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Friday, August 12, 2005

Belay that order!

It's a great line from Star Trek: TNG.

Strange aliens have taken the real Captain Picard hostage, and replaced him with a facsimile. They want to know how far the rest of the crew can be pushed before the inevitable mutiny, so Picard starts giving silly commands. "Take us closer to that star, Mr. Crusher" he orders, even as the computer blares that destruction of the Enterprise from solar radiation is imminent. At the last possible moment, before they incinerate themselves, the First Officer barks out: "Belay that order!"

Watching President Bush and the Congress empty the country's wallet is like a re-run of that Star Trek episode, only this time there's no sane First Officer to head off disaster. When it comes to spending, not only has the Captain gone crazy; all the officers on the bridge seem to have lost their senses. Federal fiscal policy is a mess, the most recent evidence being the pork-laden $ 286 billion highway bill that Bush signed into law on Wednesday. Meanwhile, alarms continue to sound, as groups like the Economic Policy Institute warn that within 10 years, the entire federal budget will be taken up for defense and costly entitlements.

Predictably, as the treasury runs dry, the Feds will cost-shift to the state level, mandating programs that state governments can ill afford. Meanwhile, the silence on the Left and Right is eloquent, as neither DailyKos nor NRO give the story even a front-page mention. Guess impending fiscal meltdown just isn't newsworthy anymore.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.


At 9:10 PM, Anonymous Justin Delabar said...

I believe Dems are re-thinking their stance on deficits. Sure, they're still against them, but I've picked up a strain of "maybe they're not so bad" thought recently with left-leaning mags warning of the costs of pushing the deficit problem to win elections. That may partially be because it'd be difficult to run up surplusses in the post-9/11 age, but it also may be centered in Reaganomic thinking that Cheney was so criticized for a couple years back. Regardless, I don't think Dems have as stable a stance on deficit spending as they used to, so it's why they've stopped pushing it in the political realm as hard as they once did (Reid's classic "child tax" phrase hasn't been uttered since the State of the Union.)

Also, there's a bunch of other stuff going taking attention away from the issue, specifically the Iraq trainwreck and the Roberts confirmation.

At 7:08 PM, Blogger Double Birdie said...

Sounds like a lot of excuses to me, Justin. But everyone on both sides of the aisle has them. Sometimes I wonder if there isn't a fundamental conflict of interest between the "bring home the bacon" policies that gets Reps and Senators re-elected, and sound fiscal policy for the nation.

Thanks for the comments.

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