Nausea and general anxiety: Utter madness… All in the name of terrorism
Why should so many Americans suffer a sick feeling in the pit of their stomachs when George W. Bush has been telling us for almost a year exactly what he was going to do?
Since the Bush administration came into power we’ve abandoned the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty opening space to war, walked out of the Kyoto Convention on the environment, Congress passed the Patriot Act without reading it and is now considering Patriot II that absolutely obliterates the Bill of Rights, President Bush declared a paranoid “first strike” initiative in an about face from former foreign policy, we fractured the NATO Alliance with arguments over Turkey, divided the European Union over invading Iraq, and we are now questioning the relevancy of the United Nations.
Much but not all of this is done under the excuse that “our lives have changed forever” after the 9/11 attack on our homeland. Without ever answering the question of why anyone would hate us so much, or any real investigation into the events of 9/11, Americans have accepted the idea that we are at war against terrorists or any nation that harbors terrorists and that we must be willing to give up liberties in exchange for a form of homeland security that ultimately makes us prisoners in our own homes.
All of this going on while our other war, the constant war on drugs, continues without denting the tons of white powder entering our country illegally, powder that could just as easily be the sort of bio-chemical weapons of mass destruction supposedly owned and used by our new terrorist enemies. Infiltration that we obviously cannot stop.
And we have yet to find Osama bin Laden, whoever mailed anthrax letters, or even the Atlanta bomber who hid out in our own hills of North Carolina. But we did manage to find two nitwit snipers who went on a killing spree in the Washington, D.C. area holding the region hostage for six weeks and we are told that Homeland Security will improve as soon as “first line” defense forces are funded.
Meanwhile, every State, City, County, school system or other tax based organization in the country is reeling under a recession that shows every sign of repeating the Great Depression of the Thirties and a lack of promised funds from the federal government.
Naturally, we can’t give a fair estimate of how much it’s going to cost to invade Iraq or to occupy it for any length of time because the variables are too numerous. But we should know exactly how much this war has cost us so far, and we should realize that the Bush administration has been borrowing us into oblivion.
In the last five quarters, the national debt has increased $638 billion; $421 billion or the real deficit accumulated in the four quarters of fiscal 2002 and $217 billion so far this fiscal year. That’s the greatest increase in fiscal irresponsibility we’ve ever experienced in so short a time.
I can’t help it if the American public doesn’t realize what’s been happening and continues to happen to our country. I don’t expect people to follow and question news the way I do. They’ve got jobs and businesses to run, families to raise, and all sorts of other commitments to quite rightly occupy their attention. Most are not old and retired the way I am.
I didn’t always mistrust the government. But since 1993, when I first began questioning the national debt and trying to understand why it was so out of hand, I’ve learned to question everything the federal government tells us. I’ve found too many lies and my faith in the system is almost completely deteriorated.
Let me give you just one of many examples. An example of a small bearable or tolerable lie, but one that is very pertinent today. A much less offensive lie than the ones claiming Social Security is in trouble, surpluses are gone, entitlement trust funds that are nothing but debit black holes have value, or that a fictitious “76 million baby boomers” are about to wreck havoc on our supplemental retirement system.
Anyone over twelve years of age should remember the crisis of late 1995 and early 1996 when we had government shutdowns over the national debt ceiling that stood at $4.9 trillion at the time.
Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, and other republicans were constantly in the news threatening to bankrupt the country. With a “contract with America” in his pocket, Speaker of the House Gingrich was out to force the Clinton administration to agree to a date to set a date when the budget could finally be balanced. Without such an agreement, he wouldn’t allow Congress to vote on the debt limit.
Former Secretary of the Treasury Lloyd Bentsen spoke to Congress about the dangers of default or how the nation could be brought to its knees if investors lost faith in the securities they were holding and created a run on the Treasury. These securities can be cashed-in at any point the bearer wishes and without waiting for their maturity.
After months of arguing and “nonessential” federal employees sent on a paid-later vacation, we finally got a new debt ceiling of $5.4 trillion and a promise to work on a balanced budget law. By November of 1997 Congress actually passed a Balanced Budget Act that, ironically, picked the year 2003 as the time when the government could learn to live within its means, to get by on the roughly two trillion dollars in taxes citizens provide and to stop borrowing. Isn’t that a kick?
John Kasich, Chairman of the House Budget Committee, buried a new debt ceiling of $5.9 trillion in this Balanced Budget Act and we didn’t have to worry about the limit until June of 2002 when again, in order to do “the responsible thing” on the very last day possible the government raised it to the $6.4 trillion where it’s standing today.
Now, I want you to remember all of the Chicken Little “sky is falling” panic and fear stories generated by politicians and the media in 1995 and every time the government bumps its head on the debt ceiling—because they’ve been lying through their teeth and grandstanding in a great show of faked fiscal responsibility.
We hit the national debt ceiling on February 20th of this year, thirty days ago as of Friday, March 21, 2003, and you haven’t heard a peep about it—no crisis, no threats of shutdown, nothing. If it were a real problem before, why isn’t it now?
What does that tell you about the entire hullabaloo in 1995 and any of the other occasions when politicians have argued over the debt limit and frightened the public?
Of course, when Bush was trying to buy the support of a “coalition of the billing” it simply wouldn’t do to display any sign of monetary weakness, but that doesn’t change anything if there’s a true crisis in Washington.
You can’t have it both ways. There cannot be a crisis at one time because we hit the debt limit and no crisis the next time it happens. Somebody is lying somewhere, are they not?
Let’s take it further.
The fact that we’ve hit the debt limit in no way means that the government is broke or that money isn’t still coming in from taxpayers. It simply means that the government cannot borrow any more until the limit is raised. At least, they can’t do so without breaking their own law.
If you, the media, or any of the so-called “watchdogs” had the interest in following these events you could do so in the U.S. Treasury or the Bureau of Public Debt web pages. There are plenty of very accurate reports of what’s happening daily, monthly, and annually with links to previous years.
For instance, the Daily Treasury Statement at http://www.fms.treas.gov/dts/index.html will give you, in Table III-C “Debt Subject to Limit,” an accurate accounting of where the nation stands in terms of the debt limit adjusted to about $61 billion that the government has somehow classified as “not subject to the debt limit” (would you believe that there was once a bill in Congress to place the Social Security trust fund in this category? Those crafty devils will try anything).
The same daily statement will, in Table IV—”Federal Tax Deposits,” also provide you with the amount of revenue received daily, to date for the month, and to date for the year. Unfortunately, this daily table doesn’t separate individual, corporate, and payroll taxes, but you can see the gross amount of revenue coming in.
Now, if George W. Bush has borrowed $638 billion in the last five quarters, that’s roughly two billion a day weekends included. The reason I speak in terms of quarters rather than months is that in January the new Secretary of the Treasury, John Snow, began scaling back on borrowing because of the approach to the debt limit.
Feeling the pinch, the last $40 billion or so of available borrowing was spread out over a seven week period until we hit the ceiling on February 20, 2003. Snow had staved off the inevitable as long as possible.
For the last 30 days, the government has been forced to live within its means, to not spend more than the money coming in. This is what would happen if we had a truly balanced budget and it’s the reason a debt limit was established in the first place.
Back in 1968, the debt ceiling was enacted into law as a futile attempt to accomplish balanced budgets, to force the government to live within its revenue. Politicians can always do the unpopular act of raising taxes, but they cannot borrow beyond the debt limit without another act of Congress raising the ceiling.
Several questions become extremely pertinent.
Could the federal government continue to live without borrowing? If we can do it for thirty days, could we do it for an entire fiscal year?
Is the federal government trying to extend this period of non-borrowing until April 15th in hopes of a windfall bonus from income taxes? They thought that last year only to find a serious shortfall in expected revenue due to a sour economy. Are things any better this year? Compared to last year, the figures so far say that the revenue picture is worse, not better. Did the fiscal 2003 budget just approved a month or so ago take this into account?
We know that at least part of the $638 billion borrowing went to making up for the shortfall last year. How much will they have to borrow again this year when the budget approved by both democrats and republicans seems to have been planned for a recovered economy?
How much of the $638 billion borrowing has so far gone to support George’s vendetta against Saddam Hussein? How much has it cost us to pull hundreds of thousands of young National Guardsmen out of the workforce and deploy billions in equipment to the Middle East?
How much of this borrowing madness can we lay at the feet of future generations?
“Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.”