One if by land

The great victory of the debt ceiling denouement is not that no new taxes were passed, though that fact is summarily positive. It is not that spending cuts will happen, though they may be too small, too distant, or in the wrong areas (e.g., defense).

The big win for America is that you now know what a debt ceiling is. Could you have defined the term a year ago? What we mainly knew then is what we’ve always been taught: in America, the sky is the limit. If we can dream it, we can do it.

As a result of the debt crisis, America is more educated than ever about her growing debt, her weakening credit report, her worsening shopaholism. We the People now know that our motherland can’t borrow and spend in perpetuity.

Our nation was collectively unconscious of this fact when the debt ceiling rose incrementally from, say, $5 trillion to $14 trillion. We essentially believed that O Beautiful’s purple mountains and fruited plains exempted her from the laws of economics and reality.

But fiscal unsustainability sneaks up on you like a Texas drought. All of a sudden, it’s the end of July and you had more rain last September than you’ve had every month since combined. Suddenly, you have more debt and commitments than revenues to support them. You can’t afford hay to feed the cattle and you can’t afford to pay for what you’ve promised.

If there is anything good that has come from the Obama-Reid-Pelosi buying binge of 2006 – 2010, it is the rise of the so-called Tea Party. These patriots sounded the alarm that the British entitlements are coming, the British entitlements are coming.

They united as a voice in the desert. They changed the debate from “Whom do we tax in order to generate the revenues we need to fund the programs we have created?” to “What do we cut in order to eliminate the need to fund the programs we should have never created?”

And this achievement without control of the Senate or the White House. But by American math, one-third + the will of the people = a majority.

We are by no means out of the woods. There is a lot of forest from sea to shining sea.

But the debate is now being held on a center-right stage, where polls show our nation consistently falls (40% conservative, 40% moderate, only 20% liberal).

The collapsing economies of European entitlement states have helped solidify the debate backdrop. So have the recently released dismal U.S. GDP numbers (under 1% average growth over the last 2 quarters).

But we can not forget the patriots who rode like Revere through the night of profligacy to warn us of the tyranny of debt.

Kevin Thompson is a former chief of staff in the Texas House of Representatives. He is now vice president of Texas Heritage Bank. Subscribe to his columns at

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 209 other followers


%d bloggers like this: