The Corner

The T Word

One of the depressing features of the Republican party is the way they get suckered time and again into playing on Democrats’ terms. The pathetic spectacle of grown men and women sitting around in meetings trying to agree on “grand bargains” to save $43.7 bazillion in federal spending by 2023 before an allegedly looming deadline of August 2nd is almost too perfect a snapshot of Washington stupidity.

The rest of the world isn’t looking for a grand bargain by August 2nd. And it knows enough about the decadent state of U.S. law-making to know that any such bargain would be voted through unread and begin to unravel by sun up on the 3rd. And getting Republicans to explain that not to worry, they’re not pushing seniors off the cliff immediately – that existing grampas will be grandfathered in — is a way to make the whole debt debate toxic. If we have to pretend that August 2nd is any kind of deadline, why don’t we simplify matters?

Here’s a newspaper headline from a yellowing cutting I found up in the attic:

U.S. Budget Deficit Hits Record $438 Billion For Year

Boy, those were the days! Flappers in rumble seats, wind-up victrolas, and deficits you could measure in billions. A more innocent age, lost in the mists of time. Gosh, you’d have to be pushing, oh, twelve even to remember it.

$438 billion was the record-breaking federal deficit in 2008. That’s all of three years ago. In 2011, it’s getting on four times as big. What’s that got to do with anything happening in 2023?

Obama did that. The Democrats did that. “Trillion” is their word. They mainstreamed it, and very effectively, in nothing flat. But it’s not a fact of life. It’s a fact of their life, and they should be on the defensive about it. What do we have to show for the trillionization of government? The dead-parrot economy, the underwater property market, the flatline jobs market. But lots more bureaucracy and regulation.

Obama wants to demonize “millionaires”? Who’s he kidding? He and Harry Reid and Barney Frank are the first trillionaire politicians in American history, and they want us to accept that as the new baseline. Getting Republicans to sit around concocting meaningless plans for a decade hence is a good way to do it.

Mark Steyn — Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist. That’s to say, his latest book, After America (2011), is a top-five bestseller in ...

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More