By Dave Simpson, columnist
“Let’s not talk about the numbers,” (wide eyes, wild hand gestures) “and dollars. Let’s talk about the values.”
That was Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, talking to reporters last week.
Old Russian saying: “The circus left. The clowns remain.”
Seems kind of appropriate, these days in Washington.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was in a snit last week (he does snits better than anyone), fulminating at Republicans who were refusing to go along with Democrats in the latest installment of the raising-the-debt-ceiling clown-car show. Schumer said Republicans are “playing with fire” if they don’t vote to raise the debt ceiling to avoid another government semi-kind-of-you-know-shutdown.
Schumer’s nemesis, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, said last week that “Americans know a train wreck when they see one.” We’re left to wonder WHICH train wreck. There are so many.
So, let’s get this straight, for the benefit of those of us out here in Flyover Country, where you can only raise the limit on your credit cards so many times, and max out so many cards before someone figures out what you’re up to, and you suddenly have to live under the horrible burden of paying some of that money back. (The HORROR!)
Apparently, spending over $1 trillion and change on the much ballyhooed “bipartisan” infrastructure bill that is still in the works doesn’t strike Chuck as “playing with fire.” (These infrastructure fans apparently haven’t been out for a ride lately, and seen the construction tying things up already. No, we need an additional trillion in flag persons, orange cones and dozers.)
Neither, apparently, does the prospect of an additional $3.5 trillion – but maybe as much as $6 trillion, depending on who does the math – for the nutty additional cyclone of spending that is on the way, strike Chuck as “playing with fire.”
Abandoning our $800 million embassy in Afghanistan, Bagram Air Base, and billions of dollars worth of weapons, vehicles and aircraft apparently doesn’t strike Chuck as “playing with fire” either.
Same goes for opening our southern border to just about anyone, sick or not. That’s not “playing with fire” either.
Or accumulated debt to the tune of $28 trillion already. That’s not “playing with fire” either.
No, the only thing that amounts to playing with fire is not going along with the regular federal government charade of raising the debt ceiling. Now THAT, according to Chuck, is playing with fire. And who among us, living on a budget, doesn’t get a good laugh every time these spendthrifts utter the words “full faith and credit of the United States government?”
Meanwhile (and I watched so many Saturday morning westerns on TV as a kid that I’m always tempted to follow the word “meanwhile” with “back at the ranch”) President Build Back Broker says that $3.5 trillion he wants to spend, which you recall could be as high as $6 trillion, is completely “paid for,” as if Daddy Warbucks has promised to pick up the tab. Oh yeah, we’re dumb enough to believe that. Keep mumbling, Joe. That’s what you’re good at.
(Anyone else noticed that Vice President Giggles looks a lot like Nurse Ratched, standing behind Joe, keeping an eye on a potentially difficult patient? That’s why she can’t spend time at the border. She’s tending to Joe.)
The icing on the cake last week was the news that the Bidens may have underpaid their “fair share” of federal income taxes by a whopping (wordsmith Edwin Newman always asked when a number begins to whop) $500,000, through the use of one of those icky (but maybe legal) loopholes dreamed up by, you guessed it, Joe’s longtime pals in Congress.
(It takes a special kind of hypocrisy to spend a career screwing up the tax code, then attacking anyone who uses the Rube Goldberg system you created to pay as little in taxes, legally, as possible. That is the syrup of ipecac of hypocrisy.)
If Joe actually owes a half million in taxes, he needs to heed the words of, well, himself:
“Step up! Step up and pay like everyone else does!”
You can see why Pelosi and her pals don’t want to talk numbers.
And, “The clowns remain.”