Spend Like Tomorrow Is Just Another Day
Don’t bother to apply! Tens of millions of Americans will never be able to work for government. If they did what Darrell Issa did, that is.
Issa is a former congressguy. He was nominated for a federal trade post. The post requires the Senate to approve. Senator Menendez has just tried to derail the appointment. Because Issa obtained a fake ID when he was 17. It would be sweet if he used the ID to vote. Instead, he used it to get into bars.
If Menendez succeeds I guestimate that half of all Americans would be disqualified. My guessing may be biased. Because I live in a college town. It seems to me that colleges won’t let kids register for classes until they have lined up fake IDs. (Just kidding. Just kidding.) The prevailing attitude is: Why go to college if you can’t drink?
Issa says he has other options. If the Senate blocks his appointment he threatens to run again for the House. If he rejoins the House he will face again our gigundus debt. And unbalanced budgets for decades to come.
Let us consider that over-spending. Do you imagine Congress might ever, ever, spend less than what comes in? What are you smoking? You must also imagine that all student drinking is legal.
Congress and students behave the way they do for the same reason: They can. I will come back to that thought.
Congress behaves as did a couple who asked me to play Dutch Uncle for them. (I was a financial advisor.) They were spendthrifts. They had declared bankruptcy twice. They were about to declare again.
Their last bankruptcy judge absolutely prohibited them from using credit cards. But they were now using credit cards. Under the name of the man’s brother. Behaving like students with fake IDs. They were addicted to spending. Like guys we elect to Congress.
I asked whether their income had gone up over the years. Yes, it had. Many times. But every time they got raises, they upped their spending. It was as if they had a simple budget process. They calculated what their income would be. They then laid out plans to spend more than the income.
This sounds like our dear Congress, doesn’t it? Let us make that stronger. This IS our Congress!
Congress recently got a raise, so to speak. Revenues streaming into Washington rose 3.4 percent. That should spark a celebration.
Hey, we voted in a tax cut. Like most tax cuts it revved up the economy. The revved-up economy generated more revenue. Even in the short-term, it did. Even evil corporations paid 5 percent more than last year. In 11 months Washington took in $102 billion more than it did the previous 11 months. Remarkable. Let us break out the bubbly.
Congress did. And the bubbly went to their heads. Congressguys increased spending by 6.4 percent. Yes, they saw $102 billion more come in. They spent all that $102 billion. And another $169 billion. This is like the bankrupt couple celebrating their $10,000 raise. By booking a $25,000 vacation.
(I drew the Washington figures from John Merline’s article in Issues & Insights, a terrific online editorial page.)
To be fair, much of the spending increase came from our big entitlement programs. Like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. But to be fair, Congress is too cowardly to rein in or reform such programs.
And to be further fair, they ramped up their defense spending by 7.9 percent. And they juiced up all their other spending by 4.5 percent.
The truth is that Congress is a spendthrift. No different than the bankrupt couple I advised.
Why won’t our politicians curtail spending? Why do they celebrate pay raises by blowing the raises and a helluva lot more?
Simple. They overspend because they can. No one holds them to account. And…they can always squeeze more out of us. With a few new taxes.
This is sooooo easy for them to do. Are you going to notice if they raise the tax on gasoline by five cents? Nah.
But Tom, the deficit is massive. And the debt they have piled up is mountainous. Where could Congress possibly find such immense amounts? Surely these figures must give politicians nightmares?
Right. Politicians never suffer nightmares. They experience pleasant dreams. Such as a tax on internet traffic. Such as carbon taxes. Those two alone would swamp Washington with new revenue.
Why there would be so much new money coming into Washington the politicians could hardly find ways to spend it all.
On the other hand…that really is a dream. As well as a nightmare.
From Tom…as in Morgan.
Find Tom on Facebook. You can write to Tom at email@example.com.