“This is the United States of America,” declared President Obama to the burghers of Liberty, Missouri, on Friday. “We’re not some banana republic.”
He was talking about the Annual Raising of the Debt Ceiling, which glorious American tradition seems to come round earlier every year. “This is not a deadbeat nation,” President Obama continued. “We don’t run out on our tab.” True. But we don’t pay it off, either. We just keep running it up, ever higher. And every time the bartender says, “Mebbe you’ve had enough, pal,” we protest, “Jush another couple trillion for the road. Set ’em up, Joe.” And he gives you that look that kinda says he wishes you’d run out on your tab back when it was $23.68.
Still, Obama is right. We’re not a banana republic, if only because the debt of banana republics is denominated in a currency other than their own – i.e., the U.S. dollar. When you’re the guys who print the global currency, you can run up debts undreamt of by your average generalissimo. As Obama explained in another of his recent speeches, “Raising the debt ceiling, which has been done over a hundred times, does not increase our debt.” I won’t even pretend to know what he and his speechwriters meant by that one, but the fact that raising the debt ceiling “has been done over a hundred times” does suggest that spending more than it takes in is now a permanent feature of American government. And no one has plans to do anything about it. Which is certainly banana republic-esque.Or banana republic-ish. Or banana republic-like. In any case, cue that Al Green-esque president:
I am Barack Obama and I'm here to say
Let's raise out debt ceiling once again, okay?
So what if Red China owns our hearth and home
And Obamacare's defunded in the Capitol dome?
Entitlements'll keep 'em hungry,
And you know you'll want some more.
So you'll vote in more Obamas
'Cuz you like our free stuff store.