Drooling on the Pillow

Monday, April 11, 2005

Full Force and Credit 

The kerfuffle surrounding President Bush's remarks last week at the Bureau of Public Debt illustrate perfectly the definition of 'gaffe' as 'telling a truth no one wants to hear.' The Times editorialized thunderously and if you Google "bush iou" you'll find newspaper after blog after media outlet trying to make the case that Bush was 'disavowing' the debt and that the financial world was trembling over his rash and inappropriate words.

This is the phoniest of ginned up scandals and the reaction indicates that he's struck a nerve and ought to go right on mining it.

For the adults in the room, Bush has neither the power nor the intention of disavowing any debt. The notion is absurd on the face of it. He was merely pointing out a simple, plain truth. Too many people believe their FICA taxes go into a vault somewhere awaiting their retirement. Isn't it important for people to understand that they're going to have to raise our taxes to pay us off?

Emily Kerner of Belvedere, California, says in a letter to the Times today:
[Your] editorial states that "casting aspersions on a
basic obligation of the United States government is
insulting and irresponsible." Sad to say, President
Bush has in fact shown himself to be just that: insulting
and irresponsible. When I think of the next four years
with this president and this administration at the helm,
it certainly doesn't fill me with equanimity.
Perhaps because she's already full of something else. Calling something by its name is not an aspersion.

If I give you an IOU, you have an asset whose value is the amount of the IOU and your estimation of my ability to pay. If I give myself an IOU I have a memo. Since I'm backed with "the full force and credit" of the U.S. government, I can be confident that it will be paid. It's still not my money.
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