Taxes & Spending

CBO Warning Bolsters ‘Cut, Cap and Balance’

It’s going to be interesting how the Democrats attempt to spin the latest somber warning from the Congressional Budget Office.  And by “interesting,” we mean how long before they try to lay the CBO’s most recent admonishment at the feet of President George W. Bush.  Our prediction:  Just give Democratic National Committee Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz some time.  The truth is that the country is quickly bulldozing toward financial disaster, and Democrats have yet to offer a single idea on how to fix it.  Not a single idea!

In a report that should make us all pause, the CBO noted that the “the budget outlook, for both the coming decade and beyond, is daunting.”  And it’s right.  The current trajectory we’re on has our output as a nation—the gross domestic product—being eclipsed by our debt.  In other words, by 2021, if nothing is done, we will owe more in debt than the size of our entire economy.  The figures get worse.  By 2035, the debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio swells to an astronomical 190%.  That means we’ll be spending two times more than what we bring in as a country.

If you’re wondering what that means for you, it’s simple:  The very essence of your life will be to work to pay off the debt left to you by Washington bureaucrats.

There’s more.  The CBO admits that the scenario is even worse than it’s describing.

Says the study:

“CBO’s projections in most of this report understate the severity of the long-term budget problem because they do not incorporate the negative effects that additional federal debt would have on the economy, nor do they include the impact of higher tax rates on people’s incentives to work and save.”

Feeling excited about the United States’ future prospects?  Nor is anyone else.  One recent poll found that 44% percent of Americans believe that they are worse off now than when Obama took office.

Republicans have put forth more than a half-dozen bills to spur job creation and relax onerous regulations on businesses.  They have also come up with a detailed budget that addresses the largest driver of American debt:  Medicare costs.

But Democrats?  Well, well.  They’ve given the country overheated rhetoric that focuses only on scoring political points.  That’s not totally fair, actually.  They do call for more “stimulus” spending to inject life into the economy.  We kid you not.  Reporting on Vice President Joe Biden’s feeble debt-ceiling negotiations, one Reuters headline read:  “Democrats Call for New Spending in Debt Deal.”  Chuck Schumer on CBS’ “Face the Nation” even had the nerve to speak of “infrastructure” projects to—get this—create jobs.

All this screams out that if there were ever any doubt in the minds of Republicans on Capitol Hill that their counterparts are not serious about dealing with this nation’s dire fiscal woes, doubt no more.  That’s why it’s incumbent upon Republicans to exploit the serious debt-ceiling vote to force change.  This is an opportunity that won’t come around anytime soon, and therefore must not be squandered with the same type of toothless negotiations that engulfed the government shutdown debate a few months prior.

There’s an ambitious new proposal in the form of a pledge floating around Congress, authored by many GOP leaders, demanding that any increase in the debt ceiling be accompanied by tremendous cuts to the budget, a cap of 18% on federal spending and a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.  The pledge, appropriately named “Cut, Cap and Balance,” has been signed by the likes of Senators Orrin Hatch, Rand Paul, Jim DeMint, Mike Lee and even Lindsey Graham.

While it’s unlikely that a constitutional amendment will ever get the needed two-thirds majority in the U. S. Senate given its current makeup, the GOP should stand firm on at least two of the three pledge items: substantial cuts and a statutory limit on government spending.

It’s immoral, not to mention financially insane, to increase Uncle Sam’s borrowing capabilities without a law that prevents adding to our sea of debt moving forward.  We can no longer keep obligating the taxpayers of tomorrow to pay for the extravagant spending of today.

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