US bleeds debt while the band plays on

Nobody on Capitol Hill will say it, but we can all see it. America is bleeding out with a debt crisis unprecedented in world history. World history? Isn’t that an exaggeration, a bit of hyperbole for effect? No.

President Obama has kicked off 2012 by asking for a $1.2 trillion raise in the debt ceiling. The United States closed the books on 2011 with a debt load of $15.2 trillion — a record high in America’s 235-year past. Piling on the misery, the debt load is a record world high as well: Peel back the pages of history and there’s simply no country at any point, period or place with a $15.2 trillion debt.

If Obama’s elbows are sharp enough, and he gets the debt hiked another $1.2 trillion, the increase will jack up the total U.S. debt to $16.4 trillion.

$16.4 trillion? Is this a fairy tale number? Trillion?

How is America approaching $16.4 trillion in debt and where do we consign blame? Do we run history’s finger over FDR’s New Deal government programs; trace our way to LBJ’s Great Society master plan; poke about in the fine print of Reaganomics; tally up the bill from Bush’s military spending; or guess at how much Mickey Mouse cash Obama is willing to print in the name of jobs and justice?

Meanwhile, we’re breathing in the gravy train fumes of an entitlement culture that’s born and bred to believe the lie: "It’s my right as an American to be taken care of from cradle to grave; I deserve it."

“Give me a home, health care, happiness, and a huge satellite dish — these are my rights — my entitlements.”

No wonder the Occupy Wall Street crowd beats on bongos and demands redistribution of someone else’s wealth — they just might get it. But then again, what if we added up the combined wealth of the Forbes 400? How much would it be? About $1.5 trillion. Yes, the 400 richest Americans combined — top out at $1.5 trillion. Think a giant transfer of wealth from all those “robber barons” might ease the coming national debt of $16.4 trillion?

Guess again. If Uncle Sam pulled the handbrake, commandeered (stole) the bank accounts of the 400 wealthiest Americans — Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, George Soros, a bunch of Wal-Mart Waltons, Michael Bloomberg, Mark Zuckerberg, Rupert Murdoch, and about 390 other blue bloods — the United States debt would still be around $15 trillion. Come again?

Don’t bother the Occupy Wall Street crowd with those statistics of inconvenience — leave them be to call for ever-more spending: "Give me luxury or give me death." They’re not asking for much in the grand scheme of U.S. debt: "Forgive our college bills and redistribute some wealth" — nothing a few trillion dollars more won’t solve.

Talk about sacrificing the permanent on the altar of the immediate.

President Obama fiddles away as the dollars burn and the hapless John Boehner sheds another round of tears while America is hemorrhaging debt at incomprehensible rates. What is a trillion dollars anyway? How many zeroes does it take to destroy a nation? Death of a thousand cuts.

16.4 trillion? We’re drowning in debt; Obama is ticking off more golf scores from Hawaii; and a haggard bunch of Republicans have already subjected us to an agonizing amount of numbing debates (a number that feels like it should be in the trillions as well). And oh my, the Republicans have never been more serious or focused: Gingrich, Paul, Romney and Santorum. Is this a joke?

Somebody roust Theodore Roosevelt from the grave and let’s give the Bull Moose Party our votes.

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