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OPINION

Regular Americans Understand Economics Better Than Politicians

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

One of the most disingenuous things that politicians assert to the common American is the idea that politics is too hard for them to comprehend and understand. That you, Joe and Jane Sixpack (soda, or your favorite libation), do not understand how the machinations of legislation work. Now, of course they do not tell you this when they are campaigning for your electoral patronage, but somehow after getting your vote, you become absolutely dumb . . . plain ignorant. It is truly condescending and offensive and actually flies in the face of those esteemed words from the Declaration of Independence, "consent of the governed." It is simply amazing and confounding when one is being told that you cannot grasp the complexities of government . . . Yet, you, the everyday American, are the one whose resources fund that operation. 

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Now we are in the middle of yet another episode of the very bad Kabuki theater known as the debt ceiling. Yes, the world is going to collapse, and America will go into default once again if the debt ceiling is not raised . . . so that the government can borrow more money.

Let's put this into perspective, especially since just a week ago I celebrated my 62nd birthday. The year that I was born, 1961, the debt of these United States was $289 billion. Fifty years later, when I was sworn into Congress in 2011, the debt was $14.7 trillion. It was $16.7 trillion when I departed Congress in 2013. For my 60th birthday in 2021, the US debt was $29.6 trillion. Today, the US debt is over $32 trillion.

The everyday American wishes that he or she could simply go to Mastercard, Visa, AMEX, Discover, or whomever, and just say, "hey, raise my debt ceiling." Wouldn't it be grand if you could say that and convey the excuse, “if you don't raise it, then I will default on my credit...but I never have to present a plan to pay down the debt I have incurred.” Or how about asking your bank to just let you borrow more money, again, but present no plan as to how you will pay off the debt owed? In the real world, such insidious fiscal mismanagement would result in your loss of personal assets . . . or certainly a visit from Moose and Rocco.

Or maybe, when you have poor fiscal management in your home, you can just go down to the basement and print your own money? I remember a song by the Athens, GA, band The B-52s called "Legal Tender:”

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We're in the basement
Learning to print, all of it's hot
10-20-30 million ready to be spent
We're stackin' 'em against the wall
Those gangster presidents
 
Livin' simple and trying to get by
But honey, prices have shot through the sky
So I fixed up the basement with what I was a-workin' with

Stocked it full of jelly jars and heavy equipment
We're in the basement
10-20-30 million dollars, ready to be spent

Yeah, sadly, only the government is allowed to print more money, and not worry about the consequences and ramifications. If you do the exact same thing, it is a felony. Doggone, ya see, we are just too dumb to understand that the government can do such things to cover their economic failures and it is not a felony.

How can it be that the government can engage in deficit spending? This means they can spend (expenditures/outlays) more money (revenue) than what they have. The common American tries that and they get stuff repossessed. Then again, the government can always borrow more money which they never pay back and request for the limit to borrow more money to be raised as they spend more money that they do not have. When did the government start to "invest" money? I like how that lexicon was introduced during the Obama administration. Government has no resources, no money, they tax Americans, in some cases selectively, and raise taxes. The government does not raise capital (money). As I have previously noted, French economist Frederic Bastiat called that legal plunder. Why can't the government sell off some buildings or do layoffs? Yes, layoffs such as we see happening now.

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Can anyone tell me where you find in the Constitution, our rule of law, the enumerated power of government to decide who and what businesses are essential, such as during COVID? The common American would tend to believe – since We the People pay for the operation of government by way of our taxes – we should be the ones to decide who and what is essential in government? Why do we allow the insane to run the economic asylum and, in turn, usurp more of our resources? To borrow a phrase from Joe Biden, “C'mon man,” shouldn't the American people decide if the government and/or members of Congress get a raise? After all, we are the ones paying for it. It would appear We the People should decide who and what is essential for the government. Spoiler alert: the Constitution kinda tells us that. 

Lastly, the same folks who are smarter than common Americans are the ones enacting policies that are affecting our food commodities and gas prices. Shouldn't We the People have a say in travel expenses, costs for conferences, and types of vehicles that the government purchases? Maybe the government should use more Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Steamyard and reduce their carbon footprint, which of course the common American pays for. Instead of the government telling us what to eat and what to drive, we should be recommending that to them, after all, it's our money. 

At the end of this missive, many of you may be laughing, but consider the principles. You have to budget your lives, balance your checkbook, and pay your bills. The government, who taxes you, does not. To the common American, well, that is just FUBAR, and the reason why in my 62 years we have gone from $289 billion to $32 trillion in debt . . . with no end in sight. 

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Steadfast and Loyal.


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