The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


It appears that certain rather important topics are virtually off-limits at the democratic national convention. As I mentioned in yesterday's post, there has been no mention of Islamic terrorism—none. That may be because any mention reminds the viewing audience just how feckless the Democrats have been in their approach to "violent extremism" over the past eight years.

But another topic also goes unmentioned—the national debt, now approaching $19.4 trillion dollars. Actually, establishing the debt as a forbidden topic is completely understandable, given that the Dems are suggesting a laundry list of wildly expensive new entitlements with no plausible way to pay for them except their old standby—tax the "rich." Since the "rich" are very good at avoiding taxes and their candidate, Hillary Clinton is in their pocket (both literally and figuratively), the taxes the Dems talk about will trickle down to the middle class, will strangle what little economic growth we have experienced in the past eight years, will costs jobs, and will otherwise send us into yet another recession.

Paul Suderman discusses this when he writes about progressive darling Elizabeth Warren and her convention speech, a presentation that expanded upon Bernie Sanders list of new entitlements and giveaways:
Warren's speech ... showed that Democrats have become the party of really bad economic policy ideas. The party has essentially committed to almost totally ignoring federal debt in favor of promoting an ever-expanding laundry list of benefits, programs, and subsidies, consequences be damned.

Warren didn't mention national debt or deficits at all in her speech last night. That seems frustratingly normal now, because over the past few years, Democrats have heavily downplayed the issue.

This wasn't always the case. Just a few years ago, the budgetary burden of high debt and deficits was a regular Democratic talking point. President Obama's 2008 speech accepting the party's nomination for president, for example, attacked rival John McCain for refusing to back down from Iraq while America is "wallowing in deficits."

The common response from the left these days is that they worry less about the budget because the deficit is down. It's true that annual deficits have fallen from their $1 trillion-plus peaks during Obama's first term. But the deficit—the nation's annual gap between spending and tax revenue—is on the rise again, heading towards about $600 billion this year after a couple years below $500-billion.

That's not a one-time glitch, either: As the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has been warning for a while, deficits are likely to continue to grow for the foreseeable future.

And that brings us to the real problem: the ever-growing federal debt. Interest payments on federal debt are on track to become the nation's third largest spending category. The CBO has warned repeatedly that this level of debt constrains our policy options in both the short and the long term. And while interest rates may be conveniently low for the moment, making debt service relatively pain free, the nation's current budgetary trajectory is ultimately unsustainable. Something will have to give.
Eventually, something will have to give, but at the moment, the Dems are perfectly willing to act irresponsibly by ignoring the continually rising annual cost of our debt service. Their solution is to tax more (inflicting harm on economic growth) and borrow more (increasing the debt itself).

In a way, the Dems have become a lot like addicts, struggling to come up with another spending scheme to mollify or entice a special interest group, while disregarding the costs associated with that scheme or the added debt it produces. There will come a time of reckoning, but the Dems simply prefer to live in their fantasy word and hope it doesn't arrive on their watch.