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Paul Hayden

There is the Real World, and There is Washington

August 8, 2011

Imagine receiving your monthly bills — gas, water, electric, cable TV, cell phone, insurance, even your home mortgage — and tossing them all into a drawer unopened. Then, as the shut-off notices start rolling in, picture yourself reaching for the plastic in your wallet to pay them on credit.

When you run out of credit, you call the credit card company to demand an increase in your limit. The customer service representative politely but firmly explains that this will not be possible because they have already raised your credit limit several times in the last few years. Furthermore, because you are barely paying your minimum payments, and because your credit rating has been downgraded, they will be raising your interest rate — substantially.

Your next call is to your banker, who informs you that you cannot borrow more money against your home because it was already mortgaged at 125 percent of its value before the bottom dropped out of the housing market, leaving you upside down on the loan. In fact, the bank is initiating foreclosure against you because you haven’t been making your payments on time.

You are now so desperate for cash, you contact a friend who knows a guy who knows another guy who just might be able to float you a loan. The only drawback is that this guy will send another guy to break your kneecaps if you don’t pay him.

You acquiesce to this unworkable arrangement, only to find yourself faced with a deadline you know will put you in a wheelchair. Frantic, you buy a gun and use it to start robbing rich people in broad daylight. This supplies you with all the funds you need to pay off your loan, and everyone lives happily ever after.

That is the world in which Barack Obama and the Congressional “leadership” reside. Living inside the Washington bubble means they can go on television with a straight face and explain to the American people that because we are now able to borrow trillions more in unrepayable funds, from people who do not have our best interests at heart, everything is going to be okay.

Earlier this year, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan put forth a reasonable budget that actually would have started us on a path to fiscal sanity. House Republicans passed it and sent it to the Senate, where Democrats, as they have done at least since the days of their hero, FDR, immediately began to demagogue it. Their friends in the media demonized the plan, calling it “radical.” Senate Republicans ran away from it.

Then the Republican-controlled House (with a handful of brave Democrats) passed "Cut, Cap and Balance," which would have done exactly what its name implies: cut the deficit, cap the spending and require that a Balanced Budget Amendment be sent to the states for ratification.

Contrary to the shrill, dismissive rhetoric coming out of the White House and the Democrat congressional leadership, this bill also would have increased the debt ceiling by the $2.7 trillion Obama was demanding. But more importantly, it would have signaled to the world that the United States of America was finally getting serious about its finances.

The American people overwhelmingly favored Cut, Cap and Balance. According to a poll conducted by CNN (not exactly a bastion of conservatism), 66 percent of Americans supported it. Had House and Senate Republicans remained united behind that bill — and that bill only — Barack Obama and the Democrats would have been left with a choice: either pass it into law or justify their fiscally irresponsible behavior to the voters, as they tried to do last November when they had to defend Obamacare, which received not a single GOP vote.

There is the real world, and then there is Washington. Most Americans live in the real world where bills have to be paid. But Congress and the president prefer living in a dream world where Louie the Loan Shark keeps giving them money and they keep robbing future generations to pay for their excesses.

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Copyright ©2011 Doug Patton

Doug Patton describes himself as a recovering political speechwriter who agrees with himself more often than not. His weekly columns are syndicated by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Readers are encouraged to email him at dpatton@cagle.comand/or to follow him on Twitter at @Doug_Patton.