Debt, deficit and American values

“The fact that we are here today to debate raisingAmerica’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure.”  Then-Senator Obama, 2006.

The budget debate confuses me – what exactly is a trillion anyway, besides a whole lot?  Back in the day, Sen. Everett Dirksen [D-IL] was reputed to have said, “a million here, a million there, pretty soon you’re
talking about real money.”  Wonder what he would say about billions and trillions so casually tossed about?

We have the Gang of Six from the Senate and their “bi-partisan” plan embraced by the White House.  The Senators announced their plan the same day the House over-whelming passed Cut, Cap and Balance [234-190], which was then dismissed by both the President and MSM; Sen. Rand Paul and the Senate’s Tea Party Caucus have a plan, Rep. Jim Jordan and the House Republican Study Committee support CCB; I guess the Democrats have a plan but no one has seen it.

On the surface the debates, discussions and competing plans seem to be all about numbers; they’re not.

The debate about the debt ceiling, the deficit, taxes and spending is a debate about our values.  Late Friday, in a letter to House Republicans, Speaker Boehner said the breakdown in discussions was “not because of different personalities, but because of different visions for our country.”  The Republicans, whether it is Speaker Boehner, Rep. Jim Jordan, Senator Rand Paul or Leader McConnell, talk about preserving the American dream for our children and grandchildren; they talk about the job creators and entrepreneurs. In his press release Friday evening Boehner wrote “The White House is simply not serious about ending the spending binge that is destroying jobs and endangering our children’s future.”

This is what I do understand –

  • The 2011 fiscal year began Oct. 1, but Congress then led by the Democrats, failed to pass any annual spending bills that would fund government.  Instead, Congress passed a series of stopgap measures, the infamous continuing resolutions, based on 2010 spending.  It’s important to remember the Pelosi-led House didn’t pass a budget for 2010.  This is the first time since current budget rules went into effect in 1974 that the House has failed to pass an annual budget resolution.
  • In February 2011 President Obama’s budget was rejected 97-0 by the Senate, and would have run
    FY2012 deficit of $1.6 trillion
  • In the past 7-months, since the Republicans under Speaker John Boehner took back control of the House, the Republicans have offered two budget proposals – Rep. Paul Ryan’s and the most recent so-called Cut, Cap and Balance – which have been either ignored or rejected by the Democrat majority in the Senate [on Thursday 7.21 CNN released a poll showing the House-passed Cut, Cap and Balance budget approach had an approval rating of 2-1, and approval in every demographic group, including approval by 63% of Democrats and 65% of Independents]
    • The Cut, Cap and Balance measure, would cut $111 billion in spending from the 2012 budget and
      require a new Constitutional balanced budget amendment be sent to the states for ratification before increasing  the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, passed the House on a 234-190 vote nine Republicans opposed [Rep.’s Michelle Bachmann [MN], Ron Paul [TX],  Paul Broun [GA], Francisco “Quico” Canseco [TX], Scott DeJarlais [TN], Morgan Griffith [VA], Walter Jones [NC], Connie Mack [FL] and Dana Rohrabachder [CA], and five Democrats in favor –
      Reps. Dan Boren [OK], Jim Cooper [TN], Jim Matheson [UT], Mike McIntyre [NC], and Heath Shuler [NC].
    • CCB would cut $6 trillion in spending over 10 years and cap the federal budget at 19.9 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product by 2021. Typically spending has averaged 20% of GDP, but under Obama now approaches 25%, which requires the federal government to borrow $0.40 of every $1.00 spent.

Is Sen. Harry Reid’s cowboy poetry more important to our country than our military? Does government funding, no matter how small, for NPR and Planned Parenthood rise to the same level as border security and Veterans’ Hospitals?  President Obama, as well as Reid and Pelosi, demonize the use of corporate jets in the private sector but just last weekend First Lady Michelle Obama used taxpayer funded private transportation for a day trip to Colorado.  When Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi was Speaker of the House she was well known for using private, but taxpayer funded, air transport for herself and her family and for keeping the planes well stocked with high end liquor.

Are these uses of government funds more important than medical care for our wounded warriors?

All Democrats have used fear-mongering to push their vision of more and bigger government; Obama, Pelsoi, Wasserman-Schultz among others scream if Republicans don’t immediately agree to raise the debt-limit then social security and Medicare will be in danger.  Grandma will be on the street with no access to medical care.

Which is confusing because as recently as January 10, 2011 in an interview with David Gregory on NBC Reid said social security was “fine” and “fully funded” –

REID: One of the thing that always troubles me, when we start talking about the debt, the first thing people do is run to social security. Social Security is a program that works and it’s going to be, it’s fully funded for the next 40 years, stop picking on social security. There are a lot of places…

GREGORY: “Senator, you’re really saying the arithmetic on social security works?”

REID: “I’m saying that the arithmetic on Social Security works. I have no doubt it does.

GERGORY: “It’s not in crisis?

REID: “No, this is something that’s perpetuated by people who don’t like government. Social
security is fine,
are there things we can do to improve social security? Of course, I’m not going to go to backdoor methods to whack social security. I’m not going to do that, we have a lot of things we can do with this debt. But one places I’m not going to be part of picking on is Social Security”

Just two-weeks ago, July 14th, Sen. Reid is quoted by AP saying

WASHINGTON (AP) — Echoing President Barack Obama’s warning, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says Social Security payments would stop if there is no deal to raise the government’s
borrowing limit
by Aug. 2.

Speaking on the Senate floor, the Nevada Democrat said flatly that payments for veterans’ benefits and the military, as well as Social Security, would cease if the government defaults on its obligations.

Whether you agree with the 234-House members who support the detailed plan of Cut Cap and Balance, or the 6-Senators and President Obama who support a non-specific outline of spending cuts and tax increases this much is clear.  Republicans are forward looking, working to put our country and working families on the path to strong and vibrant self-sufficiency.
The Democrats, under Obama’s leadership, want more and bigger government with larger and larger groups of Americans dependent on big government programs.

It’s a rather easy choice – freedom or not.