Paul Jacob

Speaking of a Debt Star . . . er, Death Star, a year after the commander-in-chief made his since-broken promise, none other than Admiral Mike Mullen, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, plainly said, “Our national debt is our biggest national security threat.”

Not number two or three. Yet, Washington is content to fight a phony war.

The problem is that politicians don’t want to tackle this problem. It isn’t partisan bickering and obstruction that prevent sustainable economic policies. It is, instead, a bipartisan desire to keep the status quo.

After all, in the status quo they have status.

To raise taxes, except on politically vulnerable one- or two-percent segments of the population, would be to risk voter anger and electoral backlash. A tax hike would prove especially dangerous in a fragile economy, risking recession. This, in turn, can lead to voter backlash, which politicians find unhealthy. (Not even to mention that government is too big and bossy. It needs less money, not more.)

To cut spending even a little — as essayed by the relatively tiny sequestration cuts, which aimed to reduce the overall level of spending that somehow managed to still increase — proved unfathomable to both sides at the Washington trough.

Neither Democrats nor Republicans in the Congress — at least, as they are collectively led — nor the administration hunkered down the street, want to cut spending. Their spending equals their power . . . to the penny.

So, the federal government will continue to borrow more to spend more. It will do this even as the people running it admit they are flirting with disaster. Why? Because, far more than eventual national disaster, politicians fear their personal “disaster” if they don’t keep feeding the tiger they are riding.

We aren’t building a Death Star. We are building a Debt Star, which may prove just as deadly to our Republic.     [further reading]

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.