The news from Washington over the past few months — $25 billion here, $700 billion there — is hard to keep track of. The amounts themselves are huge, but when added together, the sum is beyond comprehension. Pat Buchanan, in his column Socialist Republic, adds it up:
Thus, we have the $700 billion Bush bank bailout, the $700 billion “stimulus package” Obama wants by inauguration to “jolt this economy back into shape” and the $800 billion fund Hank Paulson created to get consumers borrowing and buying again.
These come on top of Bush $455 billion deficit, the $29 billion bailout of Bear Stearns, the $105 billion in pork to grease the $700 billion bailout, the $100 billion to $200 billion to keep Fannie and Freddie afloat, the $140-billion-and-counting for AIG, the $25 billion for the greening of GM, Ford and Chrysler, the $25 billion more to save the Big Three and the $20 billion for CitiGroup.
Now much of this overlaps, and some will be retrieved. But we are still staring at a deficit that could approach $2 trillion.
Can we sustain this level of spending and borrowing? Of course, not, says Buchanan. The result?
We are headed either for default on our debts and bankruptcy as a nation, or something less honorable: a quiet cheapening of the debts we have incurred by inflating and destroying the dollar, robbing our creditors of what we owe them and robbing our own people of the value of what they have earned. And so it has come to this.