- By Senator Jim Demint
Democrats on the so-called “Super Committee” have demonstrated why their party is disqualifying itself from any rational discussion when it comes to cutting spending.
The deficit committee was tasked with reducing the deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next ten years, but Democrats refused to make any kind of deal unless it included more than a trillion dollars of tax increases. One of their proposals, that remember is supposed to cut spending, contained billions of dollars in new stimulus spending! Despite the overwhelming evidence that the stimulus didn’t work, they are committed to funding more boondoggles big and small, like Solyndra and research for exotic ants and monkeys.
It is stunning. To meet their meager target, the Super Committee didn’t even need to cut a single penny from the budget, but only slow the rate of increase in spending by a fraction. Rather than letting the country rack up $23.4 trillion of debt by 2021, the Super Committee only needed to to keep it rising to $21.3 trillion. Still Democrats refused. $6 trillion in new deficit spending wasn’t enough for them. To Democrats, the answer of when to cut spending is simple: never.
The federal government is now $15 trillion in debt, the country is mired in recession, unemployment is at record highs, but Democrats believe taxpayers must sacrifice more so Washington doesn’t have to. Even on the brink of fiscal collapse, Democrats want to take more from American families and businesses so the government can spend more, not less. That, in a nutshell, is why the Super Committee failed and why Washington is incapable of making any of the necessary reforms to get the economy moving again.
Higher taxes do not create jobs. Giving politicians more money will not make them spend it more efficiently. Yet Democrats on the committee readily concede higher taxes were necessary to gain their support. Washington Democrat Senator Patty Murray, co-chair of the committee, told CNN’s Candy Crowley on Sunday that, “There is one sticking divide…that’s the Bush tax cuts.” Massachusetts Democrat Senator John Kerry said on Meet the Press that the “most significant block” to making the deal with the Republicans “insistence, insistence, insistence” on extending the Bush tax cuts.
So, the committee tanked. Until Republicans and Democrats can agree that the government has a spending problem, not a revenue problem, a bipartisan deal can never be struck.
While everyone was waiting for the committee to produce a plan, the spending spree continued. In the first nine months of the year federal spending was up 5 percent. Congress is now passing appropriations bills that increase spending over already-inflated 2011 levels. The spring government shutdown showdown didn’t produce any long-term reforms and now, with the demise of the Super Committee, neither has the summer debt ceiling fight. Now, banking analysts are warning that another downgrade to our nation’s credit rating may be on the way
Conservatives knew the Super Committee was destined to fail all along. Over the last three decades, we’ve had 17 different commissions and added more than $13 trillion in new debt. Committees and commissions will not change the fundamental disagreement that Republicans and Democrats have when it comes to the role that government should play in our lives—and that is what the ongoing debate over the debt and the deficit is really all about.
Let’s have this debate in public, rather than behind-closed-doors run by secret committees.
If Americans really believe more stimulus spending will create the jobs that trillions of wasted spending hasn’t so far, the Democrats are happy to waste trillions more trying. If Americans want a bigger, more intrusive government to keep running our healthcare, financial and energy sectors into the ground, Democrats will help. And if Americans really want higher taxes so Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae can pay more million-dollar bonuses to their CEO’s while consuming constant bailouts, the Democrat will do that, too.
But, if Americans are ready for a smaller, smarter government that doesn’t spend more than it takes in conservative Republicans are ready to deliver it to them. Earlier this year, conservatives in the House of Representatives passed Cut, Cap & Balance—the only debt reduction plan that would balance the budget permanently and would have saved our nation’s AAA rating—only to watch it die in the Democrat-led Senate.
Conservatives have answered the call to save our nation from collapse. Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, and Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey have offered numerous budgets to eliminate wasteful and duplicative programs and save trillions of dollars. Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House budget committee, has proposed a road map to save our entitlement programs.
Where is the Democrat plan to save Medicare and Social Security from bankruptcy? Where is the Democrat plan to balance the budget? Where is the Democrat budget? They don’t exist. President Obama recently announced his firm opposition to balancing the federal budget within 10 years, which is a jaw-dropping admission. An entire political party has given up on ever stopping deficit spending.
If Congress is to get control of our debt and deficits, Democrats must come to the realization that the government must do less, not more. The debt commission’s failure only provides more proof they haven’t.
(Jim DeMint is a US Senator from South Carolina)