Fifteen Trillion Dollars

Paul Ryan isn’t happy.

Some of what Ryan is saying is self-serving. Most isn’t. The fact is that Obama hasn’t even begun to address the most cataclysmic problem ever to face this country. All he offers is ideas to make the problem worse.

The American people aren’t stupid. They know exactly how bad this is. And they’re angry.

Democrats will say “but they hate Republicans more than us, so we’re in the clear.” Problem is, the folks who give Congress such crappy ratings are doing so because they want the GOP on the Hill to fight even harder; the Republican base is looking for bigger bets than just fighting a holding action until November 2012.

They’re looking for an Inchon Landing. A game-changer.

Of course, you can’t really do one of those until you can find a way to bring the Senate on board, and when the Senate is dominated by the Harry Reids and Chuck Schumers and Dick Durbins that’s not going to happen.

So we’ll have to wait it out until next year.

The good news for Republicans is that most people might hate Congress, but they like their Congressman. So the anger at Congress gets diffused, and Republicans in Republican districts – which is most of the House – will get re-elected next year.

And there are a ton of Democrats in the Senate who represent states that are red, or turning red.

Not to mention the fact that Obama, more than anyone else, is going to be blamed for the inability to address this issue – his approval rating on the economy is 34 percent. Your average voter now sees the economy and the debt as connected issues – most people think the debt and the deficit is a cause of the bad economy, and the whole package is why a big majority of the folks thinks the country is in decline.

Obama doesn’t get reelected as President Decline. Sorry; that doesn’t happen.

So from a political standpoint, the GOP is probably better off just holding the line until January 2013. It’s only 14 months away.

Except by then it’ll be $16 trillion, not $15 trillion.

At what point does it become too late to fix things? At what point are we so far gone that we can’t recover our public fisc?

I don’t have an answer. I don’t have a solution to break the deficit committee’s deadlock, and I don’t have a good political strategy to force the Democrats into big budget cuts. And I don’t have a great deal of confidence that even if the Senate and White House go Republican, which I do believe will happen, that the Democrats won’t be able to stand in the way of the kind of government restructuring that will have to be done.

I do know that trillion-dollar annual deficits are a superhighway to our national destruction. It is not possible to continue as we are doing; we will either end those deficits or we will end America. And unfortunately at this point only one of the two political parties is willing to engage on the issue with any degree of seriousness.

Wellington called his victory at Waterloo a “damned near-run thing.” Getting a handle on this mess will be that, at best.

At best.

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