"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

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mark Steyn Does Not Think the Glass is Half Full... Not Hardly

No, that's not Mark Steyn, but this puppy/angry bear captures the sentiment.

Remember the budget deal in August that was supposed to move us onto a path toward fiscal sanity?   Mark Steyn remembers, and he's less happy than the hound:

I am officially the voice of pessimism. In fairness, I see myself as more of a the-glass-is-one-sixteenth-full type.... The prevailing bounds of American politics do not allow for meaningful course correction. Instead:

1) Months are expended in a dramatic media showdown over the debt crisis with network anchors warning of ever more looming deadlines over footage of various eminences shuttling between the White House and the Capitol.

2) At the last minute, a deal is triumphantly announced.

3) The deal allegedly saves $1 billion from FY2012 — or approximately what the Government of the United States borrows every five hours. So in less time than it takes to run the press release for the breakthrough deal off the photocopier, we’ve borrowed back all the money it saves. But hey, it’s a start. And it’s the thought that counts.

4) Months later, the actual bill goes through, and — whaddayaknow? — the cheeseparing austerity package of spending cuts turns out actually to increase spending by $10 billion.

5) Lather, rinse and repeat.

... In 2011, the United States government took in $2.17 trillion but blew through $3.82 trillion — and that’s before Entitlement Armageddon shows up down the road. If you’re spending $4 trillion but only raising $2 trillion, you need to be cutting government in half or you’re not serious. Washington is not serious. Indeed, it’s far more frivolous than Athens.

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