You couldn’t help but notice the two big boards at the Republican National Convention that tote up the national debt. It’s well into the teen-trillions and rocketing upward as we speak.
That much debt really worries a lot of people, and it’s a big plank in the party’s platform, especially as it relates to how President Obama and the Democrats have spent like drunken sailors for the past three-plus years. Many who are honest about it throw a good bit of blame back to the Bush administration as well. And there’s a lot of truth to both positions.
What concerns me is that many of the same people who will go to the wall to preserve their grandchildrens’ inheritance relative to the national debt don’t seem to care much about what else they’ll leave those future generations.
How about the “Drill here. Drill now!” folks and those who, in a heartbeat would bust into the national oil reserve to save a couple of pennies on gas for a couple of months. Where’s their concern for future generations? Evidently they don’t mind leaving those grandkids with no oil but they sure don’t want the tykes to be saddled with debt. It’s a concrete versus a nebulous. While they fret about the nebulous, the concrete issues slip out of their minds.
It’s been said before, and I’ll say it again. Why is it that the same people who seem to be all flumoxed by the national debt think we should get into some kind of war with Iran over that country’s possible nuclear development? Borrow from China to make war on Iran, but by golly, don’t leave our offspring with this huge national debt.
Run the war in Iraq for a decade and more, but don’t call the government on that expenditure and of course the same with Afghanistan. Billions and trillions spent, lost, wasted, unaccounted for — money that was basically borrowed and now makes up a significant portion of those trillions adding up on the RNC’s big boards.
Call the government on the $400 million to NPR and the whatever that goes to Planned Parenthood, but don’t dare cut back on Defense Department expenses, even if we have to borrow for them.
If it were really about the poor grandkids or about the money, there’s umpteen things we all could have done and could be doing to secure their future as best we can.
We could have been investing in alternative, renewable energy for the past 50 years if we were really fearful for our progeny. And we could have created an international environment wherein our kids and their kids wouldn’t be dependent on the people that John McCain used to say, “don’t like us very much.”
We could have been conserving energy at home, at work, at school and on the road. And while we were at it, we could have put a lot more effort into conserving water and other resources that our grandchildren might have been able to use down the road. But we didn’t and we still don’t for the most part.
We still blame the “government” for the $100 bill we have to spend to fill up the SUV just to drive the tots to soccer practice.
Many of the same people who play Cassandra to the national debt would gladly eliminate all kinds of laws and regulations that reduce harmful effects to the environment. It’s OK if the grandkids get lung cancer from asbestos or from water sources that have been over-industrialized, but we daren’t leave them with the results of our own fiscal profligacy.
The national debt worriers seem to base their notions on some kind of static environment. That is, that somehow, we’ll never get enough money for what we need (or more realistically what we want); that the economy will always be depressed; that the 8.5 percent will remain unemployed for the next 100 years; that we’re taxed to death for things we don’t want and don’t need; not counting horrifically expensive wars that rob our treasure and destroy the lives of too many families. They’re pretty much OK with those kinds of expenses as long as it’s marketed as necessary to keep us No. 1 in the world.
Chris Christie assured the country Tuesday night that Mitt Romney would tell truths, the hard truths to the American people. And Mr. Romney will, no doubt do just that. He’ll tell the American people that illegal immigrants are killing our economy. That the national debt would really be reduced if only “those people” who are on the government dole would shape up and get to work and quit sucking down on the rest of us.
He’ll tell us that if only we would cut a couple of points off rich peoples’ tax rate everything would balance out, and we’d be No. 1 again. And he’ll tell us that all those pesky regulations about clean air and clean water and toxic waste are right up there with those pesky illegals and welfare freeloaders taking the money right out of my pocket and yours.
And I’ll bet that Gov. Romney won’t call everyone to attention, point to the big boards and tell us the truth — that the national debt is just that — it’s ours, all of ours, and it’s there because we really, honestly don’t care as long as we get what we want when we want it. And as long as we have somebody else to blame it on.
I wish I could make a $10,000 bet, but I’ll have to stick with a gentleman’s bet. I’ll bet that Mitt Romney won’t tell the American people very many hard truths.
Chris Daley is a staff writer and columnist for the Mountain Democrat. His column appears each Friday.