Remember Mad Magazine and its fearless leader Alfred E. Neumann? His famous slogan, “What-Me-Worry?” increasingly seems to sum up our political elite from presidential candidates Bush and Gore to congressional leaders.
You see, when these career politicians act, thinking only about the next election and ignoring the long-term health of our society, well, isn’t that a lot like the little kids who would spend every last dime for candy, or even a copy of Mad Magazine, without a thought about tomorrow? The presidential campaign has been about how to spend the surplus rolling into Washington these days, and taking credit for creating it.
But a new report from the Congressional Budget Office suggests the surplus exists not because of any change in policy Clinton and Congress long ago broke the promised spending caps but because of unexpected revenue increases from an innovative private sector. The CBO warns that as baby-boomers retire the cost of Social Security, Medicare and other programs will shoot through the roof: “If the nation’s leaders do not change current policies . . . deficits are likely to reappear” and “drive debt to unsustainable levels.”
In other words, while Gore and Bush are telling us all they can do to spend this $5 trillion surplus well, it doesn’t exist. What are the career politicians in Congress doing? Spending money as fast as they can so they can take credit during their reelection campaigns. What-Me-Worry?
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.