Saturday, August 6, 2011

You Don't Have To Pay Your Bills ...

     … if you are the United States of America. At least that's some many members of Congress seem to think. That's what the recent Debt Ceiling debacle was all about.
     The U.S. does not borrow money to pay current expenses – it borrows money to pay items for which it is already obligated. If Congress wants to cut expenses, it should do so by curtailing spending through the budget process - not by refusing to pay bond-holders, government contractors and Social Security recipients, any more than an individual should just refuse to pay his mortgage or utilities.
     The standoff was not a matter of the two sides being unable to reach an agreement; the idea that there was a disagreement was invalid from the start. It was similar to the case of a firefighter who lights fires because he likes to extinguish them.
     Columnist Donald Kaul has come up with a good analogy:

     The commentators who say that the two sides were for so long "unable to come to an agreement" are laughable.
     It's as though your unpleasant neighbor has come to your door and said: "Give me your dog."
     "No," you say. "I like my dog."
     "If you don't give me your dog I will shoot him," the neighbor says.
     "You can't do that. It would be wrong," you say.
     At which point the neighbor shoots your dog. You take him to court to seek justice and the judge says, "It seems to me your dog is dead because you two couldn't reach an agreement."

      What is this Debt Ceiling? In 1917, as the U.S. entered World War I, Congress authorized the Treasury to issue long-term bonds to finance the war, but in order to convince the public that our representatives were keeping an eye on things, they placed a limit on the amount of debt that the government could issue. It has been routinely raised many times since then.
     The question is: What good is it? What does it accomplish? And the answer is: Nothing. Why bother. If you create the obligation, pay it. If you don't want to pay it, don't make the obligation. It may be that too much is being spent, but you need to curtail the expenses – not abandon the obligation to pay them. Control them through the budget – not through an artificial limit.
     That appears to be pretty simple, but our representatives don't seem to understand it.
     Unfortunately there are many more horses' asses than there are horses, but why do we keep electing them?
     In some languages the subject of a sentence is indicated by its ending. If words are written out of their normal sequence, the reader can still make sense of the sentence. For example, in such a language, if I write “man bites dog” when I really mean to write “dog bites man,” the reader still understands what I mean to say because the ending of “dog” indicates that it is the subject, not the object, of the sentence.
     Distortion of Construction – There Are Only Seven Jokes

      “There Are Only Seven Jokes” and “The Spirit Runs Through It” are available in paperback, or at the Kindle Store.

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