the value of the dollar is being offset by the weakness of the Euro and the deflationary impact of the mortgage crisis, so we’ve probably got another decade before austerity is imposed upon us.

Everything that happens in the meantime is posturing and theater. Republicans and Democrats are fighting to see who will be Captain of Titanic when the music stops. When the reckoning comes, it won’t matter who the President is.

Personally, I hope it’s a Democrat, so Blue Team can spend 80 years of debt-financed “credibility” repealing the programs they created.

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Written by Michael B. Duff

November 27, 2010 at 17:09

Posted in Politics

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