Bracing the walls of D.C.

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By John Pawlak

There was a homeowner who wanted to rid his house of roaches.  A friend suggested using an aerosol spray called a “roach bomb.” You put the can in a room and turn it on (activating a continuous spray), exit the room, and let the fumes seek out and bomb the little critters.  The homeowner thought it over ... if one bomb per room is good, several bombs per room is better!  He bought a couple cases of roach bombs, set off several aerosols in each room, and ran out of the house.

Slowly, the house filled up with the mist ... the flammable mist ... the flammable mist that eventually found the stove’s pilot light.  Yeah, the house exploded.  But it has to make you wonder ... Did it kill the roaches?

Okay, I didn’t really want to discuss blowing up houses.  Quite the converse, I wanted to talk about what it takes to hold one together.

Most people think that the walls of a house support the ceiling. That’s true of course, but equally true is the fact that the ceiling supports the walls. If not for the ceiling providing stability, the walls would come crashing down.  So here’s the question ... just how high can you build a wall? Is there a theoretical limit to how high the ceiling can be?

Sen. Lamar Alexander, one of the great architects (deep, very deep) in the bowels of Washington D.C. has an issue with ceilings.  Earlier this year, the senator led the opposition against congress’ efforts to raise the national debt limit (the ceiling defining how much the government can spend).  What confused me is why the senator felt this was an issue ... that is, why an issue “now.”

As governor of Tennessee, Alexander didn’t mind Reagan raising that ceiling, nor raising the national debt from $800 billion to $2.4 trillion. As secretary of education under Bush Sr., Alexander again did not object.  The national debt rose another $1.6 Trillion.  Even under Clinton, he didn’t object ... and the national debt increased another $1.6 trillion.

And as a senator during Bush Jr.’s administration, Alexander didn’t object to raising the ceiling multiple times, raising the national debt $4.6 trillion (nearly doubling it).  But now, now he feels that those walls are in danger of crumbling and warned against raising the ceiling again.  

As much as I dislike the hypocritical cretin, I do agree with him.  The ceiling isn’t supporting anything.  It’s far too high and the walls are made out of defective imported Chinese drywall.  With all Republicans voting “No,” congress did raise the limit by $1.9 trillion, putting the new ceiling at a stratospheric $14.3 trillion.

Well, I’m a betting man.  I’m challenging anyone to place a bet with me.

When the Republicans take back control of the White House, I bet they won’t reverse the spending trend.  I bet that those walls will go even higher. I bet that the Republicans, Sen. Alexander included, will develop fiscal amnesia and that the discussion of voting against ceiling limits will not cross their lips.

No, no, no ... I’m not trashing the Republicans.  I’m trashing the Republicans and the Democrats. They’re two of a kind, dysfunctional twins from the same broken mold. Whether it’s spend and tax or spend and borrow, it has the same common denominator ... spending.  There just doesn’t seem to be any way to stop these guys from building those walls higher and higher and higher.

So now we have a $14.3 trillion ceiling.  Imagine 14.3 trillion sugar cubes stacked up in a single pile.  That stack would go further than the distance to the sun!  How blinding is that sweet analogy?

Perhaps there isn’t any solution to this problem, at least not one that Alexander and his friends are capable of or willing to propose. But I’m willing to help them.  I’m thinking that it might do some good if we send a few hundred thousand cases of roach bombs to Washington D.C. I’m sure there must be a pilot light somewhere over there.