"Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America's debt limit." - Sen.. Barack Obama, 2006.
" ... (R)aising the debt ceiling, which has been done over a hundred times, does not increase our debt; it does not somehow promote profligacy. All it does is it says you got to pay the bills that you've already racked up, Congress. It's a basic function of making sure that the full faith and credit of the United States is preserved." - President Barack Obama, 2013.
The Founding Fathers did a pretty good job of setting up our constitutional republic, but they failed miserably in one respect. They didn't impose adequate financial restraints.
It apparently never occurred to the Founders that politicians would dip into the national treasury to ingratiate themselves with constituents.
So today, the nation's debt is pushing $17 trillion. Toss in unfunded liabilities for major entitlement programs (not including Obamacare, yet), and total indebtedness is around $90 trillion. (In 2012, Medicare's unfunded liabilities were $42.8 trillion and Social Security's unfunded liabilities were $20.5 trillion.)
The numbers are staggering and sobering, but not staggering and sobering enough, it seems. President Obama and his tax-and-spend friends want to push us even deeper into debt, future generations be hanged.
"Raise the debt limit," the president tells House Republicans. And then he beats them over the head with a red herring: "If you don't raise the debt limit, the nation will default on its debt obligations and the world will end," or something like that.
Rubbish. The nation takes in plenty of money, and the politicians could tighten our belt in a thousand different ways (stop funding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, for starters), then use that revenue to service the debt.
Obama doesn't see it that way, however. He'd rather spend us into oblivion, and he's well on his way. Indebtedness under Obama has risen more than $6 trillion dollars, no thanks to George W. Bush.
The late Sen. Everett Dirksen would call the national debt "real money." The Government Accounting Office calls it "unsustainable."
But let's be fair. Obama is not the only problem. Members of Congress and our entitlement culture are to blame, also.
Have a cause, or want something you can't pay for it? How about an education or food and clothing for you and the kids? Ask Uncle Sam. He doesn't have the money, either, but he'll borrow it.
The quid pro quo is implied. You then vote for and contribute to the politician who brought home the bacon. The late Sen. Robert C. Byrd knew how it worked. Sens. Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller know, too.
How far have we sunk? Very, and it gets nuttier and nuttier as time goes on.
Jim McLean, a well-known high-priced golf instructor, is calling for a "national federation, government subsidized in part," to help talented kids become golfers. He floats the idea in the current issue of "Golf Digest," which, it so happens, has three pages of ads for watches costing $4,000 and up.
The sad part is that some member of Congress, or perhaps even our golfing president, has probably already called McLean's attention to a federal subsidy for young golfers.
We're in deep trouble, then, and the president's lies have earned him four Pinocchios from the Fact Checker at The Washington Post. The president also has an upside-down Pinocchio for his flip-flop on the debt limit.
The Fact Checker now needs to give inside-out Pinocchios to the people who crave federal funds and to the members of Congress who are only too happy to oblige.
The problem is huge, and there's plenty of blame to go around.