Well, When You Put It That Way
Mark Steyn may be the perfect columnist for his times, because one really needs a flair for humor of the absurd to comment appropriately on the absurdity of modern Western governance:
The estimated cost of the non-bill is just shy of half a trillion dollars. Gosh, it seems like only yesterday that Washington was in the grip of a white-knuckle, clenched-teeth showdown over whether a debt ceiling deal could be reached before the allegedly looming deadline. When the deal was triumphantly unveiled at the eleventh hour, it was revealed that our sober, prudent, fiscally responsible masters had gotten control of the runaway spending and had carved (according to the most optimistic analysis) a whole $7 billion of savings out of the 2012 budget. The president then airily breezes into Congress and in 20 minutes adds another $447 billion to the tab. That’s what meaningful course correction in Washington boils down to: seven billion steps forward, 447 billion steps back.
This $447 billion does not exist, and even foreigners don’t want to lend it to us. A majority of it will be “electronically created” by the Federal Reserve buying U.S. Treasury debt. Don’t worry, it’s not like “printing money”: we leave that to primitive basket-cases like Zimbabwe. This is more like one of those Nigerian email schemes, in which a prominent public official promises you a large sum of money in return for your bank account details. In the case of Ben Bernanke and Timothy Geithner, one prominent public official is promising to wire a large sum of money into the account of another prominent public official, which is a wrinkle even the Nigerians might have difficulty selling.
As Steyn points out, there is no bill to pass, yet, still:
… back on the campaign trail the chanting goes on, last week’s election results in Nevada and New York notwithstanding. America has the lowest employment since the early Eighties, the lowest property ownership since the mid-Sixties, the highest deficit-to-GDP ratio since the Second World War, the worst long-term unemployment since the Great Depression, the highest government dependency rate of all time, and the biggest debt mountain in the history of the planet.
It’s time we start learning, lest we prove ourselves crazy through repetition.