In his January 14 press conference, President Obama said that we are not a deadbeat nation. By this, he meant that the United States government is not a deadbeat government. It pays its bills.
At an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, each speaker begins with this: “Hi. I’m Sam, and I’m an alcoholic.” Everyone responds, “Hi, Sam.” This is the members’ path to permanent sobriety: admitting what they are.
They do not begin: “I’m Sam, and I’m not an alcoholic. I can quit drinking any time I want to.”
They follow a set of rules. They are called the 12 steps. Among these 12 are these two:
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
A searching inventory in spending matters is a careful examination of income and outflow of money.
A deadbeat government cannot balance its budget. It is incapable of fiscal sobriety. It will continue to run deficits until it can no longer pay its bills. Then it will default.
Until the day of default, like a drunk at a bar, it says: “Put it on my tab.”
A wise bartender knows when to cease putting another drink on a drunk’s tab.
Lenders are like bartenders.
Taxpayers are like family members who stand behind the drunk family member’s tab.
How long can this go on? For as long as the federal government can find bartenders. For as long as it can find family members who will pay its tab.
Sobriety will come eventually. The DT’s will come. Maybe death will come. Or this: “Hi. I’m Sam, and I’m a deadbeat.”