Christopher DeMuth has a good line in the current issue of National Review:

I am in the camp of the deficit hawks such as Feldstein and Kotlikoff, but I do not think the reason we are failing to address the problem is that some other smart and influential people are deficit doves.  Rather, I think that our political institutions and political leaders have accommodated themselves to deficit spending and growing debt and acquired a stake in their continuance.  Disagreements over the consequences and immediacy of the problem are always resolved in favor of borrowing more to address the problems of the moment and deferring “debt consolidation” (through some combination of higher taxes, lower spending, and higher economic growth) to a later time.  The American body politic has acquired deficit-attention disorder.

(Full article is available here.  If you don’t subscribe, you should, but if not, you can read NR articles à la carte on demand for 25¢ each.)

Mark Steyn, as usual, is must-read material:

And when America slides off the cliff it lands with a much bigger thud than Greece or Iceland. I’m not certain that the Republicans will be able to prevent that happening. But I know that the Democrats can’t. America owes more money than anybody has ever owed anyone in the history of the planet. But millions of Americans don’t see it, and millions of those who do see it don’t see it as a problem.

. . . Sexual liberty, even as every other liberty withers, is all that matters: A middle-school girl is free to get an abortion without parental consent, but if she puts a lemonade stand on her lawn she’ll be fined. What a bleak and reductive concept of “personal freedom.”

Well, it finally happened:  Standard & Poor’s, one of the big three credit-rating agencies in the United States, has downgraded the United States’ credit rating.  Specifically, S&P downgraded the federal government from AAA to AA+.  “The outlook on the long-term rating” is also “negative”, meaning that S&P may lower our rating again “within the next two years” if we don’t shape up and get the national debt under control.  Read the rest of this entry »

Appearing in three Fourth of July parades in Iowa last week, Rick Santorum said, “What we need is an Independence Day candidate that believes in the independence of the American people, not its dependence on government and government programs.”

I think Rick Santorum may be that candidate.  Any number of the current contenders might make an excellent president, but as Santorum points out, he already has a record of doing the work that needed to be done, even when it was unpopular—even when it cost him his senate seat.  We could do with more principled politicians like him.  Read the rest of this entry »

The National Debt

April 19, 2011

Paul Ryan vs. the status quoA credit-rating agency warned yesterday that the United States may not be able to make good on its debt.  The agency said the odds are one in three that the United States will lose its AAA rating in the next two years, which would make it harder for the United States to borrow money, at higher interest, triggering a catastrophic debt spiral.  NRO’s Kevin Williamson gives some good background and explanation, while NRO editor Kathryn Jean Lopez points out that if you read National Review, you would have seen this coming.

Read the rest of this entry »

A writer at National Review Online has more on America’s looming debt crisis, and a warning that Washington politicians may have to choose between balanced budgets in the near term and the structural reforms needed to make America solvent in the long term.  Normally, I wouldn’t bet on politicians’ choosing the common good in the future over what makes them look good in the present, but America isn’t dead yet; so here’s hoping.

Just after arguing with a reader about the national debt, I find myself reading a good piece by Mark Steyn (redundant? “a piece by Mark Steyn”?), which includes this excellent and topical paragraph:

[Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid] and too many other Americans seem to be living their version of the old line: If you owe the bank a thousand dollars, you have a problem; if you owe the bank a million dollars, the bank has a problem. America owes the world $14 trillion, so the world has a problem.

Getting Serious

February 25, 2011

Charles Krauthammer has a good column today about America’s debt crisis, and hope for the future.

We have heard everyone — from Obama’s own debt commission to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — call the looming debt a mortal threat to the nation. . . . We can see the future. The only question has been: When will the country finally rouse itself?

Amazingly, the answer is now.

I know, I’m amazed, too!