FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Do Republicans Have the Temerity to Hold the Debt Ceiling?
The Democrats have a habit of sabotaging our economy and then demanding that we pass their legislation to avert impending doom that would result from their original policies. Unfortunately, Republicans credulously accept their premises and acquiesce to the emergency legislative actions. We watched this unfold during the debate over TARP, in which Republicans naively bought into the notion that the Great Depression would return unless they supported the Democrat bailouts. We agonized over it when Republicans agreed to extend unemployment welfare and ethanol subsidies for another year, lest taxes go up for a week in January.
The same dynamic is now unfolding with the debate concerning the debt ceiling. The national debt currently stands at $13.95 trillion, as we accrue over $100 billion in new debt every month. By that calculation, we will surpass the $14.29 trillion debt ceiling in less than three months. The Democrats are demanding that Republicans consummate and perpetuate their unconstitutional spending habits by raising the debt ceiling, or suffer the peril of defaulting on our credit.
Never mind that it was the Democrats who caused the credit, housing, and budget crises in the first place! They seem to forget that programs like TARP, bailouts, porkulous, union payoffs, cash-for-clunkers, 99 weeks of unemployment benefits, Franken-Dodd, and Obama Care are the culprits for the doubling of the national debt. Should the Republicans reward the pillagers by granting them one more opportunity to purloin the taxpayers? Are we ever going to stop passing the buck down and indefatigably fight against big government in the present? Even the much anticipated repeal of Obama Care was oddly postponed to placate the Democrats’ shameless politicization of the Tucson shooting. Why not start reversing the $1.4 trillion deficit now?
Instead of falling into their sinister trap once again, we must uproot their premise by demanding a lowering of the spending floor. If we lack the intransigence to block Democrat proposals due to threats of peril, how many more Democrat initiatives will we support under the guise of “a one time emergency fix”? Will Republicans support one last tax increase on Social Security to preclude its bankruptcy?
Here is another important question to consider. If we don’t strike out at the heart of the dependency state when the public finally has an apatite for spending cuts, then when will we ever cut the debt? It is well known that Republican consultants have more regard for positive polling data than principled conservative policies. But the reality is that the public now supports the Republicans on issues of spending more than ever. In fact, according to a new Reuters poll, the public opposes raising the debt limit by a whopping 78-19 margin. We will never enjoy a higher level of support for any conservative issue, let alone for aggressive spending cuts. The Democrats are the ones who are forced into an awkward position on the issue of the debt ceiling, so why back down now?
Unfortunately, it appears that Congressmen Steve King and Michelle Bachmann are lonely in their opposition to raising the debt limit. Most Republicans are buying into the argument that we will face imminent default if we fail to raise the debt limit immediately.
To that end, we must be prepared to force a compromise. Not the sort of “bi-partisan compromise” that gives the farm away to the Democrats, but one that would permanently undermine their ability to spend. Rand Paul and others have suggested that we demand a balanced budget amendment in return for a temporary increase in the debt limit. I think that a more prudent and strategic demand would be the passage of Mike Pence’s Spending Limit Amendment. This would automatically limit spending to no more than 20% of GDP, except when there is a declaration of war. This is far superior to the balanced budget amendment because it directly attacks the spending side of the ledger and denies the Democrats the opportunity to raise taxes to balance the budget. Also, many states have balanced budget amendments, yet they are able to run a structural deficit, while using accounting gimmicks to complete their balance sheets. Now is the time to demand direct and permanent spending cuts.
The bottom line is that we must make our stand now. With bloated government spending crowding out private investment, the U.S. has fallen to ninth place in the Heritage Index of Economic Freedom. We need to ensure that any increase in the debt limit is less than $200 billion, while demanding a permanent budgetary fix in exchange for the increase. Otherwise, we will continue to repair the disastrous results of big government with more increases in government. After all, who has the heart to let the country go bankrupt and the poor eat dog food?
Cross-posted to Red Meat Conservative