Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The ultimate bill-payers...

“I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they’ve already racked up through the laws that they passed.” ---Barak Obama

This was the President (Tuesday evening) committing to not engaging, come February, in another debt ceiling debate fiasco. Of course if the Republicans keep their promise to leverage the debt ceiling to force "deep spending cuts", Mr. Obama will have to engage.

The problem I have with the President's statement is the suggestion (taking him literally) that Congress would "pay the bills that they've already racked up". The ultimate bill-payers, of course, would not be Congress. Allow me to rephrase, and correct, his statement:

"I will not have another debate with this Congress over the whether or not future taxpayers should pay the bills Congress has already racked up through the laws they passed."

With future taxpayers in mind, read (emphasis on paragraphs 3 and 4) the following from my forthcoming daily devotional Leaving Liberty?:
DAY 6: Let’s Hope Our Grandkids Are the Forgiving Sort

Prudence, alas, is lost on tomorrow’s—and other people’s—money.

So the present administration throws a few billion at solar companies. They say we’re investing in the future: the future of the energy industry, future jobs, and the future of this planet. Therefore—given high unemployment, rising oil prices, and melting ice caps—it’s worth every dollar “we” can throw at it.

Breaking news! As I type this in April of 2012, First Solar, the nation’s largest and heavily government-subsidized solar company, just announced that it will cut its workforce by 30 percent to align its operations more closely with current opportunities. Its stock is up 6 percent to $22.05 per share as I type. Incidentally, it traded north of $120 just a year ago—but hey, we’re thinking long-term.

Now you and I know that all government spending is taxpayer funded—so, being that we are a long way from running a surplus, why haven’t these “investments” required an immediate increase in our income taxes? Well, as a practical matter, had the powers-that-promote-green-power forced a tax hike to fund these grand “investments,” we voters would be none too friendly come this November. So then, alas, they borrow. For they know that us consumers will allow the worst sort of chicanery when we’re given thirty years to pay for it (let’s hope our grandkids are the forgiving sort).

That’s why the costs of proposed schemes are forever fed to us in ten-year servings: “The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the cost of XYZ over the next ten years will be $X,” or “Over the next ten years the deficit will be reduced by $X if we raise taxes on people who earn above $Y.” Sound familiar? Prudence, alas, is lost on tomorrow’s—and other people’s—money.

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