Kevin Williamson is a conservative columnist that I trust. I base my trust on the fact that when he swings his scythe through the political weeds, he is indiscriminate. Both bad Republican and bad Democrat ideas fall by the wayside–or would if he actually had any power. In National Review today, he cuts into the fiscal cliff debate, revealing it for what it is–a charade.
Chew on this quote from his article for a moment:
The fundamental unseriousness of the fiscal-cliff debate can be appreciated by examining [Senator Bob] Corker’s (R-Tenn.) plan . . ., which probably is very close to the best that deficit hawks could hope for in terms of a bipartisan compromise — which is to say, precious little. At best, the Corker plan would reduce the growth of U.S. federal debt by about $4.5 trillion over the next decade, but it would not eliminate the deficit or reduce the debt, and it would allow for trillions of dollars to be added to the wrong side of the national ledger. (emphasis supplied)
To repeat, just in case you didn’t grasp Williamson’s point: Corker’s plan would only reduce the growth in Federal spending over 10 years. It does not actually reduce the debt, which will continue to grow and grow and grow and so on. In other words, under Corker’s plan–and he’s a Republican, mind you; a so-called deficit hawk–10 years from now our national debt would be much larger than it is today–“trillions of [new] dollars” on the “wrong side of the national ledger,” Williamson writes–just not as large as it would be without Corker’s plan.
Some wise people argue for more spending in times like these to keep the economy moving along. When they do, they generally talk about raising taxes and spending the new revenue on our infrastructure. I’m conflicted on this subject. I see the need and I’d like to contribute, but the apparent unseriousness of the people who would actually be collecting and spending the dollars brings to mind a drunk teenager asking his parents for the keys to the family car.
And so the game continues. Somewhere, Nero is stringing his violin.