By Tom Quiner
I fear a sneeze.
As I recover from surgery, a sneeze feels as if a sneering adversary has stabbed me in the gut, and for good measure, twisted the blade. In other words, it hurts like hell.
Hope I’m not being overly dramatic, but pain does that to a person, I suppose.
You’ll note my paucity of posts in recent days. I just haven’t been up to it. However, recent events have magnified another fear of mine and forced me back into the blogging saddle today.
What is this fear? Financial ruin of the United States of America.
Speaker John Boehner revealed in a Wall Street Journal interview that President Obama does not think the U.S. has a spending problem.
Although this has been apparent by the president’s spending habits and budgets, at least he’d occasionally rekindle campaign rhetoric from 2007 that called for spending restraint during his first term. He didn’t mean it, but it led us to believe he wasn’t as radical as he appeared.
Now that he’s re-elected, he’s dropped the pretense.
His focus is clear: more taxes, more redistribution, more government.
He does not believe another financial crisis can touch our shores. The media has his back. About half of the country seems to agree with him.
The guy who used to run our finances disagrees. David Walker served as Former U.S. comptroller general and Government Accountability Office chief. He says our current path is untenable, that we’re on the same path as Greece. He says:
“We’re on an imprudent, unsustainable fiscal path, … The status quo is not an option and we’re not going to grow our way out of this problem and the sooner we get started the better.”
President Obama not only doesn’t want to get started, he doesn’t even think there’s a spending problem.
As Mr. Walker says,
“The biggest deficit this country has today is not a budget deficit but a leadership deficit. Our elected officials are not talking about the tough choices. Washington is badly broken.”
When Barack Obama took office, our federal debt was about 40 percent of GDP, slightly higher than the forty year average of 38 percent. However, if President Obama’s policies continue on their current path, the CBO projects that federal debt will top 200 percent by 2025. Today it is about 70 percent.
It may only take a hiccup to plunge us into a recession, or worse. Imagine if China decides they won’t lend to us any longer. It could happen if they no longer believe we’re a good credit risk due to unsustainable levels of debt, and that is the direction in which we are heading at a breathtaking pace.
We saw how quickly the economy fell apart when the subprime housing crisis hit. What will it be next time?
I fear a sneeze at the personal level.
I fear a hiccup at the national level. That could be a whole lot worse.