Democrats’ Spending and Power Addictions Prevent Debt Solutions

May 9, 2011

The Washington Examiner reports that it’s been 768 days since the Democratic-controlled Senate passed a budget. What’s the big deal? It’s not like the nation is facing financial difficulties or anything.

I realize it’s convenient for President Obama to pretend he’s a bystander on fiscal matters when it suits him and to pass the buck that never stops with him back to Congress, but how about a little leadership on the issue for a change?

The Republican-controlled House has done its part, but Obama and Senate Democrats continue to dither. The only time you see much activity out of them is when Republicans force the issue, such as with Congressman Paul Ryan’s plan to balance the budget through a combination of discretionary spending controls, structural entitlement reforms and a major tax overhaul. Otherwise, it’s as if they’re either oblivious to the nation’s looming bankruptcy or cynically unconcerned.

The Examiner reveals that Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad spent a full day explaining a proposal to the Democratic caucus but nothing emerged because too many of Conrad’s comrades “hate it.” Guess why.

Wrong. It’s not because it doesn’t go far enough with spending cuts and doesn’t include serious entitlement reform. It’s because it cuts too much spending and doesn’t raise taxes enough.

So let me get this straight. Due to reckless entitlement promises, profligate non-defense discretionary spending, and repressive government taxes and regulations, we are headed toward Grecian-style bankruptcy, European-style socialism and a permanently growth-stunted economy with soaring unemployment, and the Democrats’ solution is to give us more of the same?

Aren’t you tired of these career politicians on the left side of the aisle moralizing about the greed of the “wealthy” when these same politicians habitually buy votes with borrowed dollars? Who are they to lecture those who actually produce and contribute to the economy?

As Milton Friedman once asked, why aren’t these politicians considered greedy? At least the wealthy spend their own money — and add to the general revenues through the substantial taxes imposed on them. These finger-wagging liberal politicians, on the other hand, spend way more money than most so-called wealthy people do, directly benefit from these expenditures of other peoples’ money and, worst of all, are bankrupting the country.

Then, instead of coming to the table to work on solving the indescribable mess they’ve created for our children, our grandchildren and us, they fire back even harder — with more class-warfare ammunition. But this time it’s in the form of scaring seniors about losing their Medicare, even though existing seniors won’t lose their benefits under the Ryan plan and even though without reform no one will receive benefits anyway, because the programs will be insolvent, as will the nation.

A recent Wall Street Journal editorial opined that the “odds of resolving this (budget) debate are undercut by the fact that the two parties can’t even agree on what’s causing deficit woes in the first place.” Republicans blame it on non-discretionary and entitlement spending. Obama blames it on two wars, the prescription drug benefit program and “tax cuts for the wealthy.”

But Democrats know better than to blame our impending national bankruptcy on wars that Obama has continued, prescription drugs that actually came in under budget (and in any event would have been much worse under any of the alternative Democratic proposals) and tax cuts that have not significantly reduced revenues.

On the tax issue, Obama fraudulently claims that continuation of the Bush cuts for the “wealthy” will cost $500 billion in lost revenues per year. In fact, they would cost only $70 billion per year — and that’s assuming a static economy. Perhaps in a static economy, continuation of the Bush cuts for all tax brackets would cost $500 billion in revenues per year. But wait. Obama favors continuing the cuts for all but the top bracket, which means the disputed cuts — worst-case scenario — would only cost $70 billion per year. Once again, Obama is distorting the numbers to demonize his opponents, confuse the issue and camouflage his own position.

Spending is the problem, not the solution. The solution is to rein in non-defense discretionary and entitlement spending and to reform the tax code. But there happens to be a nearly insuperable obstacle that is interfering with this: the Democrats’ ideological addiction to spending and their corrupt dependency on spending as a ticket to remaining in power.

Until Democrats lose control of the Senate and the presidency, reform is but a fantasy. Our work is cut out for us.