All those worried whether Uncle Sam will raise the debt ceiling have it backward.
Raising the debt limit from its present $16.7 trillion is easy. Just takes the stroke of a pen. It will get done.
The real worry, however, should be what happens after it is raised. Heck, we could raise it to $100 trillion so we don’t have to revisit this artificial silliness every year or so.
But then what?
Then the chickens come home to roost, which here means we are paralyzed with debt. Or we become a banana republic and pay for it by printing inflated dollars. Neither is good.
Our first 42 presidents drove our debt to $5 trillion. As a presidential candidate in 2008, then-Sen. Obama chided Bush 43, noting that he “added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman, and child.”
Well, if our president was horrified at the debt going from $5 to $9 trillion on President Bush’s watch, how does he now feel about it going from $9 to $17 trillion in just five years on his watch? More important, what is he seriously doing about it?
I am afraid we, as a country, are fat and cooked. In 1960, 26 percent of federal spending went to payments for individuals. In 2011 it was 65 percent. Call it whatever you want — “welfare” for everyone — but no matter the label, the math simply does not work.
I wonder whether this is what Rome felt like before the mighty empire fell of its own weight?
However depressing this all is, there may be one saving grace. I call it Einstein’s theory of economic relativity, and it goes like this: We as a nation may be screwed, but since you — the rest of the world — are screwed more, we (still) win.
Now if only we could shut down Congress.
William Choslovsky, Lincoln Park
Putting Columbus and his times in perspective
We of the pre-World War Two era remember our era’s history class teachers painting a simple picture of Columbus. He was depicted as a brave man who against all odds set sail into the unknown to prove the world was round and not flat. He proved his point but reached the Americas and not the planned trade route to India he had in mind to establish a spice trade. Eons later, historians would go on record to say that the invention of the printing press and the discovery of America were the two events that shaped the world what it is today.
However, some of today’s teachers tell their students that Columbus was a cruel marauder who abused the Indians he met and even brought some back for the European slave trade and that he should not be honored. In fact, some schools have gone so far as to drop Columbus Day as a school holiday. Strange as it may be, we still honor President Jackson on a daily basis by having named a Chicago street after him, forgetting he was a cruel slave owner.
Columbus was a product of his era where slave labor often drove the economic engine world wide. In fact, the Colosseum was built using Roman slave labor. Decades later, we in America followed that lead and built the White House using African-American slave labor and being vindicated 200 years later by having an African-American president reside in it. And yes, it was a slave-based plantation economy that financed it.
While we Americans celebrate Columbus Day, our Canadian cousins will be celebrating John Cabot Day (born Giovanni Caboto). He was the first European to actually set foot on their shores in 1497.
Walter Santi, Bloomingdale
Tea Partiers don’t believe in democracy
Anyone who declares themselves a Tea Party Republican is guilty of treason. They do not believe in democracy or the Constitution of the United States. If the Democrats don’t take back the House, we are doomed to failure on every issue.
Michael Shepherd, Bellwood