Fiscal Cliff Deal 2013: Republicans Sell Their Souls For Absolutely Nothing
If you’re a fiscal conservative who believes in free market principles, private sector solutions, constitutionally-limited government, transparency and being a good steward of taxpayer dollars, watching election night unfold was bad enough if you supported the Romney-Ryan ticket. But at least you went down knowing you fought for something.
After watching the last 48 hours unfold with Republicans compromising all those principles, you’re then left wondering, “What the hell was I fighting for?”
I was left speechless after watching Republicans give in to more spending, more taxes, more Keynesian addiction, and getting nothing in return for it. Not only do they stand to not get any credit for it from the liberal mainstream media, but they horribly disappointed their own supporters and only strengthened far left Democrats’ resolve to double down on their big government/high spending demands.
If you haven’t already learned what was in the bill negotiated between Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), it raises tax rates for individuals earning $400,000 or more and households earning $450,000 and up back to the Clinton-era levels. How much extra revenue is that expected to bring in every year? About $62 billion – or less than a week’s worth of federal spending.
The biggest consumer of our tax dollars is entitlements. More than half our tax dollars (55%) go to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, and unemployment. Defense takes up another 20%, followed by interest on the debt – totaling over 80% of our spending.
As far as any spending reform, Republicans got zilch. Quite the opposite, the non-partisan CBO estimates that this deal will add another $3.9 trillion in debt (even with any additional revenue from the tax hikes) over the next 10 years. But hey, we’re already $16.4 trillion in debt, so what’s another $4 trillion, eh?
The bleeding of red ink just never stops. All the tax hikes you want to make on the rich can’t cover these out of control spending levels, the latter of which nothing gets done to change.
I expect to see more victory laps from President Barack Obama, such as the one that was shamelessly on display Monday, which Republicans grumbled about but ultimately served to reinforce.
Now if you’re wondering why 165 Republican lawmakers ultimately decided to pass this pathetic deal which only adds to the deficit and compromises their principles and their support, I’ll tell you exactly what their desperate thought process is inside the Washington beltway.
“OK guys, we just gave them their tax hikes on the top income earners for free. Surely the conversation will now finally focus on spending reform, right? I know they’ve been saying all year that they won’t touch the biggest driver of our debt – entitlements – but surely they’ll finally come around on that in 2013, right? Oh, and because we signed off on this deal, surely the liberal mainstream media will finally stop calling us mean things like ‘extremist,’ ‘crazy’ or ‘dangerous’ and stop blaming us for everything, won’t they?”
Rational thought or wishful thinking? I’m taking the latter.
Regarding entitlements, Romney-Ryan campaigned on turning Medicare into a premium-support system that would’ve put more power and decision-making responsibilities in the hands of the consumer instead of government bureaucrats, while turning Medicaid and food stamps into block grants that would return power to the states and make recipients work for certain benefits or enroll in jobs training programs. These reforms would’ve reduced federal spending significantly while extending these entitlement programs’ longevity beyond 2024 so that my generation may even begin to hope these safety nets might be there for us, but 51% of Americans chose to reject these reforms – thus maintaining the status quo and keeping our safety nets on the road to bankruptcy.
Why would Democrats all of a sudden change their minds on entitlements? Their solution to any problem: more taxes.
Regarding spending, the ONLY cuts Democrats are willing to make are to the Department of Defense. Despite the fact that according to the Office of Management and Budget entitlements take up more than twice as much as a percentage of GDP than defense or almost three times as much tax dollars as defense, defense cuts are the only spending cuts Democrats can sell to their base. And while this deal postpones the looming $500 billion/800,000 civilian jobs in defense cuts for another two months, I’m sure that’s still not nearly enough for the left. So any talk of spending cuts from them (if at all) will continue to focus solely on defense.
While defense actually happens to be one of the duties explicitly stated in the Constitution as a responsibility of the government (for anyone who still cares about that document), I’m not against cutting defense spending, but the cuts surely don’t end with that department.
Finally, regarding the media, here’s what many spineless, weak Republicans still haven’t figured out yet: the mainstream media wants TWO left wing parties. Pure and simple. Obama is a demigod who’s capable of no wrong according to the mainstream media. Everything he wants and supports must be the will of the people because he’s “cool” and “in touch,” so anyone who goes against his demands will be labeled as “crazy,” “extremist” or “out of touch,” and those words will be tacked on anyone who doesn’t support higher taxes, more spending, Keynesian economic principles, subsidizing green energy with taxpayer dollars or more bureaucratic control over health care, finance and education.
Rather than accept that fact and stick to their principles, Republicans caved in a desperate attempt to get any positive press from the mainstream media. Yahoo’s ultra liberal rag, The Ticket, quoted Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) as saying, “(Republicans are) crazy, but they’re not that batshit crazy.”
That’s about as much positive press as the GOP will get from the left.
Rather than futilely compete with that, I wish Republicans would just take Greg Gutfeld’s advice:
So now what comes next? The debt ceiling. Naturally, Democrats will say, “Republicans shouldn’t be playing games with the debt ceiling, we should just raise it unconditionally as we did for years,” just as they said last year. The media won’t bother pointing out the fact that Democratic leaders from Obama to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) strongly spoke out against raising the debt ceiling to fund “reckless fiscal policies” until they became the majority again.
The conventional wisdom inside the beltway last year was that the partial government shutdown of ‘95/’96 cost the GOP the election in 1996. So House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) avoided one in 2011 – reluctantly agreeing to raise the debt ceiling yet again to $16.4 trillion for a measly $38.5 billion in spending cuts (or four days worth of spending) – and the GOP still lost in 2012. Again, they still haven’t figured out that they only get credit from the mainstream media for anything “bad” that happens. So why should I believe this year’s debt ceiling vote will produce a different result than last year?
I had accepted the fact that America has culturally shifted to a center-left nation long before this election. But I wasn’t convinced we’ve economically shifted into a center left nation till this week. At least the GOP Congress of the 1990s was able to reduce spending from 23% of GDP to 18% by 2000. This one gave up after only two years.
As far as I can tell, the only differences between the parties are purely cultural. Fiscally responsible citizens will have to look elsewhere.