Bill O’Reilly style.
Check 1: $100 billion is not enough. Before we can even think about chiseling away at the staggering $14 trillion National Debt, we must first stop adding to it. Merely reducing the deficit is not good enough – it must be eliminated. Reducing 2011 spending by $100 billion will still leave us with a $1.5 trillion deficit for the year. A reasonable spending plan would be to bring the annual deficit down to zero over three to five years. To do so would require $300-500B spending cuts each year until revenues and spending are in balance. That’s big stuff and underscores the magnitude of the problem.
Check 2: The average American doesn’t understand the seriousness of the pending debt crisis. A large segment of the population relies on the evening news to keep up on the political goings on in Washington. We can be assured that Brian Williams will not expound on the gravity of Washington’s spending addiction or the devastating, unimaginable consequences it will bring if not brought under control. Katie Couric will not tell her audience that spending is dangerously out of control, but will instead warn Americans of the hardships they will face resulting from the “deep” cuts being debated in Congress.
Check 3: Any meaningful spending cuts will be painful and unpopular. Americans like getting “free” stuff. Liberalism has lulled far too many into a sense of entitlement. While public opinion polls indicate a wide majority favor spending cuts, the mood quickly shifts when specific programs (i.e. Social Security) are targeted for the chopping block. Republicans and Democrats alike are highly-cognizant of the need to get the public on their respective side leading up to the 2012 elections. Check 3A: the party that cuts deep enough to make a difference risks losing public support.
Check 4: We cannot expect the Democrats to take the lead in attacking the deficit. That goes without saying. If any serious progress is to be made in stopping the runaway spending train, it will – by default – have to be the Republicans. That’s the dilemma. Doing the right thing is seldom the popular thing. The Democrats and the Liberal media will paint Republicans as heartless, cold-blooded monsters wanting to throw grandma out on the street. If the Republicans keep pushing for serious cuts, they will run the risk of facing an angry electorate in 2012.
Here’s a few of my suggestions for the Republican leadership to regain control of the spending debate without losing the public:
- Change the narrative. Stop defining the problem in terms of millions or billions, and make it about trillions. Trillions has a more onmious overtone than mere billions.
- Vigorously and relentlessly hammer home the catastrophic consequences we face if Democrats retain unsupervised control of the national piggybank. There are many that most Americans can understand. And they are real.
- Stop being so dam afraid of a Government shutdown. This is not 1995. Americans will stand with you on this one.
- Stop playing defense and go on offense. Stop defending $61B in cuts and force the Democrats to defend their spending habits that will bankrupt the country and throw us into a financial and economic Armageddon not seen since the Great Depression. That’s not an exaggeration – it’s as truthful as it gets.
- Make it about jobs. Make the Democrats explain why the inevitable jump in taxes needed to pay off the debt or the skyrocketing interest rates when the Dollar collapses will not kill jobs.
- Stop playing nice. Go into full attack mode and come at the Democrats with the fury of a charging rhinoceros. Nail their hides to the wall and keep them backing up. Keep their defense on the field and their offense hiding in the weeds. Take no prisoners.
The Republicans are in the unenviable position of having to choose between doing what is right, or what is popular. Their big challenge is convincing the public that what they are doing is the right thing to do. That’s a tall order when going up against a socialist-minded President, the big-spending Democrats, and a biased Liberal media.
But it can be done. It must be done.