It’s been almost two years since I first wrote to you, Mr. President, and since you recently got on TV to tell us all how we’re doing, I thought I might take the opportunity to update you as well.
I’d like to start off by introducing you to my very good friend, Reality …pretty sure you guys have never met. I’m going to show you three pictures of Reality so you can get to know him a little bit.
The first picture is a picture of hope. It’s a picture of “yes we can.” It’s a picture of you talking to the nation and telling us how great America is.
Did you ever play that game “what’s wrong with this picture” when you were a kid? You and I are about the same age and I sure played that game a lot at school, so I bet you did too.
What’s wrong with this picture is that you are describing an America of long ago. An America that was an excessive producer and not an excessive consumer. An America that was the world’s greatest creditor and not the world’s greatest debtor. An America that, for the better part, walked it’s libertarian, capitalist talk. You are talking about the America of many decades gone by, a meritocracy where what mattered was what you could accomplish and create, rather than who you knew or how clever you were at gaming a bloated bureaucracy. Alas Mr. President, that America is long gone.
Here’s another shot of Reality, relaxing by the pool.
What’s wrong with this picture, Mr. President?
This is a picture of the gross debt of America from about 1940 until recently. I think that the wrongness here is pretty self-explanatory. But I am not sure whether the magnitude of the wrongness we are looking at in this picture is easily grasped by the sane mind.
This is not a partisan picture, Mr. President, not a republican picture, nor a democrat picture. This is a picture of an insane government (both parties) raping the people it was mandated to serve.
I hear that you are about to get back on TV and tell us all about how we must reign in spending and become more fiscally responsible as a nation. And it is rumored that you are going to float a budget that proposes to cut around 750 million dollars in spending over a couple years or something along those lines. I’ll be hopeful and round it up to an even billion in spending cuts.
I’m sorry for snickering Mr. President, but Reality and I are over here wondering if you are you kidding us.
You are talking about a billion dollars of cuts over two years and you (the government), on behalf of an America already burdened with an enormous and categorically un-payable debt, are busy borrowing 1.5 TRILLION dollars a year. Do you know what the relationship between a billion and a trillion is? There are one thousand billions in each trillion. Reality is whispering in my ear that that means your big fiscal responsibility drive, if you even accomplish it politically, will decrease spending by well less than one tenth of one percent of our annual increase in debt, over the next couple years. And you are hoping that… what?… that’s actually going to do something?
You are one audacious hoper indeed, Mr. President.
And while I am on the subject Mr. President, fuck hope. Hope is not a rational policy. Hope is what you do after you have done a rational analysis and taken all the rational actions that you can and you find that you are still in dire circumstances, at the mercy of unpredictable events or a situation beyond your control. Hope is what you do when the hurricane is coming and you have already boarded up the doors and windows, stocked up on food and water, and secured your family in the basement. Hope is what you do when you are already hosed, Mr. President. Your message of hopefulness (that first picture up there) is really an Orwellian message of helplessness.
But maybe all you are really hoping is that America can’t or won’t do the math that Reality was whispering in my ear, and that they will hear 750 million or 1 billion in spending cuts and think those are big numbers, which of course they are. Except when you compare them to either the existing debt, or even just the annual increase in debt, and they suddenly become less than minuscule. Good old Einstein — it’s all relative, Mr. President!
There is only one solution to what is wrong with the picture above, Mr. President. You, we, must stop all the borrowing. Not a billion of it over two years. All of it, and right now, last year… ten years ago. That means we must cut at least 1.5 trillion of annual spending, just to get started. Reality is whispering to me again. He says that’s around three thousand times more than your proposed spending cuts. And even with Realistic cuts like that, we are still so far in the hole that it will take decades to grow our way out of the existing hard debt, and there is simply no way (on Reality’s home turf) we are going to honor the unfunded liabilities of medicare and social security. Reality says those are toast no matter what in his America (though he is not sure what may or may not happen in Hopistan).
But there is no way this can happen in America today. No politician can meaningfully cut spending and stay in office long enough to see the cuts through. That’s why the red in the picture above is always getting bigger over time. The explanation for why this is so brings me to the third picture of Reality that I want to show you, a picture of America today.
This is a picture of a people who spend on average about 34 hours a week watching American Idol and Jersey Shore, on giant screens produced in Asia, bought on credit. This is a picture of a people who are told each day (and who somehow believe it) that they deserve something, that they are entitled to the fruits of value they did not themselves produce or earn. This is a picture of a people who, on the whole, each eat enough to feed five or more.
This is a picture of a people who are somehow not fed up (har har), who will not stand up and throw you (and all your fraudulent Politico, Bankster-serving cronies, left and right, red and blue, pseudo-foe and pseudo-ally alike) out and start over. At least not until they get hungry.
This is a picture of an America that sucks, Mr. President, and unlike that smiling picture of you up there in Hopistan, it is a picture of the America that Reality and I live in.
And thus we wait, Reality and I, for the people to get hungry. We wait (to borrow from the poet James Douglass Morrison) for the whole shit-house to go up in flames.