by Pete Kasperowicz
Here’s how it’s worked in Greece for the last two years:
When Greece needs money, it borrows from the rest of the world. It can’t create any more of its own debt — Greek’s debt is already about 150 percent of its annual output, so those days are gone.
The rest of the world isn’t stupid. It demands more interest when it lends to Greece, because Greece is a risk. European governments trying to manage the situation also demand spending cuts, by which Greece demonstrates that it is working to climb its way out of the mess.
When Greece complies by cutting social services, pensions and other things — after all, what is any government besides a check-writer? — people riot. Greek citizens get upset that their government is taking orders not from them, but from bankers in other countries.
Such is the price of non-management.
As many have pointed out, the U.S. is not Greece. But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn the chief lesson of the Greek tragedy, which is: don’t lose control of your own affairs.
It can sound appealing when Michele Bachmann and other Republicans say they will not support any debt ceiling increase. But failing to raise the debt ceiling could be the first step to ceding control of the issue. There are many uncertainties.
How will government trim spending in a crisis situation? There’s no plan. What companies that now depend on federal money won’t get paid, and do you own their stock? It’s hard to say.
If the government defaults on existing debt, how will Wall Street react? Are Treasuries worth anything? How many do you own? How will foreign governments react? When interest rates are inevitably hiked, how many more hundreds of billions of dollars will that add to our annual interest payments? Can we afford them? Will taxes have to go up at the point? What other events might happen along the way that might make the situation difficult or impossible to manage?
No one has these answers, least of all those who purport to represent you in Congress. And so, conservatives who correctly oppose taking on more federal debt are, by opposing an increase in the debt ceiling, actually doing a very non-conservative thing: they are willing to create a potentially unmanageable and dangerous situation in the United States.
Can a true conservative really favor such randomness, such a lack of control over the fiscal fate of the United States?
While it may be depressing to think of signing onto any agreement with Democrats, the work product of Washington has always been, and always will be, a reflection of the people who work there. Republicans own one half of one third of the federal government. By definition, ay agreement reached will reflect that.
Even so, the two sides at times have been close to a deal that cuts spending, reduces some tax deductions in return for overall lower tax rates, and allows the U.S. to keep managing the situation. There is nothing non-conservative about accepting a plan that does these three things during this last week, and then working for a greater Republican representation in 2012 to improve the situation further.
Others would say it’s weakness to accept anything less than perfection. But these are campaign slogans, not real-world advice.
Bachmann and other campaigners are so infatuated with perfection that they oppose mere improvements. She and a handful of other Republicans have voted several times this year against real spending reductions — voting against billions in cuts simply because they were not trillions.
Many are lured in by these conservative theoreticians, who are willing to risk much until all problems can be fixed in a single bound. Conservatives whose feet still touch the ground, however, should still see the value of taking smaller steps.
Pete Kasperowicz writes for the Tinytown Gazette & The Hill
Read him on thehill.com every day. Read him in the Gazette twice a month.© Copyright 2011 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed