FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
If you live in the real world, you will notice that the federal government has destroyed our free markets, limited our freedoms, and denigrated our right to religious liberty – all before Obamacare has fully taken effect. The federal agencies continue to promulgate rules and regulations that drive up the cost of the most vital goods and services to the point that most of us will require government subsidies just to afford our most basic necessities, most notably, health insurance.
Yet, for many Capitol Hill conservatives who live in an exclusive world of budget-speak, we are on the cusp of restoring our Constitutional Republic. You see, the upcoming CR (H.R. 933) will fund discretionary spending for the remaining 6 months of Fiscal Year 2013 at the level of $974 billion [well, it's actually $982 billion, but it's close enough to the original RSC number for members to become all sentimental over it]. Isn’t that awesome? Forget about focusing our message on things that actually penetrate the tin ear of the average voter, such as losing their healthcare under Obamacare. We’re talking about our victory over “974.”
Did you ever think that Republicans would rally around a cry of “974?” What does the number 974 mean to you? Not much. No wonder why Republicans have a terrible approval rating with the American public.
For quite some time, I’ve been trying to convey the message that limiting the harmful effects of big government and cutting spending in the abstract are not necessarily the same thing. There’s no doubt we should cut spending wherever we have the opportunity to do so, and in the case of the sequester, we should obviously pocket the change. In fact, that is the entire point. We already won on the issue; it’s time to move on and fight Obamacare in the sequester – something that really matters to the average person – instead of continuing to fight a battle we’ve already won.
Let’s remember that the sequester will not eliminate a single major program nor will it shut down a single federal agency. Will it cut non-baseline spending for one or two years (before reverting to baseline cuts in the out years)? Yes – primarily with regards to defense spending. But will we actually eliminate any of the harmful programs or agencies that directly cost people their jobs and raise the cost of living? Absolutely not.
An EPA with an operating budget of $8.1 billion instead of $8.4 billion will still have the ability to promulgate every last regulation that kills jobs, destroys hundreds of billions in private wealth, and raises the cost of major goods and services.
Whether the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) spends $290 million or $280 million will not affect its ability to destroy private sector jobs.
And yes, whether the HHS budget is $78 billion or $75 billion, it will still be able to promulgate the healthcare takeover laws (they just released 700 pages of rules), implement the exchanges, and expand Medicaid….unless we specifically prohibit funding those programs in the CR. Ditto for the IRS with regards to the enforcement of the individual mandate.
For many conservatives who work in politics, it’s just another day at work. If Obamacare ultimately goes through, they will still have their jobs and will still be able to put out press releases with hollow threats about the next bad piece of legislation. They want to move on. But for those of us who actually believe in what we say; for those of us who believe that Obamacare, when fully implemented, will destroy the country as we know it, this is not just another day at the office. If Obamacare is not disrupted now, while it is still unpopular and largely in the planning phase, there is nothing worth fighting for in the future. Every other policy issue, certainly as it relates to balanced budgets and entitlement reform, will become moot.
If the objective of some of the 105 members who signed a defund Obamacare letter last year is to pocket their “974” victory and fight Obamacare at a later date, they would be wise to explain why there will be a more opportune moment at a later date. What is their roadmap? If they are among those who believe Obamacare is here to stay, then there is nothing to fight for. The 974 number based on some random discretionary cuts, half of which comes from defense, will not atone for a vote to fund Obamacare. Nor will it provide conservatives with a chance to connect with voters.