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Rome wasn't burnt in a day

The Real Deal on how politicians, bureaucrats, and other Washington barbarians are bankrupting America. Read an excerpt.

Here’s the Real Deal! The same Washington politicians who took control of Congress by promising to balance the federal budget are now bankrupting America by launching the biggest spending spree in the history of the United States.

With big-spending Democrats at their side, President George Bush and his “conservative” Republican Congress have controlled the government’s checkbook while the national debt has skyrocketed past seven trillion dollars. That’s right, $7,000,000,000,000. How has the party of Reagan become the party of big- government spending?

Now former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough delivers a scathing indictment of Republicans and Democrats alike in the same informed, hard-hitting, and entertaining style fans of Scarborough Country have come to admire. Having had a ringside seat during his four terms in the House of Representatives, Scarborough gives the inside scoop on how Washington really works and on the spending orgy the Republicans have fueled the last ten years.

Read an excerpt of Scarborough's book, below: ()

Chapter One: The Raw Deal

Telling Americans the uncomfortable truth about their government has angered Democratic presidents, Republican Speakers, and party bosses of all stripes for as long as I can recall. But this truth-telling approach I’ve adopted was responsible for getting an unknown thirty-one-year- old elected to Congress in a Florida district that had not sent a Republican to the House of Representatives in more than a hundred years. And it was that same straight-talking style that got me re-elected in landslide elections three times. But my methods did little to endear me to party bosses or committee chairmen who preferred to pepper news outlets with press releases to keep the natives happy while operating quietly behind closed doors constantly consolidating power. As was the case in Congress, I still believe that sunlight is the best disinfectant to cure the ills of Washington. So political hacks of the world beware. It’s time for Americans to tear down the gates of the Imperial Congress and let some sunlight illuminate the grim realities of congressional business. As I say on my cable news show, it’s time for the “Real Deal.”

My fellow Republicans, Congress, the president, and national party bosses have conspired with Democratic politicians, lawyers, and bureaucrats to indulge in the most reckless federal spending spree in U.S. history. How reckless, you ask? Well, in just three years since George W. Bush was elected president, your Republican-run Congress took a $155 billion surplus and turned it into a staggering $455 billion deficit. These self-described conservatives did it in part by passing a staggering array of pork-barrel bills, billion-dollar farm subsidies, and trillion-dollar entitlement programs that America cannot afford.

At the same time, Republican congressmen voted into power in 1994 under the platform of cutting wasteful Washington spending have worked with liberal Democrats to strap you and your unsuspecting fellow Americans over the course of the last decade with the largest annual budget deficit and federal debt in the history of the United States. Most get reelected with ease by telling the folks back home that they still support smaller government and balanced budgets. But when they return to Congress, these politicians meekly fall in line. That is why the U.S. National Debt Clock in New York City blinked wildly out of control as it streaked somewhere north of $7 trillion.

Seven Trillion Dollars! Dear God.

Jesus, Drugs, and Debt

$7,000,000,000,000+ is an impossible numerical concept for most Americans to grasp. Since I spent my undergraduate years at the University of Alabama, I adopted former football coach Bear Bryant’s skeptical view of numbers. “It’s kinda hard to rally a campus around some math class,” the Bear opined. I agreed and avoided math like the plague in college, relying instead on the goodness and pity of others when it came time to comprehend basic mathematical concepts. Fortunately, back when I was in Congress, Michigan representative Nick Smith was kind enough to draw diagrams in crayons to help me understand just how hard it would be to pay off America’s multitrillion-dollar debt.

Nick told me back then, as I tucked my abacus safely into my office drawer, that if I had earned $1 million every single day from the moment Jesus Christ was born until the year 2000, I would still not have earned enough money to pay off America’s debt. And that ominous calculation was drawn up four years before Congress went on one of the wildest spending sprees in U.S. history.

Even with the federal deficit and national debt spiraling out of control in recent years, Democrats and Republicans both began pushing for the passage of a national drug benefit for America’s ever-expanding senior population. Politicians on both sides of the aisle spent most of the Medicare drug debate acting like burnt-out ‘70s rock stars. Armed with an endless supply of your cash, these public prima donnas continued paying for their drug fix even after the accountants and lawyers gave them the grim news that their budget surplus had disappeared into a sea of red ink. But in Washington, the band always plays on. There are no Willie Nelsons, no Mick Fleetwoods, no MC Hammers, no repossessed hot tubs. That’s because when Washington politicians run out of money, they just print more! Do I hear someone shouting, “Can’t touch this”?

Voting for what America’s comptroller general David Walker called an $8 billion boondoggle was indefensible for Nick Smith. As the Medicare drug package approached the House floor, Smith says party leaders came to him with an offer too good to refuse: Support our drug deal and we will funnel $100,000 into your son’s congressional campaign. But Smith just said no to drugs, voted against adding $8 billion to America’s debt, and caused an ethics investigation to be launched into the alleged bribe.

Even mathematically challenged stooges like myself are able to figure out that Washington politicians are mortgaging our economic future and forcing this generation and the next to ultimately pay a painful financial price.

Forget for a minute the economic apocalypse our country will endure when baby boomers push Social Security, Medicare, and retirement programs to the brink of bankruptcy. Instead, focus on what your congressman and senator are costing you and your family today.

Most Americans work half the year paying off taxes, fees, and regulations thrust on them by big-spending politicians at all levels of government. But these days your congressman’s culpability is not limited to tax day. You now pay for their carelessness every time you pay your monthly credit card bill, student loan, car lease, or home mortgage. Just as economists have been predicting for years, Washington’s runaway deficits are now causing interest rates to move back up. As investment guru Steven Rattner recently told the New York Times, “The question is not whether interest rates will continue to go up. But rather how far and how fast.”

The foregoing is excerpted from 'Rome Wasn’t Burnt in a Day' by Joe Scarborough. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022