11A025 Holding Down the Lid by Jim Davies, 1/25/2011    

Forthcoming attractions in Washington, for our entertainment, include the pretense of a debate about something called the "debt ceiling", or limit to which the FedGov allows itself to borrow money (and I use that term loosely.) It's currently at $14.3 trillion, set only 11 months ago, but at year-end 2010 the FedGov had borrowed $14.03 trillion, so Titanic is dead on course for the iceberg. Now they want to raise the limit, thereby proving once again that they have no respect for the English language; if a limit can be raised at will, it's not a limit. It also adds further evidence that "limited government" is a myth.

In one of its less bizarre articles WorldNet Daily has suggested that House Republicans could slash government spending on their own (regardless of Senate opinion) by the single move of not allowing this ceiling to rise. That is correct, they could. Prevented from borrowing more, the Feds would have to increase taxes or cut spending, and the beneficiaries of the Tea Party vote are not about to do the former. Three questions arise.

The first is, will they? It's an open question because already, there is talk of a deal with the Dems under which the ceiling would rise in return for a promise that spending will be cut. That idea stinks, because such promises are not worth the paper they may be printed on. Always, some "unforeseen circumstance" comes up, which most unfortunately makes them impracticable to keep.

The second is, if they can and do keep the ceiling where it is and reduce spending, why not lower it? I see no reason why it should not be brought down to zero. That way, any current spending would have to include interest on the existing debt, repayments to pay it down, and provision for operating fluctuations that may take place. Unfortunately this doesn't reduce government by very much; it would bring a lot more discipline, but it would still be possible to steal and spend nearly as much then as it does now. Nonethless, all reduction is good.

Thirdly, then, if these Republicans are serious about smaller government, why not take a meat-ax and do some serious cutting of the whole budget, not just of the limit to what can be borrowed? Congress put it in place, so Congress can remove it.

There is, as shown in this ZGBlog alone for example, no reason for government to steal and spend anything at all (other than the wish of its members to enjoy the exercise of power.) Every item in the budget could be slashed to zero, with no ill effect - rather, with immensely good effect. The massive "social security" swindle would be replaced by free-market offers of sickness and retirement insurance. The burgeoning military spend would be replaced by nothing except privately owned weapons suitable to repel reasonably predictable aggression. All other money being redistributed to the parasitic would remain with the productive, and the small part of it that actually reaches the truly needy would be replaced by private charity. The supposedly core government function of "justice" would be replaced - and not a day too soon - by genuine, free-market justice.

So there's no question: it could be done, and with enormous benefit. Will it be done, by these freshly elected Republicans? Why, of course it will! Pigs, too, will sprout wings and fly.

Your feedback, please!

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