The question to ask is: What’s holding the joint up? In the case of the global economy, the answer is: Not much. The developed world’s combined economic-growth rate for 2012 is projected to be under 2 percent — and that’s a best-case scenario in times that don’t warrant much optimism. As its own contribution to the end of the world as we know it, the Obama administration has just released a document called “Living Within Our Means and Investing in the Future: The President’s Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction.” If you’re curious about the first part of the title — “Living Within Our Means” — Veronique de Rugy pointed out at National Review that under this plan debt held by the public will grow from just over $10 trillion to $17.7 trillion by 2021. In other words, the president’s definition of “Living Within Our Means” is to burn through the equivalent of the entire German, French, and British economies in new debt between now and the end of the decade. You can try this yourself next time your bank manager politely suggests you should try “living within your means”: Tell him you’ve got an ingenious plan to get your spending under control by near doubling your present debt in the course of a mere decade. He’s sure to be impressed.
As for the “Investing in the Future” part of the president’s plan, that means lots more government, lots more half-billion-dollar payoffs to pseudo-businesses cooked up by cronies, lots more $4.8 million–per–job taxpayer subsidies paid for with money borrowed from our unborn grandchildren. In a perfect snapshot of this administration’s witless banality, the president traveled last week to the Brent Spence Bridge across the Ohio River and claimed that, despite the fact that the structure connects the home states of the Republican House leader and the Republican Senate leader, the meanspirited GOP is going to kill the jobs bill and thus all prospects for a new bridge between their two states.
The bridge has nothing to do with the jobs bill. Work on a new bridge is not scheduled to begin for four years and wouldn’t be completed until 2022 at the earliest. Because in the Republic at twilight you can run up another seven-and-a-half-trillion dollars of new debt in less time than it takes to put up a bridge. Even as cheap political showboating the president’s photo op was a pathetic joke, with the laugh on you.
If this is the best America can do, there won’t be a 2022, not for the United States, or anything that would be recognizable as such. Like R.E.M. says, it’s the end of the world as we know it. And, as their split suggests, they no longer feel fine. And nor should you.
— Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is the author of After America: Get Ready for Armageddon. © 2011 Mark Steyn.