I have been nagged for some time now that as great as the threat of al Qaeda, et. al, is, especially if they get nukes, the financial insolvency of our country is as great, maybe greater. Not is potential lethality of course, but in what can only be termed the decline and fall of the American republic.
As it turns out, the mounting federal debt (I won't even address the total national debt) may have horrifically lethal consequences, too, if not for us then for some others in the world. Mark Steyn explains with his usual pithy eloquence.
[W]ithin a decade, the United States will be spending more on interest payments on the federal debt than it does on the military – and that’s not because the Pentagon is such a great bargain. In 2009, the United States accounted for over 43 per cent of the world’s military expenditures. So, within a few years, America will be spending more on debt interest than China, Britain, France, Russia, Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, India, Italy, South Korea, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Spain, Turkey and Israel spend on their militaries combined. The superpower will have evolved from a nation of aircraft carriers to a nation of debt carriers.As someone said earlier this year, "It's November or never." And it's the last chance for the Republicans, too. But they've been afloat on the gravy train for so long they I really don't think they can reinvent themselves.
What does that mean? In 2009, the US spent about $665 billion on its military, the Chinese about $99 billion. If Beijing continues to buy American debt at the rate it has in recent times, then within a few years US interest payments on that debt will be covering the entire cost of the Chinese military. This summer, the Pentagon issued an alarming report to Congress on Beijing’s massive military build-up, including new missiles, upgraded bombers, and an aircraft-carrier R&D program intended to challenge US dominance in the Pacific. What the report didn’t mention is who’s paying for it.
Answer: Mr and Mrs America.
By 2015, the People’s Liberation Army, which is the largest employer on the planet, bigger even than the US Department of Community-Organizer Grant Applications, will be entirely funded by US taxpayers. When the Commies take Taiwan, suburban families in Connecticut and small businesses in Idaho will have paid for it.
The existential questions for America loom not decades hence but right now. We face not genteel Euro-style decline cushioned by America, but something faster, wrenching and far more convulsive - with nobody to cushion it.
Which leads us to 2012. Next week is "November or never" not really for the American people but for the Republicans. If they fail in the next two years to turn the government back toward public service rather than overlord masters, one of two things will happen.
One, the Tea Party movement will morph into a national third party for the 2012 elections. This will be encouraged by the Democrats in any events, the better to split the Republican and Independents' vote. But the bloodletting within the Republican ranks and with the third party will substantially enhance Democrat chances.
Or the TP movement will strengthen its insurgency into the Republican party rather than try to form a third party. This is already happening, of course, and the only way Establishment Republicans can get handle on it is to move seriously and substantially into true limited-government, fiscal responsibility philosophy.But this is exactly what Establishmentarian Republicanism cannot do. It does not know how and does not believe in it anyway.
Then there are the voters themselves. Are we really willing to accept the pain of smaller government and fiscal austerity? I am not very sure.
There is no shortage of voters who say they want the federal budget cut and the size of government reduced. What they (okay, we) really mean is, "I want the federal programs and agencies that benefit me to stay intact and the ones that benefit someone else to be slashed like it's Halloween night in a horror movie." ...It's November or never, but the ballot is only the beginning.
The reason is, I think, that we voters ideologically approve cutting the budget but operationally don't want it done on our own backs.