Today, in the Wall Street Journal, David Rivkin and Lee Casey set forth a compelling argument
that the notion that the federal government will default on its debt is a myth. And that myth is motivated by the left’s desire to cover up the real issue in the debt ceiling debate: the need to cut federal spending. Obama, his administration, and the media would have us believe otherwise, and they have perpetuated three ideas to support their views:
The first is that Congress’s failure to raise the debt ceiling—the amount of money the federal government is authorized to borrow at any given time—will cause a default on the national debt. The second is that federal entitlement programs are constitutionally protected from spending cuts. The third is that the president can raise the debt ceiling on his own authority.
They explain that, according the 14th Amendment, “the validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law… shall not be questioned,” which “prevents Congress from repudiating the federal government’s lawfully incurred debts.”
Despite what President Obama and his ilk may have you believe, America has a spending problem. CQ reports (sub. req’d
) Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), the new chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, is going to use his position to “promote the idea of limiting overall spending to a percentage of the gross domestic product.”
He has already drafted legislation that would limit overall spending to about 19 percent of GDP in fiscal year 2014, gradually declining to about 16.5 percent of GDP in fiscal year 2017. To put that goal in perspective, current federal spending amounts to 23 percent of GDP, a great deal above the historic average of 18 percent of GDP.
Cutting spending isn’t just an idea conservatives are throwing out there because it makes them feel good (remember, acting solely on feelings is a liberal thing). It is absolutely essential if we want our country to thrive and prosper now and in the future. Every dollar spent by the government is a dollar that is confiscated from the private sector economy and (at least right now) from our future.
President Obama has had one very noticeable contribution to this country since he’s assumed office: a crushing $16.4 trillion debt. As Politico reports
, this is “up about 60 percent from the $10 trillion Obama inherited when he took office in January 2009.” They call it “the single biggest blemish on Obama’s record.”
In light of this staggering debt, the upcoming debt ceiling fight is bound to be charged. This time, though, Obama must be willing to take some of the blame. You can’t fix a problem when you refuse to acknowledge its existence; astonishingly, Obama continues to do just that with his excessive spending.
As if we needed any reminder, the article states that “Obama was able to splinter his deeply divided Republican opponents over the issue of tax cuts for the wealthy.” But they also opine that a “similar fate might await the president and his Democratic allies if he brokers a deal with the GOP that requires massive spending and entitlement cuts.”
Where’s the incentive for liberals to budge on spending? Politico suggests that the “combination of the coming debt ceiling deadline and the new deadline for keeping automatic spending cuts from kicking in” may pressure the left enough.
In his seven minute victory speech last night, President Obama doubled down, saying we can’t continue to cut our way to prosperity. Continue? I was unaware the cutting had begun. Instead, the goal is to tax his way to America’s demise
. He espoused a number of untruths throughout the speech, but his central theme was painfully clear: I’m going to tax you more, America!
Throughout the supposed fiscal cliff negotiations, the absence any meaningful discussion about spending as our country’s real fiscal problem was glaringly conspicuous. Rather, the pendulum was swinging back and forth from Obama’s desired $1.6 trillion in additional tax revenue and a number of slightly lower numbers, finally settling at $600 billion in tax increases over ten years at the last possible moment. The Hill reports:
The 257-167 vote capped off a day of high drama in the Capitol, as Republican leaders considered and then quickly abandoned a plan to attach steep spending cuts to a measure passed overwhelmingly by the Senate early Tuesday morning.
It should be to cut spending
, especially by reforming entitlements. In fact, they should resolve to do this soon and honor those reforms far into the future.
Just look at this Heritage Foundation chart:
The federal government has done a great deal of harm to the American people by driving up the debt. “As it is, children born in the United States today—who won’t pay taxes for years yet—are saddled with a more than $50,000 share of the national debt.”
Heritage’s Romina Boccia reminds us that historically, from 1959-2008, all federal spending has amounted to 18.1 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) each year. According to the Congressional Budget Office, spending is expected to surge to 35.7 percent of GDP by 2037.
Of course, it’s “[f]ederal spending on entitlements and interest on the debt drives the federal budget crisis,” and we will remain in an ever-worsening crisis “as long as [lawmakers] neglect to address the structural problems in the entitlement programs that are driving the nation deeper and deeper into debt.”