Willful Ignorance, Meet Sacred Cow.

August 6, 2012

Allow me to provide my definition of a politician: One who endeavors to preserve sacred cows as opposed to serving up the steaks of progress.
By that definition, the U.S. electorate has gone vegan.
A year ago in August of 2011, the Obama administration and Congress reach agreement on borrowing enough to finance the U.S. government for the foreseeable future. That future being November 6, 2012. Immediately following the presidential election. Click here for article.
Part of that deal included a plan to trim the U.S. deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next decade. One month later, S&P downgraded U.S. debt and sent markets reeling.
The electorate feigned anger, and alluded to its discontent.
Last week, the administration's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced its latest "estimate" of the deficit for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012. It was $1.21 trillion, down 9% from the $1.33 trillion they'd estimated in January. The White House attributed much of the revision to the fact that Congress blocked many of the president's tax and spending plans. Which, says the administration, will now take place in 2013, as opposed to 2012.
So, with two months remaining in the fiscal year, U.S. Treasury funded debt has increased by $1.14 trillion YTD. Consider that, one year ago, the budget deal was touting a plan that would cut $1.2 trillion from the annual budget deficit over a decade. As of today, the projection is that the government will add that amount to the budget deficit over the course of one year.
Any public outrage? How about some media attention to this travesty? Of course not. One rarely cares about the sink hole into which the world will fall until it has already swallowed the home and car.
Shocking. If it wasn't so easily believed. So easily predicted.
When alcoholics awake from a week-long binge, laying in a pool of their own filth in a dark, dirty alleyway, they face three stark choices:
1) Admit to the problem and get help.
2) Admit to the problem, yet procrastinate on doing anything about it.
3) Deny the problem and continue down a path of personal destruction.
Only the first choice equates to a fighting chance, as choices two and three ultimately find our protagonist perished as a consequence of continued neglect and abuse.
So the United States, one year after last Labor Day Weekend's warning shot across the bow, continues down an ugly path. Our elected officials admit to a problem, yet do nothing about it. Focusing instead on reelection and the preservation of fiefdoms and sacred cows.
Our electorate does nothing about it. Choosing instead to wallow in the cozy pools of embryonic fluid offered by the continuation of these destructive policies of inaction.
"This is a democracy!" we shout. "We'll deal with it when we're ready."
Perhaps you're familiar with the old adage that "democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what's for lunch."
So long as the preening political class continues to fill the bath with warm soapy water, then a cozy, willingly ignorant electorate will reelect them and so perpetuate these policies of inaction. At least until the words "we told you so!" echo and resonate off of the walls of the abyss, following us all the way to the bottom.

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