A Trillion Here, A Trillion There, Spending Goes On
Published 12:00 am Friday, August 5, 2011
Whew! That was close. Just when it looked like Washington might have to tighten its belt, Congress raised the debt ceiling another $2.4 trillion.
“Do you ever remember anyone talking about a trillion dollars before a couple weeks ago?” Junior York asked when I stopped for gas last week. “A trillion … that’s a lot of money.”
Yes it is. Imagine owing somebody $14 trillion and going back to ask for another loan. That’s what Congress and President Obama did this week.
It was the late U.S. Sen. Everett Dirksen of Illinois back in the 1960s who coined the phrase, “A million here, a million there, pretty soon, you’re talking about real money.”
The quote was later modified to “billion” to allow for inflation, but even that wouldn’t accommodate modern Washington’s staggering appetite for dollars.
Dirksen was concerned that the Vietnam War was costing $1.5 million a day — cheap by today’s standards when a sophisticated guided missile can cost a million. Dirksen would spin in his grave if he knew what we’re spending in Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya.
We’ve run up a tab of $2 trillion in the past two years on a variety of government excesses. The new $2.4 trillion increase in the debt ceiling should only last another two years, just after the 2012 election. Debt is real. The promised “savings” are illusionary. And our President continues his curious “leading from behind” strategy, which is not leading at all.
We’ve been told that cutbacks are coming. The latest Washington crisis seemed too much like the Y2K predicted meltdown from 11 years ago: Much ado about nothing. The spending goes on.
Junior York and some others can’t see how this makes any sense.
My Three Sons
My three sons were under the same roof for the weekend, a gathering that has become more and more unusual as the years go by. It was an interesting dynamic for their father to watch from the sofa.
The pecking order was clearly defined …