March 21, 2013

Neera Tanden, Ruy Teixeira and John Halpin, from the usually honest Center for American Progress, have written a revealing op-ed for The Post that highlights how the left is preventing an honest debate about the budget and our debt and deficit .

As if it were a remarkable insight, the authors have discovered that those who become dependent on government will seek to protect their benefits at the ballot box.  Put simply, when the authors state that, “The nation has moved on from the anti-government sentiment of the past,” what they are really saying is that a growing number of Americans are now relying on government benefits and won’t give up those benefits if they don’t have to.  For example, the Obama economy has 47 million people on food stamps, and given the tepid growth and lack of economic opportunity, these people are unlikely to vote for any repeal of food stamp benefits.

Republicans aren’t seeking to “starve the government,” as the authors say.  Republicans simply recognize that the path we are on is unsustainable.  Fair-minded people believe there is a tipping point where too few taxpayers will be trying to support too many beneficiaries.

Secondly, the op-ed is shamefully dishonest about the Republican intentions regarding the budget.  For example, the authors refer to the Republican plan as “harsh.”  But the Ryan budget is a plan to get America’s fiscal house in order and balance the budget without making any true cuts.

To be clear, we’re not talking about less money, we’re just talking about slowing the rate of growth.  Oh by the way, as Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) explained on the Senate floor this morning, the Republican plan lets spending grow every year by 3.4 percent, while the current Democratic budget increases spending by 4.9 percent annually.  Sessions rightfully pointed out that growing spending at a slower rate is not a cut.  While we’ve lost that battle in the media, the truth is still useful from time to time. Democrats are being dishonest about the Republican budget and about government spending.

This brings me to my third point, which is that Democrats are choosing to be silent or are outright denying that we have a serious problem with the growth of our national debt and spending.  Not once in this op-ed do the authors mention the words “debt” or “deficit.”  This is stunning, given that it is supposed to be a thoughtful piece about our government’s budget and spending. The authors are clearly following the example set by President Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and other Democrats who have begun to peddle the notion that “we don’t have a spending problem.”

And let’s not forget it was President Obama who, as a senator, once called President George W. Bush “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic” for adding $4 trillion to the national debt during his eight years as president – an amount less than what Obama added to the national debt during his first four years as president. The Democrats are trying to become the party of more and label the Republicans as the party of less.  This may be good politics in the short term, but it lets the cancer of our debt grow unabated.

The new liberal approach is to deny the existence of our problems. It’s the ultimate capitulation to their failure in government and it’s harmful to suggest there will be no day of reckoning. The debt is a problem, and it needs to be dealt with in a responsible way.  The sooner Democrats recognize this, the better off the country will be.