By: Patrick J. Buchanan
On Sept. 30, the end of fiscal year 2016, the national debt is projected to reach $19.3 trillion.
With spending on the four biggest budget items — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, defense — rising, and GDP growing at 1 percent, future deficits will exceed this year’s projected $600 billion.
National bankruptcy, then, is among the existential threats to the republic, the prospect that we will find ourselves in the not-too-distant future in the same boat with Greece, Puerto Rico and Illinois.
Yet, we drift toward the falls, with the issue not debated.
Ernest Hemingway reminded us of how nations escape quagmires of debt: “The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.”
“Debauching the currency,” Lenin’s depiction, is the way we will probably destroy the debt monster.
Hemingway’s second option, war, appears to be the preferred option of the war chiefs of the Beltway’s think-tank archipelago, who see in any Putin move in the Baltic or Black Sea casus belli.
What our Cold War leaders kept ever in mind, and our War Party scribblers never learned, is the lesson British historian A. J. P. Taylor discovered from studying the Thirty Years War of 1914-1945:
“Though the object of being a Great Power is to be able to fight a Great War, the only way of remaining a Great Power is not to fight one.”