"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Monday, September 26, 2011

Madness! Madness!

There's a scene in the great Italian movie we just saw over the weekend, The First Beautiful Thing, where, for some reason, the movie The Bridge on the River Kwai is playing on the TV in the background.   It's the scene where Alec Guiness, who plays the British colonel who has built the bridge for the Japanese in a misguided attempt to buck up his troops' morale, realizes that he's committed treason, and mutters "what have I done?" before falling, shot dead, across a plunger that blows up the bridge.   On the hill above, the camp's doctor says the film's final line, "Madness!  Madness!" 

Anyway, I thought about that scene when I read this paragraph from Mark Steyn's latest doomsaying:

The Obama administration has just released a document called “Living Within Our Means and Investing in the Future: The President’s Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction.” If you’re curious about the first part of the title — “Living Within Our Means” — Veronique de Rugy pointed out at National Review that under this plan debt held by the public will grow from just over $10 trillion to $17.7 trillion by 2021. In other words, the president’s definition of “Living Within Our Means” is to burn through the equivalent of the entire German, French, and British economies in new debt between now and the end of the decade. You can try this yourself next time your bank manager politely suggests you should try “living within your means”: Tell him you’ve got an ingenious plan to get your spending under control by near doubling your present debt in the course of a mere decade. He’s sure to be impressed.

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