Am I the only one upset about this? Earlier this week, as I suffered through the pages of the Washington Post – a daily ritual about as delightful as scraping calluses off one’s feet – I came across a seemingly innocent item tucked into a section they call Digest. Since I bravely attempt to read the Post while I eat breakfast, these few paragraphs certainly were not aiding my digestion.
The story entitled “Offshore Drilling Fees Financing Land Deals” summed up succinctly what is wrong with our nation, indeed with Western civilization. The narrative centered on how the U. S. Department of Agriculture was happily spending the funds generated by off-shore oil drilling fees to finance the purchase of new national forest land in 15 states. Particularly lauded was the purchase of the Fleming family ranch, after 100 years of private ownership. It seems that each year, our federal government continues its imitation of the ancient Pacman video game, gobbling up parcels of privately owned land. The USDA and a host of other departments participating in the massive federalization project add thousands of acres a year to the federal land register.
At a time when the federal debt is approaching $16 trillion dollars, shouldn’t our government be looking to sell assets to pay off the funds it owes? Can you imagine if you owed money to your bank far in excess of your capacity to pay, yet you owned choice real estate and other valuable property? Would your banker let you continue to borrow funds? Would they sit by happily while you used the proceeds of the sale of some of your assets to buy more baubles? Of course not! They would demand you start paying down your debt. At a minimum, they would freeze your ability to sink further into debt. But, not our federal government. Oh no, they don’t operate like the rest of us.
We have very few good choices when it comes to solving our financial crisis. One option is to raise taxes. That is the favorite nostrum of those who want to grab something they didn’t earn. Yes, there are some guilt-ridden nabobs who constantly bleat that their taxes are not high enough, but they are in a distinct minority. Most of the tax-grabbers are takers, not producers.
Generally, liberals love the Robin Hood fantasy, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. They convince themselves that all those who have succeeded in life are somehow dishonest or evil – and that all those who are poor are noble and unfairly impeded. But that’s not how life on this planet works. Sure, there are some who profit through illegal or immoral means, and there are among our poor those who have had absolutely no fair opportunity to climb out of penury, but they both are in the distinct minority. Most of the wealth in this nation has been accumulated through honest and hard work. Confiscating it would be economic suicide, as millions would be thrust into destitution with the loss of their jobs and opportunities. Even were we to expropriate 100 percent of the earnings of the wealthy, we still wouldn’t cover the deficit our leaders in Washington create for us each year. No, raising taxes won’t work.
The second solution to our debt problem is one only Washington could conjure: more debt. Perhaps our trusted leaders are craftier than we think. As we pile up new debt by the hour, our officials seek new ways to sell our bonds, new financiers willing to buy our paper. Enter China. It has become lugubrious humor on Capitol Hill to note that our annual bond payments are financing the Chinese armed forces. Perhaps our plan for strategic conquest in the 21st century is to default on payments due to the People’s Liberation Army. What will Corporal Ying do without his weekly stipend of slave wages? Perhaps our clever financial geniuses will lead us to find out in the not too distant future.
Another approach to our debt crisis might be monetization. That’s the fancy way to say printing funny money. In what would be a massively multiplayer version of Catch Me If You Can, the federal government could print up enough money to pay down the debt. Simple, no? The only problem is that very soon in this process the value of our dollar would rival that of the old Weimar Republic Deutschmark. It’s a good thing we can use our iPhones to pay the bills, since otherwise, we’d all need huge wheelbarrows to cart our worthless cash around. Even though it would be a huge win for the Qingdao Huatian Hand Truck company, and the scores of other Chinese wheelbarrow makers, the rest of us would have more foot calluses to scrape.
The solution which no one in our government will contemplate is the one which every one of us not in the government would choose first: stop spending our money and start selling assets to get the debt paid. The federal government is sitting on trillions of dollars of assets, frozen by the same knuckleheads responsible for the profligate spending that saddled us with this outrageous debt. If America ever woke from its mass media and entertainment industry-induced stupor, they would run the liberals responsible for our debt out of town on a rail – and that rail would have room for both Democrats and Republicans.
Instead, the American sheeple continue to somnambulate their way into the abyss of fiscal doom. They sit by watching Tom Vilsack, Obama’s secretary of agriculture, buy more of our land with the money that should be applied to paying our debt.
It is pure insanity, but these days insanity is in such ample supply that we might need a wheelbarrow to cart it about.