No More Washington Tricks

No More Washington Tricks

By Tony Blankley - July 20, 2011

In Atlanta, the teachers cheat on exams so the students don't have to. It doesn't raise the knowledge level of our children, but it gets the school system past the next exam -- even as the system continues its death spiral. We will know the spiral has reached its terminal station when there is full unionized teacher employment and complete student illiteracy.

Now, in this same spirit of treating the symptoms at the price of the patient soon dying, Moody's credit rating agency, according to Reuters, has proposed that the United States "eliminate its statutory limit on government debt to reduce uncertainty among bond holders."

It's true. Eliminating the legal requirement that limits debt issuance would assure (for a while) the continued issuance of debt -- a classic example of winning the battle and losing the war.

Moody's helpfully offers two alternative methods of inducing fiscal responsibility for the United States. One would use "Maastricht criteria ... which determines that the ratio of government debt to GDP should not exceed 60 percent." Moody's concedes that such a rule often is breached by the governments. To wit, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland and others are approaching or exceeding 100 percent of debt to gross domestic product -- and are a growing threat to induce a global financial and economic crisis.

The other Moody's suggested alternative is to follow Chile's fiscal management of its social security system. But Chile has no social security problem, because it privatized it 30 years ago, so it is fiscally sound and popular. But the Democrats here in the U.S. would not permit that alternative. In fact, Moody's proposal is just another fiscal trick that wouldn't work. So what trick could we turn to avoid the current danger?

Unfortunately, with the exception of the House Republicans and some senators of both parties, most of Washington is looking for yet another trick that will get us by the current crisis.

No, let me be more precise. Senior elements both in the White House and the bipartisan Senate may be planning a trick not to avoid the Aug. 2 crisis, but to better politically exploit the possible chaos that would follow such a crisis.

This reminds me of the scene in the 1962 black comedy about the Cold War, "Dr. Strangelove," in which the lunatic German scientist starts calculating how he and a select group of male politicians and generals could survive the nuclear annihilation of both the U.S. and the Soviet Union by living in mine shafts with many sexy young women and a nuclear engine to provide the energy for such a luxurious, fast-breeding, molelike existence. Planning for political survival after a debt crisis is about as disreputable and foolish as Dr. Strangelove's mine shaft survival plan.

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Copyright 2011, Creators Syndicate Inc.

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