Congress isn't just fiddling while America burns financially -- it's raiding our Treasury for even more money while it still can.
After purposely, and perhaps calculatingly, neglecting all year to write a budget for the country, Democrats in the "lame duck" session -- just before Christmas and before the government runs out of operating cash -- have dumped a $1.27 trillion pork-laden, 6,600-earmark spending bill on Congress, a nearly 2,000-page monster with warts few have yet seen.
After the Nov. 2 election, in which voters cried out for austerity, and with economic gloom about the land and federal bankruptcy and European-style unrest on the horizon, for Democrats to lead yet another raid on our Treasury to steal from American taxpayers is a historic slap in the face. It skirts criminality.
It strains credulity to believe this mammoth spending bill wasn't thrown together at the last minute to prevent its being read.
Of all the outrages perpetrated by this, the worst Congress in our history -- including a budget-busting, wholly ineffectual "stimulus" bill and a massive health-care bill Americans said they didn't want -- this spending bill may be the worst, merely for its brazenness.
The country already is on the verge of economic collapse because of Washington's unprecedented spending. This catch-all "omnibus" spending bill -- more accurately an "ominous" spending bill -- could be the truckload of straw that breaks the camel's back. It just might push our economy over the edge.
More specifically, when such out-of-control spending requires draconian austerity measures, most likely in 2011, social unrest may be inevitable -- including street protests that turn violent, such as we've seen in recent months in Greece, France and Great Britain. In Britain, the model of civility, Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, recently were set upon in their car by rioting students.
What makes us think we are somehow immune from such unrest or exempt from the laws of economics?
We're not. A Chinese rating agency already has downgraded America's credit rating -- significant, considering all the U.S. debt held by China. And credit rating agency Moody's warned this week that President Obama's tax compromise with Republicans -- because it's not offset by spending cuts -- could put the country's Triple-A credit rating at risk.
"It warned," writes Fortune's Colin Barr, "that unless Congress gets its act together, it could see a once-unthinkable downgrade of the U.S. credit rating on its watch, which could balloon U.S. borrowing costs and make our financing position much more costly."
And all that was before the nearly 2,000-page spending bill was plopped down.
Adding in the spending bill, Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government, makes it sound even more dire: "A credit downgrade will increase borrowing costs, result in a funding crisis, threaten the dollar's status as the world's reserve currency, and risk another global financial meltdown.
"The debt is an imminent threat to the nation's prosperity. The crisis we face will make the riots in Greece, France, and the UK over austerity measures appear to be benign."
In a few years, Wilson notes, U.S. debt could exceed the gross domestic product -- meaning our government could owe more than the entire private sector can produce in one year.
Democrats have to know what they are doing. In fact, there may be a grand strategy: On the way out the door, they play Santa Claus with taxpayer money -- then, when drastic cuts must be made, they blame Republicans, newly in control of the House next year.
History will know better.