The Fat Maharajah of Washington

By | August 1, 2016 | 0 Comments


When I was a boy, I saw a photo of a fat man sitting in one pan of a beam balance, with the other pan filled with gold bars and coins. I believe he was the Maharajah of Travancore in India. The ancient custom there was to weigh their prince annually, then give his weight in gold as charity.
As Election Day approaches, I can’t get that picture out of my mind. The self-righteous ruler sits on one side of the balance, while on the other rests a pile of gleaming gold bars and coins. Yes, it was a hypocritical charade to placate the people and mislead them into tolerating an unjust state of affairs. But at least it looked good.
The people loved him to eat well, because the fatter he got, the more gold they got. The maharajah and his cronies remained unbelievably rich, while most of his people remained unbearably poor. Of course, the maharajah’s money came from the people themselves, and only a small part went back to them. But at least it was a nice gesture.
We now look back on these customs as primitive, but who is really primitive? The fatter their ruler got, the more gold went back to the people of Travancore. But the fatter our government gets, the more gold it demands from our people. In effect, Democrats and big-government Republicans are putting an obese, bloated government in one pan of the balance, then forcing us to fill the other pan with our hard-earned money.
They act as if they were the Maharajahs of Washington.
And when the pans don’t balance, which they have not for years, these greedy politicians never, for one moment, entertain the thought that the government might go on a diet. No, each new fold of flab, each new bulge of flesh, demands not bariatric surgery, or even skipping desserts for a week − but always more gold from the people.
How dare we call the Maharajah of Travancore a backward ruler, when compared to our government he was enlightened and frugal? In effect, we have reversed his ancient custom. The fatter he got, the more money he gave to his people. The fatter our government gets, the more money it demands from our people.
But what is the alternative?

● What happens when some (not all) Republicans point out that rising deficits and rising debt cannot continue forever − or even for much longer?

● What happens when realists point out that with a faltering economy, a significant rise in tax rates now would be destructive, so colossal overspending goes from eventually unsustainable to acutely dangerous.

● What happens when economists point out that there are only two ways to finance this deficit? (1) Borrow the money by selling bonds to foreigners, largely China − until our credit is destroyed and foreigners stop buying the bonds, and start dumping them. (2) Create more money out of thin air − until the value of the dollar, and our people’s life savings, are destroyed.

● What happens when politicians appropriate over $1 trillion, then reluctantly agree to cut less than $40 billion, and bleat about “the biggest annual spending cut in history”? They increase spending astronomically, then cut the increase (not the total budget) by a few percent − and still complain about drastic cuts.

● What happens when ordinary citizens demand that their government do what they do − live within its means?

I’ll tell you what happens. Democratic leaders announce that Republicans have “declared war on the poor” and are “bombing innocent civilians.” They proclaim that Republicans want to “kill women,” “stop cancer screening,” and “take away seniors’ food.” And this is only a sample of the toxic rhetoric.
This is stridently partisan politics at its worst. But it goes beyond − or below − even that. The picture that comes to mind is that of bratty children, spoiled rotten, but still ungrateful, demanding, entitled, complaining, whining.
There they are in the ice-cream shop. They got their double-scoop cones, and their faces and clothes are smeared with ice cream. But they want still more. How much more? Just more. Always more. And when their intimidated parents meekly suggest that they’ve had more than enough already, they throw a tantrum of epic proportions. They yell, they cry, they stamp their feet, they make a spectacle of themselves, they block other customers from being served − and they scream at their parents, “I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!”
Yes, spoiled-rotten Democrats are primarily to blame. But the rest of us must share the blame. After all, who spoiled them? Who gave in to their every demand, no matter how expensive or impractical? Who allowed the federal budget to consume an ever larger slice of the national pie?


Who were too cowardly to stand up to the wild accusations of being anti-child, anti-woman, anti-poor, anti-minority, anti-elderly − even anti-American? We were.
But now there is no more time to waste. Our nation stands on the brink of economic catastrophe. It may not come this year, but it surely will come − unpredictably, suddenly. We can’t go on spending much more than we take in. We can’t go on expecting foreigners, who have no love for us, to continue soaking up our debt forever. We can’t go on creating money out of thin air − not even bothering to print it, but merely fabricating it in cyberspace.
Cyberspace is where children play video games, not where adults run an economy. Video games don’t really exist, but people know it. Cyber wealth doesn’t really exist either, but most people don’t know it. Eventually they will find out, perhaps sooner than we expect.

● Isn’t it odd that people ridicule the idea that God created the universe out of nothing, yet they believe that the government can create wealth out of nothing? Talk about delusions of grandeur!

● Isn’t it odd that people ridicule the idea that Jesus fed a multitude with a few loaves and fishes, yet they believe that they can feed unlimited millions of immigrants, as well as provide free health care and free college education?

● Isn’t it odd that people believe they can outsource millions of jobs overseas, yet still have an affluent nation?

● Isn’t it odd that people believe in Keynes’ “spend yourself rich” economics, but they forget that Keynes said, “Everyone can’t make a living by taking in everyone else’s laundry.” Isn’t this precisely what the “information economy” represents? A nation that can’t make its own clothes or shoes is not a real nation, no matter what the “globalists” tell us. Somebody actually must produce something, about which somebody else can process information. Otherwise, it’s all just electronic entertainment.

● Isn’t it odd that people believe in Keynes’ “spend yourself rich” economics, but they forget that Keynes also said, “The best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, government can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens.” No, on second thought, they remember it very well − they want us to forget it.

The fat Maharajah of Travancore sat in smug self-righteousness on one pan of the balance, grandly giving his weight in gold to the poor each year. It was a charade, but at least it was a pleasant one. The even fatter Maharajah of Washington, bloated beyond all reason, demands that we match his ever-increasing bulk by giving him even more of our gold. But we’re running out of gold. And this charade is very far from pleasant. In fact, it’s becoming really annoying.
Rather than recurring charades of impending government shutdowns and last-minute negotiations, we need a permanent fix. Whether it is a balanced-budget amendment or some other mechanism, it must be foolproof. We may run out of clean water or clean air, but we will never run out of fools − certainly not in Washington.
If diets don’t work, we must prescribe a lap-band. True, surgery can be painful and even dangerous. But in cases of extreme obesity, it can be life-saving.

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