“‘If you add up all the promises that have been made for spending obligations, including defense expenditures, and you subtract all the taxes that we expect to collect, the difference is $211 trillion. That’s the fiscal gap,’ [Kotlikoff] says. ‘That’s our true indebtedness.”

“One day after lowering the nation’s platinum triple-A credit rating, Standard & Poor’s analysts warned Saturday that the U.S. government could face a second downgrade if the economy continues to struggle and the government fails to make the cuts outlined in the debt ceiling agreement…

“‘Compared to some other highly rated governments, the U.S. government does not have the proactive ability to put public finances on a firm footing,’ Chambers said.”

“To be sure, S&P didn’t specifically single out Republicans. It criticized the overall $2.4 trillion deal as too limited, and it implicitly criticized both political parties for refusing to tackle their sacred cows – entitlements, in the case of Democrats; tax increases in the case of Republicans.

“But it’s hard to read the S&P analysis as anything other than a blast at Republicans. In denouncing the threat of default as a ‘bargaining chip,’ the agency was saying that the GOP strategy had shaken its confidence. Though S&P didn’t mention it, the agency must have been unnerved by the number of Republicans who insisted that it would be fine to blow through the debt ceiling and provoke a default.”

“The ‘philosophical starting point’ of today’s Democrats, as Mr. Cantor sees it, is that they ‘believe in a welfare state before they believe in capitalism. They promote economic programs of redistribution to close the gap of the disparity between the classes. That’s what they’re about: redistributive politics.’ The Virginian’s contempt is obvious in his Tidewater drawl. ‘The assumption . . . is that there is some kind of perpetual engine of economic prosperity in America that is going to just continue. And therefore they are able to take from those who create and give to those who don’t. We just have a fundamentally different view.’…

“By contrast, he says, ‘Never was there ever an underlying economic argument” from Democrats. ‘It was all about social justice. Honestly, one of them said to me, ‘Some people just make too much money.'”

“For his first two years in office, Obama’s party controlled both chambers of Congress – for part of that period, he had a filibuster proof majority in the Senate. During that time period, he and his fellow Democrats could have passed his supposedly ideal, long-term, deficit-reduction package — one that represented a ‘balanced approach’ between spending cuts and tax increases. It also could have delayed the deficit reduction for several years, so it wouldn’t have affected the current weak economy or the ‘investments’ he considers crucial. Forget about actually accomplishing serious deficit reduction — he didn’t even attempt it…

“After health care passed last March, Obama punted on the debt for the rest of the year as he awaited a report from his fiscal commission. He then ignored its recommendations and released a budget so ludicrous that within two months, it failed 0 to 97 in the Senate and he himself rejected it. He instead delivered a speech about his deficit reduction vision, which didn’t have enough details for the CBO to score. And then he spent the last few months arguing that he was prepared to offer Republicans a “grand bargain,” but to this day he hasn’t released details of this supposedly awesome deal that Republicans refused, beyond calculated leaks to favored reporters.

“But there’s another reason why Obama won’t escape blame for this. Obama was elected president at a time when Americans felt the nation was in decline, and his central job was restore their faith that our best days were ahead of us, as President Reagan did after the Carter era. Whether you think he was dealt a poor hand or not, the bottom line is that the sense of decline has only deepened during the Obama presidency, and the first-ever downgrade of U.S. credit, whatever its ultimate financial implications, is yet another symbol of that decline.”

“Oh, don’t worry, I’m not one of these ‘declinists.’ I’m way beyond that, and in the express lane to total societal collapse. The fecklessness of Washington is an existential threat not only to the solvency of the republic but to the entire global order. If Ireland goes under, it’s lights out on Galway Bay. When America goes under, it drags the rest of the developed world down with it. When I go around the country saying stuff like this, a lot of folks agree. Somewhere or other, they’ve a vague memory of having seen a newspaper story accompanied by a Congressional Budget Office graph with the line disappearing off the top of the page and running up the wall and into the rafters circa mid-century. So they usually say, ‘Well, fortunately I won’t live to see it.’ And I always reply that, unless you’re a centenarian with priority boarding for the ObamaCare death panel, you will live to see it. Forget about mid-century. We’ve got until mid-decade to turn this thing around…

“When interest payments consume about 20 percent of federal revenues, that means a fifth of your taxes are entirely wasted. Pious celebrities often simper that they’d be willing to pay more in taxes for better government services. But a fifth of what you pay won’t be going to government services at all, unless by ‘government services’ you mean the People’s Liberation Army of China, which will be entirely funded by U.S. taxpayers by about 2015. When the Visigoths laid siege to Rome in 408, the imperial Senate hastily bought off the barbarian king Alaric with 5,000 pounds of gold and 30,000 pounds of silver. But they didn’t budget for Roman taxpayers picking up the tab for the entire Visigoth military as a permanent feature of life.”

“I can’t do full justice to this matter here. But this much is clear: The responsibility, at least in part, rests with the American people. What we are seeing play itself out in Washington year after year are politicians who represent the different interests, demands and appetites of the American polity (let’s call them factions). And so voters get angry at politicians who can’t produce a balanced budget even as they get angry at politicians who want to reform entitlement programs that are causing our fiscal crisis. One can make a serious argument, in fact, that one of the problems with the public is it expects its elected representatives to respond to the shifting winds of public opinion…

“We may not like the political jars of clay that have been produced. But in America, it is worth recalling that ‘we the people’ are, in the end, the potters.”

Via Newsbusters. Content warning.

Via Breitbart TV.