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.

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