Maybe this is for real now. Maybe the sky really is falling, and all my measured lectures for loyal and genteel opposition were wrong, wrong, wrong after all.
Congress is now spending about $3 trillion more than it did in 1945, at the end of World War II, once numbers are adjusted for inflation.
The only thing that surprises me about this is that this is only happening for the first time just now.
Of course, 1945 was a mighty expensive year, and I would have bet 1944 was even more costly. I would have been wrong, though:
Year GDP-US Total Spending-total
1940 101.4 20.42
1941 126.7 24.35
1942 161.9 45.58
1943 198.6 92.71
1944 219.8 109.95
1945 223.1 118.18
(Courtesy of the U.S. Government Spending website.) Astonishing. We’re breaking through every conceivable measure of indebtedness, and doing so recklessly, ineffectually and irreversibly.
What does the man with this plan, President Obama have to say about all this? Addressing the risk his fellow chefs may be balking at applying, as icing on the cake of fiscal collapse, the nationalization of the medical care sector (not to mention the criminalization of private medicine), he wants us to think big picture:
President Obama yesterday sought to reassure the public that his overhaul plan was financially sound and asked lawmakers not to “lose heart.”
“This is what the debate in Congress is all about — whether we’ll keep talking and tinkering and letting this problem fester,” Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address.
“Or whether we’ll seize this opportunity — one we might not have again for generations — and finally pass health-insurance reform this year, in 2009.”
You know, it’s one thing to soft-pedal atomic-bomb type radical changes such as are being proposed for the healthcare system as “reform.” How much more do we expect from a politician? But when you are already betting the company on a radical fiscal policy that crosses lines not last crossed since the time our country’s very existence was threatened, and you think “reform” is the “opportunity we might not have again for generations” — it begins to sound a tad like you’re, I don’t know, being very unrealistic about certain things.
Like whether “we” will have any generations to speak of, government-of-these-United-States-wise.
I am now bona-fide worried. I still pick up my lunch pail and chug under the river every day to my little desk, and I have no intention of taking the afternoon off for tea parties or firing-range practice. But if the ascent of Al Franken to the United States Senate were not enough to disturb my bourgoise equanimity, I think what they’re doing with the money — the money we made, the money we’re making, the money we will make and that our descendants will ever make — is starting to get me to break a sweat.
At least FDR called his radical realignment of the nature of government a New Deal. No one was under any misapprehension about what he was doing. In contrast, what the Democratic regime is doing to the country’s finances is becoming, literally, an existential threat, but the gravity of the situation is still a joke in Washington. It is only wanly beginning to show up in the mainstream media. We are many election-days away from any prospect of doing something about it.
Yes, it’s depressing. And whom do I blame?
I blame our Glorious Leaders, who brought us from control of the White House and both houses of Congress to where we are today.
I don’t expect the other side to do anything other than what they’re doing, which isn’t do say I’ve never had, if you will excuse the choice of words, hope that their better selves would, given the chance to actually govern… govern.
But what could I have thought? The “better self” of Barney Frank? Nancy Pelosi? Chris Dodd? Nancy Pelosi? Chuck Schumer?
No. As Solzhenitsyn said in The First Circle, “The wolfhound is right and the cannibal is wrong.” We shouldn’t, can’t, don’t expect the party in charge now to rise to the level of statesmanship even liberals possessed a generation ago, probably because statesmanship is so irrelevant in politics today. The wolfhound will devour democracy and freedom because that is what it does. The party in charge now premises its entire political program on the acquisition of power, wealth and control by government. This is not paranoia; it is explicit in its programs, platforms and politics.
But the cannibal — the party that has devoured not only its own so consistently, but which has allowed its own to devour the party and, far more important, the constitutional republic that so many of us once believe it was committed to guard — cannot defend by saying “I am what I am.” To be what he is is not merely a dereliction; it is an affirmative crime.
The cannibal’s guilt is on his head. What has happened politicaly in the last five years is more than a loss of power; it is a failure of moral dimension so profound that as an operating hypothesis, sabotage, cannibalism, is entirely plausible.
Is it our guilt, too?
Cross-posted on Ron Coleman’s Likelihood of Success blog.