Honor the Debt Limit and Cut Spending Now, not in 2012
By Jamie Radtke, Candidate for U.S. Senate in Virginia
I was honored to meet with the House Tea Party Caucus yesterday to discuss the daunting challenges we face as a nation, in particular our spending and our mounting national debt.
I told the members that watching the budget debate in Washington lately has made me feel like Alice in “Alice in Wonderland.” Are our leaders in touch with reality? Is this really happening? One can only conclude that most in Congress subscribe to “Wonderland Economics.”
Our national debt is already more than 95% of our GDP. Our unfunded liabilities are at least $112 trillion. Standard & Poors and Moodys have warned that they will yank our triple-A credit rating if we continue on our current trajectory. Interest payments on our national debt are the fastest growing component in the federal budget.
Economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff of the University of Maryland and Harvard University, respectively, studied the effect of national debt on economic growth in 44 countries spanning 200 years of history.
What they found is chilling: Countries that allow their debt-to-GDP ratio to reach 90% usually go into significant economic decline. As the nations hit this debt intolerance ceiling, market interest rates rise suddenly and quickly, and they can no longer grow their way out of their problems.
The United States is at that point today. Are our leaders listening? Are they awake? Unless we reverse course immediately, we face a collapse similar to that of Greece.
President Obama and his economic team have failed this leadership challenge to significantly cut our spending. The U.S. Senate has failed the test. Sadly, so have the Republican leaders in the House, despite many opportunities to lead America to lower spending.
Criticizing the most powerful leaders in my own party, including the Majority Leader who also happens to be my own Congressman, probably strikes many in the Republican Establishment and pundit-sphere as politically unwise or imprudent. And they may be right. But the facts are the facts and the real insanity is punting to the next vote.
This brings me to the subject of the debt ceiling.
I challenge the Republican leadership to show the way. Honor the current debt ceiling. Cut current fiscal year spending to 2008 levels. Eliminate corporate welfare. Go hard after domestic spending that is not absolutely necessary. Reduce defense spending unrelated to protecting us from terrorism or to concluding the Iraq and Afghanistan missions. And reform entitlements, restoring their solvency and the solvency of our country.
The time to act is now, not next year or the year after the elections.
We MUST take immediate action to avert the kind of austerity programs that were imposed on Greece by its creditors. I would rather that we decide how and when to reduce our federal spending as opposed to having China and our other creditors dictate to us what must be cut. That would be the ultimate failure for us.
This nation may never have faced a threat more ominous than the threat it faces today.
But I believe, and recent polls confirm, that the American people arent afraid to face this crisis head-on, and we have the character and courage to do what we know in our bones is right. Its time for our leaders to reflect and represent the courage of those they lead.
Originally posted at BearingDrift.com: “Virginia’s Conservative Voice”