The only time you’re ever likely to see Ke$ha and Rep. Tom Reed appear in the same sentence: The freshman House Republican is touting a clock of his own, and he may be onto something. Reed wants the House to install a real-time display of the United States’ gross national debt right there in its chamber.
Tick tock on the clock, but the party don’t stop.
So sings Ke$ha — a pop singer on whom I might have built my street cred when referring to her at a recent high school Career Day, had I not pronounced her name “Kay-ee-dollar-sign-ha.”
While the partying don’t stop in the clubs, what don’t stop in Washington is the spending. Which brings us to the only time you’re ever likely to see Ke$ha and Rep. Tom Reed appear in the same sentence.
The freshman House Republican is touting a clock of his own, and he may be onto something. Reed wants the House to install a real-time display of the United States’ gross national debt right there in its chamber.
“The debt clock will be a distinct reminder that our national debt must always be our first consideration as we continue to spend money that we do not have,” Reed said.
I’ll say! I could just see the readout whirring as Speaker John Boehner tearfully gavels the House into session.
Reed’s idea probably hits a little too close to home. After all, who signs off on much of the spending that keeps the figures mounting? We’ll likely hear there’s some House restriction against displaying electronic devices.
That is too bad because, frankly, we could use not just one debt clock but — let’s see ... 435 House members ... 100 Senators ... a president — at least 536 of them. Every elected official should have a running tally on a gizmo attached to their lapel keeping track of the amount of money toward the national debt they personally have contributed to through their votes and related actions in office. Better yet, individualized debt clocks to tell us how much any initiative would cost in real time as they discuss it — with a bell for every billion dollars it tallies.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said: “When we lower tax rates, we generate more in revenues.” KA-CHING!
President Obama: “We can get our fiscal house in order, but we can do it in a way that is consistent with our values and who we are as a people.” KA-CHING! KA-CHING! KA-CHING!
Where does all this ka-chinging lead? As Reed pointed out, from 1791 to 1984 –– a period of 194 years –– the total accumulated federal deficit was $1.5 trillion. Since then, we have added almost $13 trillion more.
That kind of deficit spending is just — and I quote astute political observer Ke$ha — crunk. So bring on the clocks, they can’t hurt.
But more importantly, bring on the big ideas by folks like Rep. Paul Ryan. The Wisconsin Republican’s 10-year budget blueprint, approved Friday by the House, calls for some $6 trillion in spending cuts.
Bring on the big alternatives. Obama responded to the Ryan plan with his own deficit-trimming vision. The two plans’ priorities are different, but their goal of tackling the deficit is the same.
And, finally, bring on the grown-up discussion. Down with the health care-vote-style, them-or-us intransigence. Up with the horse-trading we’ve seen since the Republicans took over the House in November.
Whether or not Rep. Reed’s deficit clock is installed in the House, the countdown to fiscal insolvency is nonetheless hurtling forward at breakneck speed. Tick tock.
Kevin Frisch’s column, Funny Thing ..., appears each Sunday in the Daily Messenger. Contact him at (585) 394-0770, ext. 257, or via e-mail at email@example.com.