If the tea party are Hobbits, John McCain is Boromir

Nominations for Grima Wormtongue are open.

John McCain quoted the Wall Street Journal the other day to the effect that tea party aspirations for an end to fiscal insanity resemble a J. R. R. Tolkien fantasy.

…[T]he tea-party Hobbits could return to Middle Earth having defeated Mordor.

Yesterday, the Journal found it expedient to explain the obvious:

These columns drew much notice after John McCain quoted our July 27 “tea party hobbits” line on the Senate floor. Senator (sic) Sharron Angle responded that “it is the hobbits who are the heroes and save the land.” Well, okay, but our point was that there’s no such thing as a hobbit.

Serious debt reduction achieved in a bi-partisan kumbaya outbreak is a fantasy. It’s right up there with belief in the Tooth Fairy and the Social Security ‘Trust’ fund. And it will forever be a fantasy, absent some major shake-up. The Journal’s core assumption is that not raising the debt limit is the worst thing that could happen. Perhaps not.

As to fantasy, the same could reasonably have been said, and was, of the Declaration of Independence. The difference between the Revolution and the debt ceiling question is the immediacy and level of perceived risk.

If you do not think resolution of the Federal spending question involves an imminent, existential threat to the Republic, why would you think Hobbits are imaginary?

If you assume we will return to fiscal sanity at some later date – savings and investments intact, ‘social compact’ reformed – because the GOP will fix it all when they take the Senate and Presidency in the next election: You may be indulging in a fantasy. As Senator McCain has demonstrated, we wouldn’t even be having the debate if we hadn’t elected the Hobbits.

If you assume the Democrats will seriously address spending, or even co-operate in so doing, you are beyond fantasy.

The WSJ‘s analogy could be extended. The Hobbits didn’t want to take on Sauron, they were forced to. They got little aid and no little betrayal from a corrupt establishment. They won, despite terrific odds which would only have become worse had they decided the problem could wait for an election in Mordor.

Twenty Two and Sixty

Who voted for a “voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion:”

Justin Amash (Mich.)
Michele Bachmann (Minn.)
Chip Cravaack (Minn.)
Jason Chaffetz (Utah)
Scott Desjarlais (Tenn.)
Tom Graves (Ga.)
Tim Huelskamp (Kans.)
Steve King (Iowa)
Tim Johnson (Ill.)
Tom McClintock (Calif.)
Mick Mulvaney (S.C.)
Ron Paul (Texas)
Connie Mack (Fla.)
Jim Jordan (Ohio)
Tim Scott (S.C.)
Paul Broun (Ga.)
Tom Latham (Iowa)
Jeff Duncan (S.C.)
Trey Gowdy (S.C.)
Steve Southerland (Fla.)
Joe Walsh (Ill.)
Joe Wilson (S.C.)

Tim Walberg and Thaddeus McCotter (Mich.) are notably absent.

Now Senator McConnell needs to stick to 60.

The United States has already defaulted

There is no means of avoiding a final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as a result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.
– Ludwig von Mises

The tea party movement is aptly named, and those elected in its name should remember the will and motivation of the extremists who stormed British ships in 1773.

The “debt-ceiling” debate is such a revolutionary moment, and compromise with fools, charlatans and self-absorbed milquetoasts is out of order. Raising the debt ceiling while pretending we will voluntarily cut spending at some future date is insane. It’s doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. It guarantees catastrophe.

I, for one, would rather see the real deer-in-the-headlights expressions of John Boehner and Harry Reid than put up with one more shell game. Let August 2nd come and go with no more spending. On August 3rd we can all celebrate the president’s 50th birthday and offer prayers that wisdom will come with it. On August 4th, after counting the proceeds of his birthday fundraisers, the president can tell us what he thinks we should do.

If nothing is done before August 2nd, the US need not, and will not, officially default. The debt interest will be paid. Social Security and Medicare can be paid. Our troops can be paid. Comments to the contrary are fear mongering. The rest of our obligations matter less than the principle of correcting our fiscal course. Trouble now, or catastrophe later?

I agree with Michele Bachmann and those tea party stalwarts who insist on doing something real. Theirs’ is the compassionate position:

I refuse to be a party to deceiving the American people yet again.
– Michele Bachmann

A vote for “voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion” is a vote for the poor, the middle class and the rich. In that order.

Absent immediate cuts and a balanced budget Amendment, the one thing that should NOT be negotiable is the length of time any increase in the debt ceiling covers. We are told we can’t interrupt Christmas. We are told this debate is divisive and should not play a part in the 2012 presidential election. Really? What do the politicians think we pay them for except to practice politics? The most important political question the United States faces is the long term viability of our financial system. The president talks about it now using class warfare rhetoric. He otherwise refuses to reveal any specific aspect of his plans. And he doesn’t want to talk about it before he runs again for office? He is a charlatan who thinks you are a fool.

Update 6:23
Default Now, or Suffer a More Expensive Crisis Later: Ron Paul

Demoralized and ready to quit

We need a term for the ‘anti-Chicken Little’. ‘Pollyanna’ is an inexact antonym and probably insufficient to the task. The ‘Boy who didn’t cry Wolf’?

The sky is falling. The rose colored glasses are broken. The Wolf is feasting on our sheep. Somewhere, Cassandra is crying.

But Megan McCardle still thinks the US has a credit rating to save and that people will blame the GOP for damaging it (and, hilariously, that that matters), but this piece is interesting for the revealed psychology associated with those beliefs.

The ‘deal of the day’ (1 $trillion increase in the debt ceiling for 1.2 $trillion in reduced spending over the next decade – DO YOU THINK WE HAVEN’T ALREADY SEEN THIS MOVIE?!) just does not cut it. Megan gets it at the end, “[W]e’re hosed.” She is correct, but not for the reasons she thinks. We’ve been hosed since the hoser was elected. I don’t know that 2012 is going to matter.

Speaking of shared sacrifice, when we have a President who believes 2 $billion in savings from closing the ‘corporate jet loophole’ is relevant to a 14 $trillion debt (actually at least 5 or 6 times that if the government had to follow GAAP rules) – and to which he has suggested we should add 1.5 $trillion annually – we are being forced to hose ourselves.

The president believes the Revolution of 1776 was conducted in favor of taxation with misrepresentation.

To very loosely paraphrase an apocryphal anecdote about Winston Churchill:
Would you sleep with me for a 2 trillion dollar increase in the debt ceiling?
Well……… I suppose I would have to consider it.

Would you sleep with me for a 2 billion dollar increase in the debt ceiling?
Of course, not. What kind of monetary system do you think I am?

Madam, we’ve already settled that question, now we are just haggling about the rate of inflation.