Bye, Nancy. Thanks for Bankruptcy!

By David Marshall Published on January 5, 2023

Nancy Pelosi is gone. Not from Congress, but at least from congressional leadership. It’s time to tell her good-bye, and thanks for all she’s done for us.

The Biggest Deadbeat in the Solar System

In the early 1980s, federal debt approached a trillion dollars. Ronald Reagan considered that number nearly incomprehensible. Our government owed a third of the country’s total annual income to our creditors.

Now national debt has hit some 135% of America’s income, and interest on that debt alone is some two grand per man, woman, and child this year. Yet no one complains anymore. I listened in vain to hear the subject raised in Democratic primary debates in 2020. The fact that no one cared was underlined by what Democrats did chatter about: vast new spending programs. And then they passed as much of those bills as they could get away with.

Even most conservatives seem to have forgotten that in sheer tonnage of gold bullion, America is now the biggest deadbeat in the solar system, if not the whole galaxy. We owe, we owe, it’s off to work … some of us go, while more and more people opt out of employment and simply let government checks roll in.

Nancy’s Legacy to America

Vast numbers boggle the mind. Think, instead, of your house. America is like the Building and Loan business, as George Bailey explained in “It’s A Wonderful Life”: “Your money’s in Joe’s house…right next to yours. And in the Kennedy house, and Mrs. Macklin’s house, and a hundred others.”

Indeed, our money is largely in the houses we inhabit. The average home value in the country is now a bit over $400,000, though that’s likely to dip this new year. Suppose your family owns just such a house of average value, free and clear. So sorry, you don’t. Because for a family of four, your portion of the national debt is now edging close to $400,000, and will whiz past that figure in 2023.

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Over the course of my life, we have spent like drunken sailors. What have we gained from this vast spending spree?

The glorious career of Nancy Pelosi, for one thing. This is her legacy to America: your walls and the studs inside them and the nails in those studs are effectively owed by the federal government to investors around the world. The house you have slaved, wept, and prayed for, the beams your kids marked with their inches and feet of growth, the pillows your lab pup shredded, and the couch in your living room where your daughter cried after coming home from the worst date, ever, is essentially now owed to strangers around the world who purchase U.S. government bonds.

Placing Blame For This Mind-Boggling Debt

“Now wait one minute!” Mrs. Pelosi will reply. “Federal debt is mainly the fault of Republican presidents, beginning with your beloved Ronald Reagan! The deficit almost tripled while he was in office! And look at this chart — it always grows by leaps and bounds during Republican administrations!”

You’ve probably seen such charts, because this is a stock, but deeply dishonest, Democratic answer. To which I reply:

  1. Yes, many Republicans are as irresponsible and feckless as well. That includes both “compassionate conservatives” like George W. Bush and “populists” like Donald Trump. (Because handing out “money for nothing” is always popular.)
  2. Reagan had two good excuses. First, he used some of that money to win the Cold War. Not only did that mean a megaton of nukes off our heads, it also meant America could lower defense spending for several decades afterwards, saving vast sums. (Which Pelosi and her colleagues frittered away.) Second, what mostly caused the debt to soar during the Reagan years were the inflation-fighting measures of Fed chairman Paul Volcker. Republicans didn’t cause the inflation he fought, nor (mostly) the inflation we suffer from now.
  3. Spending bills begin in the House of Representatives, not the White House. You, Mrs. Pelosi, have served in the House since the Reagan Administration, when Jim Wright was Speaker. You have been a leader yourself since 2001. When you assumed that role, debt was 33% of Gross National Product. Since then its share of GNP has quadrupled, rising far higher than it was even during the dire emergencies of World War II. Do you seriously want to deny your responsibility?
  4. Most of the costly programs that are ruining us were instituted by Democrats: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare. Spending on these programs rises even if the president doesn’t move a finger. Granted, desperate Americans need some sort of safety net. One can argue whether or not such programs are the best way to ensure the financial and physical health of those in need. But it is absurd to pretend that a president can magically halt the vast majority of federal spending. It’s baked into the pie. Congress needs to take mandatory spending programs in hand, or they will spiral upwards forever.
  5. You and your party have adamantly refused to do that. Remember when Paul Ryan had the temerity to suggest that our resources are less than infinite, and that adjustments need to be made before we go broke? Did you support him, clearly calling for a grand political alliance to solve America’s budget problems? I don’t remember you doing that. I do remember a “progressive” ad accusing Ryan of wanting to throw Grandma over a cliff in a wheelchair. From Pelosi, we got a demagogic attack on Ryan’s attempt at lessening the deficit, then lots more spending. Spooked, few Republicans dared again talk like grownups about reining in our wild spending.

Leveraging Political Power to Enrich Themselves — But Not Us

Enough of that talk to Pelosi. She hasn’t listened before and she won’t now. She herself is now worth up to $170 million, thanks to her husband’s stock investments, and a fair harvest of grapes from her estate and vineyard on the Napa River. We know how Pelosi allies like Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack and Michelle Obama, and the Biden family leveraged political power to enrich themselves.

But the Golden Goose — our bank accounts, our stocks and other securities, and those houses — is getting butchered and plucked, and will be cooked shortly. Our net worth is becoming increasingly unreal, thanks in large part to the congresswoman from Napa. If you happen to have amassed enough of a fortune to stay ahead of Biden Inflation and Pelosi tax increases, lucky you. Much of your surplus will need to go into the kitty, as well.

May the Pelosis enjoy their grapes. Not so much before driving, though, Mr. Pelosi, or you might careen out of control, like the budget that was largely in the hands of your wife.

We Handed the Keys to Drunken Reprobates

And now to address some other (ir)responsible people: the ones who let this happen, who encouraged it, even. Who handed the keys of the American vehicle of state over to such drunken reprobates? We on the Right blame Democrats, the Media, and an academic establishment that has convinced young people to vote for the very people who are selling them as debt slaves to the nation’s creditors. True enough. Ultimately all Americans share the blame, however. We have been greatly blessed. But like the Prodigal Son in Jesus’ famous story, we fritter away our heritage in a far country on false friends, fatty foods, and fast women, idols of the pocketbook, the market, and the mind.

Nancy Pelosi and her colleagues on both sides of the aisle gave Americans what we asked for. It is easier, it seems, to become slaves, than remain free and responsible citizens.


David Marshall, an educator and writer, has a doctoral degree in Christian thought and Chinese tradition. His most recent book is The Case for Aslan: Evidence for Jesus in the Land of Narnia. 

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