The most pivotal, life-altering vote in generations is about to be cast by the ruling class, our representatives in government. I will determine for the next decade, or longer, whether we face only hardship or calamity. The media is giving it play, although it’s arguable whether it has the intensity of exposure it deserves, and I’m unsure to what extent the grass-roots citizenry is aware of its importance. It harkens back to our values and moral fiber. This vote is whether to extend the federal debt limit.

On the one hand, we’re being told that failure to do so with downgrade our bond credit rating and lead to financial holocaust. Moody’s, the preeminent debt-rating company, has already threatened with a reduction of our triple-A rating should the vote to increase the limit fail. On the other hand, at least one commentator has remarked that this is precisely the opposite of the way this should work; i.e., if we raise the limit without spending cuts we should be downgraded. I’m inclined to agree with the latter assessment.

It seems psychotic to me to keep heading down the road we’ve been traveling. It’s closely aligned to the behavior of junkies who, knowing that they’re slowly killing themselves, nevertheless can’t resist that next dance with the needle. Out leaders, and by extension we, are addicted to spending. It should be self-evident that any increase in the debt ceiling must be accompanied by at least an equivalent, mandatory reduction in spending, and to truly heal, even more severe cuts.

There are those in the legislature that are displaying backbone and demanding this. To implement it, reductions in Social Security and Medicare benefits will undoubtedly follow. It’s a brave and necessary thing these individuals are doing, knowingly putting their head on the political chopping block. The response on the left has been, predictably, fear-mongering, pronouncements that the programs will be gutted. If the recipients of this largesse, you and I, fall for this, we will continue with the status quo. Since we can’t thwart the forces of nature and economics and the system is bankrupt, it will fail. And something new and more austere will emerge anyway. It’s just a question of whether we’re willing to swallow a small, bitter pill now or gag on a large one down the line.

It’s nice to have choice.


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