Debt, Obamacare & Recurring Fiscal Crisis

Senator Ted Cruz leands an assault on Obamacare

Senator Cruz: Assault on Obamacare

There are a plethora of opinions about the latest fiscal crisis. Take your pick. Senator Ted Cruz certainly has an opinion, and he will toss America down a hole to prove it.

Actually, the senator and I share significant common ground. We are both deeply concerned about debt and uncontrolled spending. But, beyond these fundamentals, the senator’s foot-shooting tactics, including a quasi-filibuster, doesn’t inspire confidence.

How, do you suppose, that our creditors view these spams of democratic process? Do you think that they worry about default? Do they care if our economy recovers?  I suspect that – like consumer creditors – they attempt to influence behavior and policy to achieve both a payment stream and a long term outcome that is, foremost, favorable to the creditor? Just as with Greece, creditors are certainly entitled to call the shots.

Today, Forbes contributor, Eamonn Fingleton offered an analysis and explanation of the creditor decision process that I find refreshingly clear. It is, quite probably, an accurate prediction of cause and effect as applied to our current fiscal crisis.

Perhaps the reason that Americans lack the intestinal fortitude to ride out a long term investment is because, as a nation, we have been debtors for too long to recall what it is to be an investor!

Americans delude themselves with the fantasy that that a massive debtor has cards to play. They imagine that a creditors’ need for (the debtor’s) continued solvency and unabated consumption gives them strength. But those things aren’t as critical as Americans think. They can always find new customers elsewhere.

It’s a big world and trade barriers are coming down everywhere. The American dream can still be achieved—even with a roaring, world class economy. But to get there from here, we must recognize that we borrowed against our future while the Chinese produced and lent and while the Arabs sucked down our borrowed cash to satisfy our self-imposed oil addiction.

Those events have consequences. Like it or not, the Chinese have earned the upper hand. Today, they hold thousands of dollars of debt over every one of us. This turn of events is not “unfair”. In fact it is wholly fair. That debt is inherent in your TV, smart phone, shoes, toys, auto parts and underwear. Throughout the 90s and 00s, we moved our manufacturing, infrastructure and innovation off shore. All the while, we soaked up Chinese toys, clothes, gadgets, and raw materials and – of course – Mideast oil. We remained faithful to our post war credo:  Consume, consume, consume!

We must stop thinking of ourselves as entitled to anything other than our freedoms, the separation of powers, Hollywood, the Internet and our past glory as historical capitalists (up through the first ⅔ of the 20th century). We are also entitled to our pretty, foreign-made gadgets adorned with American logos. We got these things, because we handed a pawn broker our marker. He trusts us, because he respects the family name. But he is surprised that we keep bowering to pay the bill. In fact, we aren’t really paying the bill. We are simply racking up debt and ignoring the principal.

Now, it’s time to pay our bills. President Obama wants to begin this process while also ensuring that we include universal access to heath insurance. Well, O.K. it’s not really universal access it’s mandatory buy in. Does Obamacare represent socialiaztion of health care? Probably, Yes! Is it the right move in a down economy? Who knows? Do most people support it? I don’t think that we can get a clear answer to that last question, but it certainly seems split across party lines.

But here’s the deal, Congress. Obamacare is a fact! The act was passed and the law was upheld by the highest court. Since then, it has survived dozens of attempts to overturn it. It’s time to apply your remarkable energy to the people’s business!

The US Congress behaves like a whiny child who wants to grab the soccer ball, furlough the players and shut down the stadium. It’s time to accept defeat without using terrorist tactics to make a point. Few Americans want a socialist economy, but through due process, we have chosen to socialize health insurance. Let’s review the logic:

  • I feel that the time for due process is over.
  • You are determined to spend all of your time and resources trying to overturn a done deal.
  • I think that you are crazy.

And it’s very unsettling to lose confidence in our elected officials.

Ellery on ObamacareListen up, Congress! We, the people, don’t like debt. We get your point of digging in. The constant debt increase is not a merry-go-round. It is more like a falling roller coaster with no tracks ahead. We must apply the brakes, and very soon. We get it! But there are two things that we cannot avoid: Paying creditors and accepting political defeat on just how a reduced budget is put together.

Get over it! Accept that you cannot defund a program that was passed and approved. One way or another, we must still deal with the spiraling cost of health care. Now get to work, dammit! Tell us where we must cut the fat and get the job done!

4 thoughts on “Debt, Obamacare & Recurring Fiscal Crisis

  1. I like this article. I like the attitude of it, and have to admit that I can’t find anything to complain about, although I would like to because Ellery is to my right politically and economically.

    I do want to comment on what might be called the iconic terminology in which public debate on this topic is framed. “Cutting the fat” is such a common term, which I don’t like, because it is underpinned by a nearly universally exaggerated opinion about the inefficiency of government and bureaucracy. There is for the most part no fat, just stuff the government does which some people don’t want it to do because they want lower taxes.

    Large corporations are also bureaucracies (almost by definition). Think about it.

  2. Dear Bruce…While I agree that “Ellery is to your right, economically”, it’s difficult to imagine that I could be to your right, politically! Case in point:

    • I gave up Republican membership when Reagan left office
    • I am positively enamored by Bill Mahr

    The Republican party leaves me in fear of government getting in the bedroom, the boardroom, the church and my refrigerator. The thought of government officials defining when life begins scares the hell out of me.

    Although, I like some of the libertarian views associated with the Tea party, they are stacked with far right loonies, religion nuts, and bear-shooting governors (Don’t even get me started on Sarah Palin!).

    Of course, Democrats have their issues too. My far left friends bristle at the term ‘Socialist’, yet it fits many elected officials who feel that redistribution of wealth cures society’s ills.

    My heart pleas for candidates to elected office who are both economic conservatives and a social liberals. I think that many citizens would rally around an intelligent person defined by these qualities. The are not terribly hard to find, but I have not known any who are bold enough (or dumb enough) to run for high office.

  3. You gotta love Ted Cruz. I heard him on NPR this morning telling the interviewer how he had already compromised because while he really wants to repeal “every word” of Obamacare, he is willing now to merely to defund it, which is a different thing entirely. What a guy!

  4. I am a registered Republican.

    Even if a majority of Americans don’t particularly like Obamacare, I agree with Ellery. That pony ran out of the barn when Obama was elected to a second term. He made it clear that, if elected, this would be the course for the nation.

    I don’t particularly care for the “Affordable Health Care” Act. But I also recognize that it is no longer an act. It is the law of the land. Why on earth is my party rank and file playing brinksmanship with the nation’s credit rating and with our fragile reputation. Why are they playing with people’s lives? Obamacare is not the be-all-end-all issue of our time.

    If anyone out there in Congress is reading, please, PLEASE, keep our government moving forward. Work earnestly, to reduce spending, but don’t take individual fights so personally.

    Just like Bruce (the first to comment on this post), I don’t really agree with Ellery’s overall political philosophy. But, his logic is often flawless and persuasive. In this case, I didn’t need persuasion. I just couldn’t articulate it as eloquently. Ellery, I am with you on this.

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