Essay: The Dunce and the Debt Ceiling

Foreigners, or Unamericans as they are better known around these parts, have a cute habit of asking me why my country, the richest nation in the history of human civilization, might default on its debts on purpose. Their asking of this question is precisely how I identify them as Unamericans.

First of all, I say to shut them up, we’re not defaulting on our debts. We are taking a stand against the tax and spend approach to paying for the president’s socialist big government agenda.

-Let me try again, they typically respond. Who is it that controls, how do you call it, the power of the purse in your government?

Well that’s Congress of course, and a lucky thing at that, or else we’d have the president taking away all our hard earned money and mailing it off to the Chinese.

-So spending decisions are made by your Congress?

Gee, these Unamericans are slow. I repeat it for him louder and slower, like I do to overcome the language barrier when traveling abroad.

-And so when Congress approves spending, as is its prerogative, who pays for it?

Job creators, and a damn shame that one.

-How so?

Why, through taxes of course. Loud and slow for him.

-But you recently extended the tax cuts for wealthy Americans, yes?

Darn tooting right we did. Now THAT’s how you stimulate the economy, my friend.

-Thus how now to pay for Congressional spending?

I suppose then that we borrow the money, which is how we got into this whole debt ceiling mess in the first place.

-So this borrowing, it is for the purpose of financing spending that has already been approved by Congress? And who is it that is refusing to authorize additional borrowing? Congress again, is it not? ┬áIn my country that is what it means to default on one’s debt.

Boy I sure am glad I don’t live there. In America, see, it’s not like that. In America, Congressional programs we don’t like are the president’s fault. President is in fact an ancient Native American word for scapegoat. Try it out, you’ll find you like it, I bet. Go on, find something you don’t like about the way things are going and try blaming it on your king or chief or whoever it is you’ve got in charge over there.

-I feel as if you have not really answered my question.

What question is that? Why is it that the president wants to take away my guns and then use them to shoot my grandmother so she won’t be eligible for Medicare anymore? No thank you very much!

-Has ideology become so divisive in your politics as to blind you to the interests of the nation as a unit?

Hey, don’t look at me, buddy. It’s those other guys who want to destroy the country.

-Is there not some other mechanism by which ideological issues can be debated? Must the basic continuing operation of the government and its obligations be held hostage to a wholly unrelated debate?

No, that’s not how it works in America. In America, we have elections. That’s when the people make their voice heard. They vote for representation, and if they don’t like who they elected, well next time around they vote the bums right out of office.

-Is that inclusive of your president? The one who was reelected? Now don’t get me started on that. That does not give him the mandate to make decisions for ME, see, because I wasn’t the one who voted for him.

-I’m afraid the nuance is lost on me.

I repeat it for him a bit louder and a bit slower, but he still doesn’t seem to be catching on. It’s about this time I begin to get suspicious, seeing as how he seems a bit weak in the English department and such. I ask him for his papers. Well you’d think I asked him for his family jewels the way he got up all in a huff and vamoosed like that. Probably another illegal. If you really want to understand why our country’s such a mess, you’ve got your answer right there. Mark my words: illegal immigration. What we need is a fence clear from California across to Florida and a guard at every ten feet.

-And who, if I may ask, is going to pay for that?

You again! Get the hell out of my country you Unamerican bastard. Don’t make me go get my assault rifle.

This time I believe he’s really left for good. To that I say good riddance! Now what were we discussing again, back before that Unamerican interruption? That’s right, it was the debt ceiling. To that I say, Mr. President, what are you going to do about it? Because I know deep down that this is your fault. You got us into this mess, but you’re sure not going to be the one to get us out, at least not if the American people get to have their say last November.

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