In today's Washington Post, Judson Phillips, the Tea Party Nation's founder, stakes out his organization's historic commitment to ineffable ignorance:
We do not have a debt crisis. We have a spending crisis. There is only one way you get to a debt crisis — you spend too much money.
Let us review with haste: No debt crisis here, just a spending crisis; however we to got to this debt crisis -- the one he just declared nonexistent -- by spending too much money.
But let's review in another way, shall we? Let's say you, Mr. Phillips, have $100, and you spend that $100, perhaps imprudently, even recklessly. Do you have a debt crisis? No, of course not. You're just broke.
The crisis, Mr. Phillips, comes when you borrow $100 for a tax cut, and borrow another $100 for another tax cut, and then borrow another $100 for a new entitlement program, and then borrow another $100 for a war, and then borrow yet another $100 for yet another war.
And then you skip town, you retire, let's say, to Texas, on a government pension, and you leave your entire, misbegotten indebtedness to your unfortunate successor.
In a way, Mr. Phillips, you're quite correct. You don't have a debt crisis. He does.
You see, Mr. Phillips, we can quibble from now till next week's apocalypse about the wisdom of all your spending; we can argue and differ and do both rather violently about the fiscal smarts or ideological stupidity behind all of it; we can both haul out charts and graphs and think-tank propaganda to defend our respective positions -- but after all of that, one thing and only one thing will still be standing with a magnificent terribleness: We still owe all that money you borrowed.
This isn't like your world, Mr. Phillips, which is to say, it's not make-believe. These are real debts that we really owe. And beginning next month, unless we borrow more, we simply cannot repay them all. And that's called default, defined by Webster's as "a failure to pay financial debts."
Catch that, Mr. Phillips? Webster casts no moral or partisan or ideological judgment here; he doesn't on p. 300 of his tome point a finger at us and add: "because you spent too much money."