Accepting inevitable national decline is the new pastime of both the media and government elite. Some of the pessimism revolves around current federal financial insolvency. In response to the Bush administration’s borrowing of $4 trillion in eight years, Barack Obama, as a presidential candidate, called such profligacy “irresponsible” and even “unpatriotic”—only as president to trump Bush’s debt in three years.
Democrats now talk grandly of going back to the Clinton-era income tax schedules to balance budgets as was done between 1998 and 2000. Republicans counter that, since 2001, spending has soared to such levels that even a return to the old income tax rates would not come close to ending the serial annual deficits of $1.5 trillion without massive budget cuts—deemed intolerable by Democrats. The worried public senses that sometime very soon there are going to be either massive new taxes or historic cutbacks in federal spending, and most likely both.