February 23, 2011
The Party of Big GovernmentBy Vasko Kohlmayer
Having apparently realized that this country is bankrupt, President Obama recently proposed cutting deficit spending by $1.1 trillion over the next ten years.
Some people were impressed. Some people complained it was too much. After all, $1.1 trillion looks like a big pile of money.
The president's proposal, however, is only symbolic. It is only meant for show. During that ten year period the federal government will spend well over $40 trillion. What Obama is proposing is a drop in the bucket.
But this does not stop him from going in front of the camera and posing as a deficit hawk. The president should be ashamed of himself. He is a quack who is taking this country down the road to fiscal doom.
There is only one group of people we should fear even more than Obama. They are Republicans. Republicans are quacks too, but this is a bit more difficult to perceive.
You have to understand one thing about American politics. There is only one major party in this country. It is the Party of Big Government. Democrats are the hardliners while the GOP stands for the more moderate wing.
If you do not believe it, just ask yourself this question: When was the last time Republicans cut anything of substance?
Republicans never really cut. They only grow government. Richard Nixon, Bush 41, Bush 43 were all big government growers. Under Ronald Reagan government grew as well although at a slower pace. That's a fact, which we would all do well to ponder.
There are some well meaning conservatives in the Republican Party. Unfortunately, they are misguided. I do not mean to say they are unintelligent, but that they simply do not have sound grasp of economic theory and fiscal reality.
Take Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. One of the GOP's brights lights, he is considered the leader of the fiscally conservative wing of the Republican Party. Earlier this month he proposed to cut $32 billion from the budget for the remainder of this fiscal year. To remind you, the projected deficit for this year is nearly $1.5 trillion. In light of this, Ryan's proposal was laughable...and utterly worthless.
Since then Ryan has apparently perceived the insufficiency of his plan and now he supports the $100 billion in cuts that the Republican House leadership proposed for the rest of this fiscal year. To give you a sense of scale, this figure represents less than three percent of what the federal government will spend during this fiscal year. Small as this figure is, it is still largely a gimmick. The so-called "cuts" are for the most part merely reductions from the spending blueprint proposed by the Obama administration.
Some may say that this is a smart move in the current climate, since deep cuts are politically unfeasible at this time. But the question to ask is this: Should those who aspire to be our leaders do what is politically expedient or should they demand that the right thing is done regardless of what happens to their careers?
There comes a point when the situation becomes so serious that principle trumps expediency. We are now past that point. If there was ever a time to be honest and square, it is now. If there was ever a time to do what is right and necessary it is today. The gravity of our predicament demands it.
Nero fiddled while Rome burned. The Republicans play political games while America is going broke. Is this leadership? Is this even a sane behavior?
The only Republican who has called for meaningful spending reductions is the newly minted Senator Rand Paul who is asking for $500 billion in cuts. One only wonders how long it will be before the Republican establishment will begin treating Rand Paul as they have been treating his father.
The elder Paul has been calling for deep reductions in government spending for many years, which is one of the reasons for why he has received the pariah treatment from the Party of Big Government. It turns out, however, that the elder Paul was onto something. Had we followed his advice, we would not be in the mess we are in today.
Our trouble is truly dire. The government's public debt will soon exceed 100 percent GDP and our unfunded liabilities are at least $100 trillion. There is no way in this world the federal government can make good on these obligations. In other words, we thoroughly bankrupt.
To have even a fighting chance, we would need to stop running deficits immediately and begin running surpluses so that we can start buying our debt back.
Given that the Obama administration projects a deficit of $1.2 trillion in 2012, it would mean cuts in the $1.2 to $1.4 trillion range next year alone. That would in turn entail drastic slashing of all large items that make up the budget of the federal government. We would have to massively slash entitlement spending, education, and defense. We would also need to defund most government agencies and departments.
All this would be required for us to have even a prayer in avoiding the fiscal Armageddon that is coming upon us. Which Republican is proposing anything close to that? Paul Ryan? Mitt? Mike Huckabee? Newt?
Every time I hear them speak, I think I hear that quacking sound in the background.
But how can we slash national defense, some may ask. We must keep ourselves safe from our enemies.
Well, let us ask some questions about national defense. Here is one to get us started: Why in the world are we spending hundreds of billions in Afghanistan? What is the point of trying to bring democracy there? For one thing, we are nowhere close to that goal. After almost ten years there, things are still bad and apparently getting worse.
According to recent numbers, the Afghan war costs $300 million every single day. Last year alone we spent some $110 billion in that country. By the end of this year the total costs of that conflict will have exceeded the staggering one trillion mark.
This great expenditure notwithstanding, one thing is for certain: There will not be any western-type democracy in Afghanistan in the foreseeable future.
The original mission in Afghanistan was accomplished long ago. The US removed the government that harbored those responsible for 9/11. There is no reason why we should be hemorrhaging there anymore. We cannot afford it. Let us, then, get out and stop wasting money and blood.
Bringing democracy to far away, backward places does not usually work. We have tried that before in Vietnam. We got burned badly there. Our society almost fell apart because of that venture. Let us not insist on making the same mistake now.
Some will say that if we withdraw terrorists will return to Afghanistan. But they are already there anyway. Plus there are plenty of terrorists in other places such as Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Sudan. Applying the logic that some use with Afghanistan, we should invade them all. But where are we going to get the money for all that?
The military is the largest ticket in the budget. If we are serious about doing something about our fiscal bankruptcy, serious cuts must be made there as well. We need to start using our military only for the purpose for which it was originally intended. It should only be used for defense, and not for dubious ventures such as spreading democracy in dust holes on the other side of the globe.
To forestall the coming fiscal disaster deep cuts would have to be made all across the federal budget. The way out of the predicament is actually very simple: Cut and cut and cut again.
Unfortunately, the quacks in the Party of Big Government are not going to have any of it. Quite the opposite, the Republicans and Democrats will in the end agree to spend even more. Hence we are going to crash.
Brace for impact.