The opportunity is now there to downsize government — and for starters that means rejecting any talk of a Deficit Commission.
Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) is retiring from Congress this year. Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) should do so as well. The two are sponsoring a bill with Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) and that “Blue Dog” con artist Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN) for a Deficit Commission. This is the worst legislation sponsored by any Republican in this Congress, as it would provide cover for the largest tax increase in world history by far, and would ratify rather than oppose the Obama explosion in Big Government.
That is why indications are that President Obama will endorse this Deficit Commission concept in his State of the Union Address this year, after exploding the federal government to peacetime records. As the Wall Street Journal explained it on December 29,
After signing a $787 billion economic stimulus and embracing two annual blowout budgets that will double the national debt over 10 years even before ObamaCare, President Obama is poised to pivot [this] election year and denounce the horrors of deficit spending. So the White House is now floating a bipartisan commission to reduce federal borrowing, and much of the political class is all for it.
The Journal explained just how reckless Obama’s spending has been: “From 2001 to 2008, under President Bush, federal…discretionary spending grew by 54%. Mr. Obama’s policies have expanded these agency budgets by another 57% over just two years.” Obama has also increased federal welfare spending by one-third over the first two years, with total government welfare spending now slated at $10.3 trillion over 10 years.
Under the Gregg-Wolf free market murder bill, 16 Washington experts would be appointed to a Commission with a mandate to look at everything from entitlements to taxes, and propose specific reforms to balance the budget. Congress would then vote up or down on the entire package without amendments, on an expedited basis.
From the early 1950s, after federal spending settled down following World War II, until last year under President Obama’s neo-socialist revolution, federal spending was stable during those 50 plus years at around 20% of GDP. Today, after one year, the federal government is 40% larger at about 28% of GDP, a national tragedy in terms of lost economic freedom. But federal projections show that by 2040 federal spending will soar to close to 40% of GDP, due primarily to the exploding entitlement programs Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Dumping Obama’s national health care program on top will just make the situation much worse.
Add in state and local government spending, and total government spending will be well over 50% of GDP. Counting the Obama spending increases and the negative effects on the economy from all this Overwhelming Government, total government spending will grow to over 60% of GDP.
If anything even close to this happens, America will be over. We will be socialist Sweden instead, which even Sweden is leaving behind now. Traditional American prosperity will be gone. Forget about the American Dream. We, as a nation, would no longer be worthy of that. Under the new system where we give most of what we earn to government bureaucrats and they tell us what we can have and how to live, the whole notion of economic freedom and prosperity will have been eradicated.
A Deficit Commission with taxes on the table is not going to solve this. Just what kind of a deal can we possibly expect from such a Commission of Washington experts, especially with a majority appointed by ultraleft President Obama and current congressional leaders? With federal spending currently slated to soar from 20% of GDP to close to 40% at least, the best deal we could possibly hope for would be for federal taxes and spending at 30% to 35% of GDP. That would mean a massive increase in taxes in return for a massive increase in government.
As The Wall Street Journal explains:
We only hope Republicans aren’t foolish enough to fall down this trap door, though some are already tempted. A budget deficit commission is nothing more than a time tested ploy to get Republicans to raise taxes. In the 2009 version, Republicans are being teed up to hold hands with Democrats and agree to become the tax collectors for Obamanomics.”
In other words, this Deficit Commission is very bad strategy for Republicans and conservatives. The Journal reveals the tax goal liberals hope to snooker Republicans into supporting: “Republicans would agree to an increase in the top income tax rate to as high as 49% and in addition to a new energy tax, a stock transaction tax, or value-added tax. The Indians got a better deal for selling Manhattan.”
Republicans who are tempted by this snare need to wake up and smell this coffee: you will be challenged by a third party that would not mind dividing the vote and replacing you with a Democrat they can defeat later. Conservatives and libertarians who believe in free market prosperity will have no other political choice.
The 15 Percent Solution
A far better alternative has been offered by Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), who has proposed a Commission dealing only with spending reforms, with tax increases off the table. Conservatives, libertarians, free market advocates, Republicans and the Tea Party movement should work precisely for addressing runaway spending, deficits, and debt by reducing spending, deficits, and debt. Taxes are not part of the solution. They are part of the problem, providing the financing for permanently higher spending. Our goal, in fact, should be to reduce federal spending over time below the long term 20% baseline, down to 15% of GDP, which would reflect our belief in smaller government, and leave us with long-term budget balance.
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