In response to my friends at Reasonable Nuts: What I don’t understand is how anyone can claim this is some kind of unsung victory. The budget deficit is just the amount that the government overspent this year. The fact that it fell does not mean we are somehow magically paying off the enormous $8+ TRILLION national debt — or even doing a good job paying down just the interest thereon. All that has happened is the government has overspent a little less than in the previous year(s). Congress and the President have slowed the rate at which they are furiously digging a financial hole for the nation. Uh, hurray?
So your spouse comes to you and says, “Hey honey, you remember how last year I charged up about $3,000 on the credit card after we cleaned out all the accounts paying off the end of year Christmas bills? Well, the good news is that this year, I only charged up another $2,500 after the accounts were empty! That should really help get our $90,000 credit card debt under control!” First you haul out the harsh language. Then you cut up the cards. Then you accompany your spouse to a credit counseling service, or maybe Spenders Anonymous or some such thing.
When we look at people running a household — which also has a budget, income, spending, borrowing, etc. — and we see someone living beyond their means, we see this kind of rationalization, we would rightly call it “pathological.” It’s no less damaging to fall into such slippery thinking when it comes to our irresponsible government spenders.
I mean, sure, every little bit counts, but like “The Wolf” says to Vincent and Jules in Pulp Fiction, “Let’s not start sucking each other’s ***** quite yet, gentlemen.”