Which brings us to another aspect of government that Obama apparently finds a frightful bore: budgets. In free societies, the executive is subject to the creative tensions of popular restraint, legislative restraint, judicial restraint, and fiscal restraint. All these the president has artfully sidestepped. In the last three years, the United States has ceased to have any meaningful budgeting at the national level, with the consequence that Washington piles on roughly a trillion dollars of new debt every seven or eight months. This week, before the fawning toadies at the Associated Press luncheon, Obama attacked Congressman Paul Ryan’s plan to prevent America plunging into the debt abyss and at least keep its fingernails clawing at the clumps on the cliff edge for a couple more decades. Don’t believe him, sneered the president. “Hundreds of national parks” will close. Parts of the country will see “complete elimination of air-traffic control.” We will be unable to “combat violent crime.” Two million mothers and young children will wind up without “access to healthy food.” Anything else? You bet. The Ryan plan will doom everything everywhere — “the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food that we eat.”
“This is not conjecture,” said the president. “These are facts.”
Speaking of facts, in the last year the federal government has added the equivalent of the GDP of Canada in new debt. Who’s buying it? The Chinese? Not so much. They’ve got pretty much all the Washington IOUs they need. Sixty-one percent of debt issued by the Treasury is bought by the Federal Reserve — which is to say the left hand of the U.S. government is lending money to the right hand of the U.S. government. That’s one reason the dollar is in steep decline against every major currency. Indeed, had it not been for the French and Germans et al. inaugurating the new century by inventing a currency for an artificial jurisdiction with even less connection to economic reality (the European Union), it’s likely that the markets would have yanked the rug out from under the dollar by now.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
'Our Contemptuous President'
Some Saturday Steyn,for your reading pleasure: