The National Debt: Apocalypse Now
by John Derbyshire
“The car has already hit the tree and the bumper is already in the process of buckling inward, so there is no time to turn the wheel or fasten seat belts. It is too late to do anything but scream.”
Thus writes Vox Day in his recent book The Return of the Great Depression. Are things really that bad? And going to get that much worse?
I’m betting that they are. That’s a novice bet, as I am not a trained economist. I base it on a complete lack of seriousness among our political classes. It is obvious that our governments, at all levels, are spending far too much; yet there is little evidence of anyone being willing to do anything about it.
Item: New York state legislature, after years of chronic financial crisis caused by overspending, has just approved another budget bloated with spending increases. This was in the teeth of opposition from Governor Paterson, who has sworn to veto every single slice of pork in the budget. (There seem to be around 6,900 of them.) The Governor is a Democrat, and Democrats dominate the legislature.
Item: The U.S. Department of Labor has a new program called We Can Help. In a promotional video on the department’s website our current Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, assures us that “every worker in America has a right to be paid fairly, whether documented or not.” Her department will hire 250 new field investigators to make sure that standards are enforced.
Item: Pat Quinn, the Governor of Illinois, is boasting of having confronted his state’s problem of unfunded pension liabilities. (Which is also, of course, the problem of many other states.) The retirement age for state employees has been raised to 67, and the salary used to compute pensions has been capped at $106,800 a year, indexed for inflation. However, says the New York Times, “Nearly all of the cuts so far apply only to workers not yet hired.” So for the tens of thousands of workers currently on Illinois payrolls, it’s “Party on, dudes!”