Explaining the Inexplicable
4) There is a sense in Mexico that the American Southwest still should belong to Mexico or at least to a vague sense of Latin America. So the separatist sense makes sense. What was lost in a long ago war can be regained by demography. Polls taken in Mexico reveal the absurdity: a majority of Mexican citizens believes both that southwestern America properly belongs to Mexico and that they would prefer to live there. One of two things is thus probable: people are nuts and would prefer to extend a failing culture that they are fleeing to a country that they would flee to; or, that the American Southwest was so rich that it was always Mexico’s golden province and that life is best to the north because it just always was: therefore an “Alta California” as a place always better than existing Mexico is not inconsistent with wishing it to resemble, or indeed belong to, Mexico.
I give up -- you decide. I just drove past the Selma Sunday swap meet and saw only Mexican flags blowing in the wind and nary an American one. I was perplexed.
When Debt Is No Debt
There are no major programs that the president wishes to cancel, but plenty of new ones he envisions. Given the scale of borrowing, and given the abject denial that there is a spending problem, what gives? Here are some possibilities.
1) The president really does believe that at some mythical date the capitalists and profit mongers have no choice but to get back to work and make tons of money, and that the resulting increased revenue will pay off the debt without cuts or hardship. Therefore, he genuinely thought in 2009 that the stimulus would lead to the summer of recovery. He believed that the first $4 trillion in debt would stimulate the economy, and so is surprised that we are still massively borrowing. Now Obama is in a quandary, in which we can’t cut spending in a recession, and cannot afford to run bigger deficits to jumpstart the economy. The old narcotic jolt no longer has a stimulatory effect on the fading addict. So do we just deny we are addicted to borrowing, shoot up with more printed money, and hope someone picks us out of the gutter of debt?
2) Low interest will continue. So as a percentage of the budget we have the wherewithal to pay the annual interest for years to come. Deficits for the foreseeable future are easily sustainable. What’s the problem? We are in the grip of deficit hysterics. After all, two trillion dollars were wiped out in stock losses and lost home equity during 2008, so why can’t we just print them back into existence? Ever wondered why we have near deflation while printing trillions of new dollars?
3) There is no crisis, at least for the next three years. Obama can still get a recovery from the massive Keynesian kickstarting, while the next president can deal with the disaster when the debt tab comes due. Maybe he too can blame Bush, as did Obama.
4) Deficits are essentially good: a) they guarantee more federal spending and thereby more federal entitlements and constituents; b) they are the best mechanisms for spreading the wealth through redistribution and eventually to demand higher taxes that will fall more heavily on the well-off; c) they will result in inflation, a good thing that erodes the power of accumulated wealth.
5) The president is more interested in golf, photo-ops, or picking the Final Four, and so he shrugs and thinks: "Debts, schmebts. Who cares?"