Skip to comments.Time to Get Serious, Republicans - The GOP lacks guts and imagination on spending.
Posted on 02/02/2013 12:03:55 AM PST by neverdem
In this winter of conservative discontent, one of the most dispiriting things is the congressional Republicans’ rampant timidity on spending reduction. They lack both urgency and creativity on how to handle one of America’s most enormous challenges.
“Mañana!” has become the GOP’s battle cry for limiting the size and scope of government. Spending cuts, and a consequent decrease in Uncle Sam’s role in American life, keep vanishing into an ever-receding horizon. As Representative Louis Gohmert (R., Texas) complained in January 2012: “We haven’t cut squat.” His pithy comment remains true today.
A congressional Supercommittee was supposed to ax the budget in 2011. When the Supercommittee utterly failed, conservatives were assured that, by late 2012, a fiscal cliff would frighten even Democrats into curbing spending. Instead, Republicans swallowed higher tax rates on top earners in exchange for . . . nothing.
“Have no fear,” GOP leaders smiled. Wielding their leverage over the national-debt limit, Republicans finally would make their stand. Instead, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) crowed last week: “I’m very glad that they [House Republicans] are going to send us a clean debt-ceiling bill,” sans even symbolic budget cuts.
Thus, Washington can borrow whatever it wants. Then, on May 19, the debt ceiling automatically will rise to cover all the borrowed money that Uncle Sam will have stuffed into his pockets. (Imagine such a magic credit card in your wallet.) This non-solution probably will crowd out potentially productive private borrowers today (hindering current growth), increase the odds of a debt crisis tomorrow (especially if higher interest rates boost debt-service costs on America’s $16.5 trillion national debt), and strap a back-breaking stack of IOUs on future generations.
Regardless, congressional Republican leaders claim they will confront President Obama and profligate Democrats over the so-called sequester. More likely, Republicans will seize that opportunity to slide their tails between their legs and slink away, yet again.
These constant, French Army–style retreats are beyond maddening, especially since the American public looks ready for fiscal responsibility.
Asking, “Is government spending being managed carefully or out of control?” a January 15–17 Fox News poll discovered that 83 percent of registered voters replied “out of control,” up from 62 percent in April 2009. Only 11 percent answered “managed carefully,” down from 22 percent in April 2009.
This survey also found that 69 percent of respondents said the debt limit should be raised “only after major cuts.” Just 23 percent disagreed, calling it “reckless not to.” (Margin of error: ±3 percent.)
If Republicans cannot lead, perhaps they should follow public opinion.
From the Emancipation Proclamation to supply-side tax cuts to reversing Communism to welfare reform, the GOP has been the party of big ideas (like them or not). But Republicans now look brain-dead on fiscal discipline.
Why can’t they identify, say, one dozen antiquated, duplicative, or destructive federal programs and terminate them? Do we still need the 1935 Rural Utility Service, now that it has delivered electricity to Appalachia and currently stays busy by wiring farms with broadband Internet? Also: Kill the sugar and ethanol programs already.
Why not implement zero-based budgeting, so every agency must justify its outlays from the first dollar, rather than receive fresh money atop last year’s allocation?
Why not scrap Uncle Sam’s taco-stand cash-accounting system and introduce more transparent accrual accounting, which Washington demands of publicly traded companies?
Why not turn every federal bureaucrat into a potential government-waste fighter? Those with winning suggestions could receive one-time bonuses of, say, 1 percent of the taxpayer dollars that they save.
Why not start addressing entitlements by trimming Social Security and Medicare benefits for millionaires? Let Democratic class warriors scream otherwise.
Republicans still control the U.S. House, which they keep forgetting. A vast network of free-market think tanks constantly offers limited-government ideas worth loudly advocating, adopting, and sending to the Democratic Senate. Republicans there should introduce these as amendments. While Reid and Obama ultimately may resist, Republicans might as well try courageously to enact such policies. For now, the GOP’s strategy of surrender generates laughter on the left and tears on the right.
— Deroy Murdock is a Fox News contributor, a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service, and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.
Re: “Trim Social Security and Medicare benefits for millionaires.”
Why would that be fair, or even legal?
Can a financially troubled bank or insurance company arbitrarily decide to seize one customer’s money and distribute it to another customer?
They would go to jail if they did.
We need an immediate balancing of the budget without any kind of tax increase.
The ethanol subsidy that drives up food prices, the EPA, OSHA, Department of Education, Department of Energy could all do with 100 percent cuts.
I’m dead serious. Let the functions of the departments go back to the states.
NO MORE BAILOUTS OF ANY KIND FOR BUSINESS AND LABOR UNION SPECIAL INTERESTS.
But that is a problem. The politicians of both parties have the habit of doing it quite often.
The GOP have no intention of reducing spending
They plan to spend 3 to 5 trillion on Rubio-Obama Illegal Alien Amnesty....once it is fully implemented.
Even Murdock’s own employer, Fox, supports Rubio-Obama Amnesty. Although I am sure Mr Murdock is sincere in his views....too many GOPers want government spending
The GOP lacks guts and imagination on Spending
Thats part of the headline, and its a true statement, but wait. A better headline would be, “The GOP lacks guts and imagination on every subject that comes before them.”
The GOP is a dead political party and they killed themselves through cowardice, and greed.
They leave us an only option every time we go to the poles, the lesser of two evils option. The big bed in DC is overloaded with these fat treasonist politicians on both sides feeding from the trough of the American taxpaying people. The criminal element and corruption sucks in even the best and brightest under fear of reprisals, extortion and threats. How do we ever correct the downward spiral with a GOP machine that is feckless, balless and just as corrupt not to mention Carl Rove is still meandering around trying to keep his failed ideas afloat while testing the waters for another failed presidential run with Jeb Bush, Please! Dark days are ahead
>Re: Trim Social Security and Medicare benefits for >millionaires.
How about limiting lifetime benefits to what individual paid in plus interest. After that they would have to qualify for welfare, or find a job and get fired so they can collect unemployment.
The GOP had their chance from 02-06 when they controlled all levers of power in Washington. They went on a spending binge and showed their true colors. Till they condemn those years why should anyone trust them?
Heard a statistic yesterday after Hillary quit, it has been 31 years and two weeks since we have not had a Bush or a Clinton in the top tiers of government. President, VP or Sec of State.
Free at last and may they never come back, that includes Jeb and Hill.
Bingo. I remember waiting for a balanced budget and remove of the Department of Education and a serious trimming of the government. Instead, we got more entitlements, a new bureaucracy, deficit spending, a perpetuation of the housing bubble (yes, they knew)...more goernment. I distinctly recall saying to myself, I don't have a party. And, some of those idiots were scratching their heads and wondering why they lost big in 2006. And Denny Hastert can go to he&& for all I care.
D,C. is like wresling it’s all about let’s make a deal to see who wins the next round.