Grampa Bunning’s Fight for His Kids

March 8, 2010 | by | Topic: Economics & Political SystemsPrint Print

Seventy-eight-year-old Jim Bunning has nine children and 40 grandchildren. Last week, Daily Kos, a progressive blog, made the Hall of Fame pitcher and U.S. senator a poster boy for the “The Party of Mean” because he asked Congress to pay for a $10 billion extension of unemployment benefits. Bunning didn’t oppose the jobless assistance. He merely asked Congress to abide by President Obama’s “pay-as-you-go” executive order to pay for the legislation rather than increase our gigantic deficit. When a grandfather who isn’t seeking re-election draws fire from the far left, the rest of the country should listen.

Here’s an exchange Senator Bunning had with conservative radio talk show host Sean Hannity last Wednesday:

Hannity: You have 40 grandkids?
Bunning: Yeah.
Hannity: Holy moly! That’s a lot of grandkids, senator.
Bunning: Well, I’ve got nine children. They’re active.
Hannity: (laughter) That cracks me up.
Bunning: We’re spending the money, my generation. My nine children and my 40 grandchildren are going to get handed the bill. And even the head of the Federal Reserve (Ben Bernanke), who I disagree with most of the time, said we can’t sustain this. And even some of the rating agencies are looking at our debt rating. And you know what happens if they downgrade our debt?
Hannity: Yeah, from triple A. It’s now in jeopardy. We’re in trouble.
Bunning: We’re in big, deep trouble.
Hannity: … Are you saying that Treasury Bonds could be worthless?
Bunning: I’m not saying they’ll be worthless but you’re going to have a devil of a time selling them if they get downgraded below triple A.
Hannity: Do you think this could happen in the near future?
Bunning: I think it could happen within the next year. I mean, if the healthcare bill passes and it’s unpaid for and it costs over a trillion dollars and we don’t pay for it, I think that’s the last straw.

What does Bunning mean by “last straw?”

Free Press published a collection of columnist George Will’s opinion editorials in 1990 titled “Suddenly.” The title is a reference to the speed at which the Soviet empire collapsed at the end of the Cold War. Could the United States collapse as quickly?

Niall Ferguson describes in the March/April issue of Foreign Affairs why he believes, contrary to popular interpretation, empires throughout the ages have fallen apart swiftly as opposed to a gradual demise. So what does Ferguson think about the future of the American empire?

He writes, “One day, a seemingly random piece of bad news—perhaps a negative report by a rating agency—will make headlines during an otherwise quiet news cycle. Suddenly, it will be not just a few policy wonks who worry about sustainability of U.S. fiscal policy but also the public at large, not to mention investors abroad. … The next phase of the current crisis may begin when the public begins to reassess the credibility of the monetary and fiscal measures that the Obama administration has taken in response.” Ferguson concludes saying, “Empires behave like all complex adaptive systems. They function in apparent equilibrium for some unknowable period. And then, quite abruptly, they collapse.”

Hannity: Do you think we’re heading for collapse?
Bunning: No, I’m praying to God that we can stop this mess before it occurs ….

I have a feeling that Bunning knows the U.S. could collapse quickly and he doesn’t want that future for his nine children and 40 grandchildren. America, we should listen to this elder statesman.

Lee Wishing

Lee Wishing

Lee S. Wishing, III, is the administrative director of The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College.

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