As we expected last week, Boehner and Co. caved on the debt ceiling increase and settled for an inferior plan with limited “cuts” (which upon further investigation appear higher unlikely to ever actually occur) in order to get something passed prior to the August 2nd deadline. The joy emanating from the establishment was short-lived however once the governments efforts to muscle S&P failed and S&P subsequently downgraded the United States from AAA to AA+ credit rating… and then the blame game started. Obama, the Democrats and the media blaming the Tea Party, the Tea Party blaming Obama and the Democrats, Obama blaming S&P, S&P blaming partisan politics, the Tea Party blaming the Republican establishment, while the stock market continues its slide here and abroad. The establishment is just not used to actually having to face real life consequences for their actions. For the longest time the nation could continue to borrow, print and spend while putting on a show haggling over minor cuts or taxes that wouldn’t truly effect any government program, department, or interest group in order to score cheap political points in preparation of the next election. Those times are over. China, our largest creditor, fired a verbal lashing our way on Saturday demanding that we address our “structural debt problems and ensure the safety of China’s dollar assets.” The establishments collective feet are being held to the fire and they don’t like it one bit. They are now in a frenzy. This is uncharted territory.
The most unfortunate part of the downgrade is that it could have easily been prevented since so many of us have seen it coming for a long time but like a drug addict searching for his next fix, the U.S. government could not quit its destructive spending habits. It has become more fashionable to bash Washington D.C. for all of these problems… for their spending… for their borrowing and printing… for their complete disconnect from reality. There are debt addicts in Washington, that is a fact. But like all addicts the first step is generally the hardest one and that is admitting that you have a problem. You can only continue to blame the politicians for so long before it becomes nothing but an excuse.
It is time for us to be honest with ourselves. I think it is time that many Americans stand up and admit their problem.
Hi, my name is ________ and I’m an addict and an enabler. I have sat by idly and watched as our debt has continued to increase by leaps and bounds. I only complain about spending that went towards programs that I did not personally agree with or did not benefit me directly. I want spending cuts but I don’t want my social security or medicare cut. I demand a balanced budget but I do not want any cuts to our military defense and think it is inexcusable to suggest that our troops should come home from endless wars across the globe and that we should not continue to have military installations in every nation. Rather than agreeing to a reasonable budget I feel that other people’s taxes should increase, but not mine. I did not accept any responsibility for the runaway spending in Washington. I blamed all the spending problems on the “career politicians” and “Washington insiders” but I continue to vote for them every election cycle. I always thought someone else would fix the problem and the pain of the solution would be borne by someone else. Whether my political leanings tended me towards support of the welfare state or the warfare state, no matter what, I always supported the side of “big government.” Big government for me but small government for everyone else. I am an addict and an enabler. I now admit I have a problem.”
Doesn’t that feel much better?
It is time that many of us realize that we are part of the problem and work towards becoming part of the solution.