I hear a lot of political speak and I listen to many different voices in political theatre. It’s quite interesting to hear the same words come out of different mouths to mean different things. So much of what is said by these political pundits, politicians and legitimate news anchors goes in one ear and out the other, they say so much of the same thing all the time. But there has been one particular piece of political grandstanding on both sides of the isle recently which makes me take pause.
Before I begin, I have to admit, I listen to a lot of talk radio. This is the type of thing, Rush, Hannity, Beck, Levin, that brings out one particular side of the coin. However I also take occasion to check in on guys like Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann (just so I’m sure I’m hearing the other side.) It’s interesting because all those radio guys have been talking for weeks and weeks about this upcoming mid-term election and how D’s are basically down for the count. Finished! They’re going to lose 50 seats in the House! It’s over! And I hear them citing numbers from recognized polls with what I have to believe are the truth, why else would they cite them? But then, in the same breath, I turned on Olbermann tonight and he was citing the exact same polls, but different numbers from the same polls saying that the elections a dead heat, a statistical tie! Just so we’re clear, I think both major parties are skuzzy liars.
But both sides have been using this catch-phrase which I am just totally fascinated by when talking about why they should be elected.
“For our kids and grandkids.”
I am almost of age to run for elected office, so I guess I would fall squarely in the middle of that ‘kids for younger politicians’ and ‘grandkids for older politicians’ category. So I guess these pols are talking about me, my generation and younger. I think it’s great that grandpa politician cares about little old me: “We’ve got to trim the deficit by spending this money so our kids and grandkids aren’t saddled with debt.” I’ve heard the phrase You’ve got to spend money to make money, how about this one though: You’ve got to make money to spend money! Right, so that’s what the other guys say. “Fiscal responsibility, rein in spending and keep the Bush tax cuts so that our kids and grandkids aren’t saddled with this debt.”
I’ve got a remedial understanding of economics but I get it that tax cuts and the deficit don’t have anything to do with each other. Deficits are from when you borrow and spend, tax cuts are less money that goes to the Treasury. Less money to the Treasury is probably bad but just because less money’s coming to the Treasury doesn’t mean that the government should be borrowing money we don’t have.
So there’s that line again, “So our kids and grandkids aren’t saddled with debt.” I have a question for these genius politicians. What makes you think your kids and grandkids are going to do things any differently than you are? What could happen and maybe what should happen before it metastasizes and becomes an even more untenable problem is that everyone should suck it up and we should pay this debt off and stop borrowing. Yeah no one is going to like it and no one who starts it will be very popular but if this doesn’t happen, we all should be afraid for what could happen.
What could happen is that one day China or Saudi Arabia or whoever else keeps buying our debt could just stop and say “no more borrowing, pay the house.” And then we have to make it right or we become a feudal fiefs for the Chinese. We do their bidding. And no wants to be a government slave, right? Not you, not me, not your kids or your grandkids.