Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin

The handwriting is on the wall!

Allow me to direct your minds to the Old Testament, Book of Daniel, chapter 5 and this famous phrase. The Bible tells the story of the Babylonian king Belshazzar, the son of Nebuchadnezzar, and a fancy party he threw for his retinue. To make it even more impressive for his thousand guests he commandeered gold and silver goblets from the Temple in Jerusalem and used them as wineglasses.

As Belshazzar and his guests grew tipsy, a man’s hand appeared and with its fingers wrote “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin” upon the wall! The king was frightened by this apparition and called his astrologers and wise men to read and interpret the writing. None were able to do so. But then the queen came to his rescue — it’s always the woman who solves the crisis, isn’t it? — with Daniel’s name.

Daniel came and began his interview by recounting the rise and fall of Nebuchadnezzar. He cited his fall from power as a result of his pride and cruelty. Then came Daniel’s interpretation of the writing. He said, “God has looked at you and your kingdom, weighed and found them wanting. Your kingdom is finished and will be given to the Medes and Persians.”

Belshazzar was murdered that night and Darius the Mede took over Babylon. This all happened circa 530 B.C. The Medes were from the kingdom of Media, a northern province of Persia (Iran today).

Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar were powerful potentates who destroyed their kingdoms. The father did so by alienating his subjects. They eventually deposed him and turned him out on the land as a beggar. The son was a wastrel and defiler of the temple’s sacred relics. In Belshazzar’s case, God used the Median Darius to handle the task.

So what does this story have to do with us today?

Let’s look at a few facts.

On January 7, 2011, our leader Barack Obama said this at the Thompson Creek Manufacturing Company in Landover, Md.: “We’ve got a big hole that we’re digging ourselves out of.”

As Mark Steyn observed, “The politician’s First Rule of Holes used to be, ‘when you find yourself in a hole, quit digging!’”

When our leader took office the Federal debt was 70% of GDP. It currently stands at 102% of GDP and the end is not in sight! He forgot to quit digging.

The Congressional Budget Office projects that taxes will rise by 30 percent over the next two years. That is of course for the 51 percent who pay income tax. The other 49 percent will only be affected by the rise in food prices. Oh wait a minute do you pay taxes on groceries if you are on food stamps?

So those of us who pull the wagon will have to work on paying down the federal deficit of $15,356,140,493,616. That was the debt as of February 2, 2012; the debt rises by $3,98 billion every day.

I could not resist the impulse to do the math. Our republic adds $2,763,889 to the national debt each minute. Even Belshazzar would have found that difficult to do. Now when you contemplate that number remember that that $1,105,556, or about 40 percent, is borrowed. To make your head spin even faster, know that we are borrowing money to pay the interest on money we have previously borrowed. The shell game we are witnessing in Washington would drive the ancient despots mad with envy.

Another factoid; there have been 15 million jobs lost since the glorious inauguration of our leader. The Bureau of Labor Statistics trumpets the current unemployed number of 8.3 percent. That is the number they release to the hoi-polloi. The BLS admits it had to shrink the universe of jobs in order to get that number. The real figure would be about 16 percent. Our leader has 535 viziers and wise Chaldeans who can’t or won’t interpret the handwriting on the wall.

And there is no Daniel to help him out.

So how will this crisis end? Like Nebuchadnezzar’s? Of course our exalted leader would not end as a beggar. Or like Belshazzar with Darius the Mede taking over the glorious leader’s country?

Larry Tradlener lives down McElmo Canyon.

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