From Pat Buchanan’s colum “Pitching for America.” We are lurching into crisis.
Congress this year will spend $1.6 trillion more than it collects in revenue, with the largest outlays in that FY 2010 budget for defense at $719 billion and Social Security at $721 billion.
Thus, if the U.S. Government on Oct. 1, 2008, had shut down the Pentagon and furloughed every soldier and civilian here and around the world, and announced that it would not send out a Social Security check for a full year to any of the 50 million retired and elderly, we would still be $160 billion short of balancing the budget. If you zeroed out federal benefits to veterans for a full year, that, added in, would bring us close.
Such is the magnitude of the fiscal crisis facing the country.
To balance the budget this year would require a 43 percent across-the-board cut in every category of federal spending — defense, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Homeland Security, highways, etc. — or, if one used taxes alone, a 72-percent increase in federal tax revenues.
Budget cuts of that magnitude are impossible. They would cause a revolution. And any attempt at tax hikes of that magnitude would drain off all available consumer capital and hurl the economy into another Depression.
For the foreseeable future, then, this nation is going deeper into debt
And when Harry Reid and colleagues wave through yet another $10 billion for unemployment checks and making sure farm folks get yard dishes to see reruns of “The Sopranos,” the United States must go to Beijing, Tokyo or Riyadh and borrow the money.
That is the hole we are in.
And when one stares at some of those budget numbers, the priorities of the Obama administration seem almost surreal.
In George W. Bush’s last full year in office, we spent $29 billion for “international affairs.” The lion’s share of that was foreign aid. In FY 2011, the year for which Congress has begun to budget, spending for international affairs and foreign aid is to jump to $54 billion and continue to surge through the Obama years.
What is the rationale for the United States, the world’s greatest debtor nation, putting itself deeper in debt to China to send foreign aid to nations that will never repay us and that vote habitually with China and against us in the United Nations?
This city does not seem to grasp that the days of wine and roses are over. We are not in the 1950s or 1960s anymore. Then, we could throw open our markets to imports from the world. Then, we could dish out foreign aid and fight wars in Vietnam with 500,000 men, while maintaining 50,000 troops in Korea and 300,000 in Europe.
America is headed for a time when, like the British Empire, she is going to have to make painful choices, or have them forced upon us.