You can tell how freaking out of touch these people are by the giant banner hanging behind Jake "The Snake" Tapper as they opine: IS THE U.S. HEADED TOWARD BANKRUPTCY?
NO, JAKE! NO, WE'RE NOT. WE HAVE A FIAT CURRENCY, YOU CAN LOOK THAT UP.
All the tidal opinion currents of the Very Serious People are flowing toward one thing: Their beloved Grand Bargain, now perceived in the form of the Simpson-Bowles Super Master Economic Plan, is the lighthouse beacon toward which these political lemmings swim. All will be well, if only the little people will give up their stubborn insistence on food and medical care in their old age. Dear God, don't they understand?
You see, of course, who's missing from this ominous roundtable: Us.
TAPPER: Do you hear that in the distance?
Two ticking time bombs threatening to send the economy back into recession or worse.
The first, just over four months until it detonates. It's that fiscal cliff you've heard about. Unless Washington gets its act together...
From Clip: Let's get the job done and let's not play political games.
TAPPER: A big if, as we ring in 2013, the ball will also drop on the economy -- huge automatic government spending cuts, $110 billion total. That's like wiping out the economy of both the Dakotas and Montana overnight. Good-bye Mount Rushmore.
Simultaneously, tax increases will kick in for everyone -- the Bush income tax cuts, gone. The same with the payroll tax cuts. For a middle class family of four, a tax bill more than $2,000 higher. And that's just the short-term challenge.
This is a giant shell game based around one thing only: Avoiding inflation so rich people don't lose money on their investments. This goal is so widely accepted in the Village as Very Serious Economics, they don't even mention it. It's for the greater good, don't you know.
Their panel is front-loaded with those people who already agree with them. I mean, Grover freaking Norquist? That anyone would include him in a serious discussion about anything other than his role as perpetual spoiler is beyond me.
The long-term picture even worse.
And that brings us to the second time bomb. As the baby boomers retire, the commitments we've made to seniors will balloon. Over the next 75 years, Medicare will run a deficit of more than $30 trillion. That's two times the entire size of the United States economy.
Social Security will run out of money in just 20 years.
In short, if nothing is done, our national debt poses a clear and present danger to the United States.
And, yes, politicians have been warning about the nation's debt for decades, but already this year, we've seen economies destroyed by debt -- overseas in Greece, Italy and Spain. And here at home, with Stockton, California; San Bernardino.
So the big question -- are we next? Is the U.S. headed toward bankruptcy?
Who writes this swill? Jake, a serious question: You actually believe that the economy of the United States is comparable to Greece? Really? You've been listening to whacky Peter Schiff again, haven't you? Jake, some advice: You should not be in the business of journalism when your talents so clearly lie in the direction of PR.
Wait, I guess that's the same thing now.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
TAPPER: So with that, let's start with our first topic, which will be entitlement spending, specifically, can we fix the nation's finances without cutting entitlement benefits?
That's Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, other mandatory spending programs.
Kim, can we?
KIMBERLEY STRASSEL, COLUMNIST AND EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": No, we can't. You know, we talk all the time about -- have fights over highway bills and farm bills, all this discretionary spending. Those things that you just mentioned, they are 60 percent of the federal budget. And we are already facing a huge problem. Medicare could go bust in as little as eight or nine years. We're already paying out more for Social Security than we're taking in.
And one of the problems here is that what we have to decide is -- is how we are going to rein in the costs.
Right away, you see the problem here. Strassel is from the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal. Said editorial board is famous for being plain batsh*t crazy, frequently contradicting the actual reporting done by its own staff. If you want someone you can take seriously, you don't invite someone from the Wall Street Journal editorial board, which exists only to inflame. They don't do nuance, as Strassel illustrates.