Conservatives' Real Solution to the Debt-Limit Debate

Jan 15, 2013

While President Obama and his allies in Congress remain obstinate to real solutions, squarely rejecting concrete action, high caliber conservative organizations, including Heritage Action, the Family Research Council, and Club for Growth are putting forth solutions to fix our debt. Our approaches may entail subtle variations based on prudential judgments, but we are unanimous on our conservative principles. Fortunately, many Americans - even those who had fallen under President Obama's ideological trance - are waking up to the fact that federal spending must be cut.

Many people believe that there are only two possible roads to take with regard to the debt-limit: "balance now by refusing to raise the ceiling or balance never by raising it and continuing the status quo." But conservatives are offering an excellent third solution that precludes these two options and that would not raise taxes but ensure they never exceed the historic average of 18.5 percent of GDP:

Very simply, we can quickly jump-start our economy and improve the lives of millions of Americans by insisting that Washington not raise the debt ceiling unless our nation gets on a path to a balanced budget within 10 years that stays balanced.

And the time for action is now. As Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote today:

So President Obama may not want to cut spending as part of the upcoming debt-limit debate, but...with the federal debt now at a mind-numbing $16.4 trillion, it's a debate the president will have whether he wants to or not.

Our fiscal ship has capsized, and while the liberals are content with shipwreck, conservatives are not. Thankfully, there are leaders inside and outside of Congress who have thought of ways to right it. The bottom line is that spending must be cut. Michael Needham, Tony Perkins, and Chris Chocola explain that while "unfunded entitlement promises" drive our debt the hardest, entitlements should "not bear all the weight of spending restraint." In addition:

[D]iscretionary spending, both in ineffective stimulus bills and in each year's spending bills, has ballooned. Just as American families spend less to make the checkbooks balance, the federal government must also show some restraint and return to reasonable levels.

Furthermore, the states have paved the way, providing concrete evidence of the effectiveness of cutting spending. The Heritage Foundation points out two states that managed to balance their budgets:

Several very large states with financial challenges, like Texas and Florida, balanced their budgets without any income tax at all by reducing spending. They are showing the way.

If lawmakers in Congress continue to follow the failed path of President Obama, they will go down in history books as the Congress that gave a fatal blow to American prosperity. One would hope that is not the legacy they want.

Good ideas exist, such as the Heritage Foundation's Saving the American Dream plan and those plans offered by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Pat Toomey (R-PA), and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), though his plan would need some alterations. Leadership exists in Washington, albeit not in the White House. The will is there. Lawmakers only need to seize the opportunity.