Yes we are. And, no one explains it quite like the inimitable Mark Steyn.
If the national debt doesn’t matter, why have taxes at all?” Particularly when you no longer have to “print” money, you can just quantitatively ease yourself into it. Once we raise the old debt ceiling, we’ll be pretty much at the point where the U.S. government is spending $4 trillion but only taking in $2 trillion: For every dollar we raise in taxes, we spend two. No surprise there: The “poorest” half of the population pay no federal income tax. They’re not exactly poor as the term would be understood in almost any other country, but in federal-revenue terms they’re dependents, so in order to fund government services for the wealthiest “poor” people on the planet we borrow money from a nation of subsistence peasants where pigs are such prized possessions they sleep in the house.
But, if you can spend $4 trillion of which $2 trillion is borrowed, why not borrow $3 trillion and make even more Americans dependent? Hell, why not borrow the whole lot? After all, the sums we’re borrowing right now — $188 million every hour of every day — are unprecedented. Wouldn’t it be easier if we just made them even more unprecedented? That way we could have a federal budget of $6 trillion, of which, say, $5 trillion is raised by issuing Treasury bonds for the Federal Reserve to buy. That would stimulate the economy by creating 17 jobs for any remaining Americans who still feel the need to leave the house every morning.
Under the 2011 budget, every hour of every day the government of the United States spends a fifth of a billion dollars it doesn’t have.