Such sheer irresponsibility reminds me of P.J. O’Rourke, the civil libertarian who once said, “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” Admittedly, it is not fair to compare elected Democrats to drunken teenage boys who, even with a fleet of cars and a swimming pool filled with whiskey, could not hope to achieve as much damage as is being done by Democrats right now.
The Senate budget demands nearly $1 trillion in new tax increases on top of the nearly $700 billion already conceded by Republicans just a few months ago in the “Fiscal Cliff” deal. An almost equal amount would supposedly be cut from spending, but considering the bait-and-switch tactics that have become the modus operandi for Democrats, it is hard to believe that those cuts would ever come to fruition.
The whole exercise has become Kabuki Theater, a laughable dance of fools and charlatans that has no basis in reality. It is impossible to take seriously the trustworthiness of a party that demonized as “harsh” and “draconian” the previous budget submitted by Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), which contained near-double digit increases in the entitlement spending and took more than three decades to balance the budget. In a nation of rational adults, the Paul Ryan budget would have been seen as irresponsible, and it is only due to the unadulterated insanity of the Democrat budget that the Ryan budget seemed reasonable.
The most recent Republican House budget takes a full decade to balance the budget, but only by assuming that funding for Obamacare would be repealed; something that would never make it past the Democrat-controlled Senate or Obama. That has about as much chance of happening as Obama rejecting the corrupt special interest money he has long preached against (you can buy four face-to-face meetings a year with Obama for a cool half million dollars by donating to his re-branded Organizing for America campaign apparatus). By comparison, the Ryan budget is far more responsible, achieving deficit reduction and economic stimulus through growth rather than tax increases, but even it relies on unrealistic assumptions.
How do we get to a point where we can pass realistic, responsible budgets that fund the legitimate functions of government, stimulate economic growth by reducing the crushing tax burden, and in the process reduce the skyrocketing national debt (the interest payments on which we now spend more on than education, homeland security, transportation and taking care of our veterans combined!)? It’s impossible to know since Democrats claim we have no debt problem. That’s like me saying that having a monthly credit card INTEREST payment higher than my mortgage payment is just fine. Americans get nothing in return for those hundreds of billions of dollars in interest payments. How many of the salaries of those firefighters, schoolteachers and policemen that Obama surrounded himself with in a press conference before the sequester kicked in could have been paid with the $359.8 BILLION paid in interest on the debt in FY2012? That would be 7,196,000 of these fine workers at $50,000 per year.
But alas, getting Democrats to act responsibly is probably not an achievable goal in the near future. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, referring to the stark differences between the House and Senate budgets, said, “We have presented very different visions for how our country should work and who it should work for, but I am hopeful that we can bridge this divide.” Who our country should work for? Shouldn’t it work for all Americans? Or have we now decided that certain Americans are no longer worthy of equality under the law?
The Democrat/Senate budget raises even more taxes, cuts hundreds of billions more from the defense budget (more than has already been cut, which former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, no defense hawk, warned would weaken America’s military readiness), and once again leaves entitlement and welfare spending, the primary drivers of the rising deficits and debt, virtually untouched.
Even Obama, no surprise, is apathetic about responsible budgets and getting the debt under control. Less than two weeks ago, Obama told ABC News, “My goal is not to chase a balanced budget just for the sake of balance. My goal is how do we grow the economy, put people back to work, and if we do that, we are going to be bringing in more revenue. If we control spending and we have a smart entitlement package, then potentially what you have is balance.” Control spending?! Spending is up 25 percent under him! I hate to break it to the man, but we’ve tried his policies for four years and are far worse off than before.
It seems Obama, the so-called smartest president in history, is no scholar of history. If he were, he’d know that cutting tax rates and lowering government spending has a solid history of jump-starting the economy. It worked miracles under Coolidge, Kennedy, Reagan and Bush. Each cut tax rates and each saw massive new revenues in response; new revenues created by growing the economy, not by taking a larger and larger portion of a shrinking pie.
I can only pray that Obama will indeed decide to become a student of history and change his high-tax, big-spending philosophy of government. And he can even look to two Democrats for guidance.
As to whether government can spend its way out of an economic morass, he has only to listen to the words of Henry Morgenthau, Treasury Secretary under FDR, the president credited with getting us out of the Great Depression, but who a growing number of modern economists now blame for worsening the Great Depression with his New Deal policies. Said Morgenthau in 1939, “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. After eight years of this administration, we have just as much unemployment as when we started ... and an enormous debt to boot!” Sound familiar?
If he doesn’t want to listen to Morgenthau, he can turn to Democrat icon President John F. Kennedy, who said, “A tax cut means higher family income and higher business profits and a balanced federal budget. Every taxpayer and his family will have more money left over after taxes for a new car, a new home, new conveniences, education and investment. Every businessman can keep a higher percentage of his profits in his cash register or put it to work expanding or improving his business, and as the national income grows, the federal government will ultimately end up with more revenues.”
Cut tax rates. Lower government spending. Lower deficits and the debt. Stimulate economic growth.
So easy a cave man can do it, but is Obama smarter than a cave man?
Louis DeBroux is a Taylorsville resident, married, with eight children. He is chairman of the Bartow County Republican Party. He owns Gatekeeper data backup and recovery. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.