Friday, January 07, 2011

No Increase in Debt Limit without REAL Cuts and REAL Reforms

No more smoke and mirrors and empty promises!

The final bill for Democrat overspending during the Pelosi years is now coming due. Pelosi and fellow Democrats in Congress added $5.34 TRILLION to the national debt in just four years. Pelosi, the 52nd House Speaker amassed more debt than the first 49 Speakers combined. Not counting the $862 billion stimulus bill, non defense discretionary spending rose by over 24% in just two years.

Now Republicans have taken control of the U.S. House of Representatives and Democrats have handed THEM the bill. There are the usual warnings of "catastrophe" coming from the Obama Administration if Republicans don't accept an increase in the debt ceiling to cover this monumentally wasteful and irresponsible spending.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner went so far as to suggest that a failure to increase the debt limit would "caus[e] catastrophic damage to the economy, potentially more harmful than the effects of the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009."

What about the catastrophe of increasing the debt beyond  the annual Gross Domestic Product of the U.S. economy? At the current rate of Obama era debt increases, that day is not far off.

Have Democrats forgotten the words of their Dear Leader:
“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership . Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America's debt limit.” --Senator Obama, March 16, 2006
Of course the soon to depart White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs is now suggesting that Obama didn't really mean it and only voted against raising the debt limit because he knew it would pass anyway. Not surprising the White House admits Obama has no principles. Many of us knew that already.

History of Debt Increases Coupled with Broken Promises

The Congressional Research Service has this history of debt limit increases, focusing mostly on those happening in this century.  But what that report leaves out are the numerous sworn promises to reform spending that frequently goes hand in hand with the vote to increase the debt limit.

The most hopeful process to force spending restraint happened 25 years ago with the enactment of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985. The Act would force across the board cuts in all agencies. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court found the act of automatic cuts, or "sequestration" unconstitutional and subsequent budget acts neutered what was left of enforcement.

Since then, Congress has made numerous promises to rein in spending for all but emergency bills. Guess what? Everything then becomes an emergency with bills for emergencies loaded with wasteful port.

Time for REAL Spending Cuts and Reform

It's time to end the games, gimmicks and smoke and mirrors. If an increase in the debt limit is absolutely required to stave off economic collapse then that increase must also be meet by REAL cuts in spending and an enforceable mechanism to control future spending. Sorry, but promises to do something later after the limit is raised are no longer acceptable. The danger of exploding debt is just as great, if not greater than a failure to increase the limit.

Rep. Paul Ryan, (R-MN) is now in charge of the budget process in the House of Representatives. He has released a statement pledging to "clean up the fiscal wreckage left by House Democrats, setting spending limits for the remainder of FY2011 at pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels for non-security discretionary spending." That's a good first step but even more aggressive measures must be enacted, not just considered, if this problem is to be solved or at least better managed.

We can expect that Democrats will talk a good game while doing everything they can to protect their wasteful and irresponsible spending and the loopholes which may permit them to continue with "emergency" deficit spending in the future. It's time for our side to put a stop to those tactics and that means we have a fight on our hands.

The voters have spoken. They expect Congress to do it's job and stop playing the same games that have lead to this moment. Let the names of those who block real reform and the spending cuts that will save us from the certain catastrophe of further debt increases be known to all as we gear up now for the 2012 election!

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