Our southern friends are living the American dream these days, a dream that’s removing them from reality. Their federal legislators, including the President, are imagining a brilliant future that cannot be. None of them, it would appear, wants to awaken Americans from this dream.
The dream? Economic recovery followed by the return of prosperity, built on borrowed money. And not just some borrowed money, but trillions and trillions of borrowed money.
In this scenario, the rest of the world will keep lending to the United States, borrowing costs won’t rise, inflation will be banished, and the punishment that would befall almost any other country that ran such a lopsided budget will not strike the U.S.
Like all dreams, this one has lost touch with reality. In Washington, legislators seem to accept that amassing trillions of dollars of additional debt is a bad idea. Then they argue furiously about a mere 12 per cent of the budget that, even if half of it were to be eliminated, would still leave the government in a deficit position this year.
The discretionary part of the budget contains programs people count on, everything from education to the environment, food inspections to basic research, farm aid and student assistance. The other parts of the budget are debt, the military and the so-called entitlement social programs of health care for the poor and seniors and social security.