Radicals Don't Compromise

As the impasse at the deficit reduction supercommittee shows, Congress's inability to get things done is once again on display.  The blame for this failure has been widely attributed to the "unwillingness of both sides to work together," but the reality is that liberal Democrats on the committee never intended to compromise.  They would rather pursue their goal of socialism than save the country from fiscal collapse.

This is just sort of behavior that has brought Greece to ruin and that now threatens all of Europe, if not the entire global economy.  To channel Rick Perry's thoughts on Chairman Ben, the refusal to put country ahead of party is nothing less than treasonous.

For their part, Republicans have engaged in political posturing as well, but when the chips were down, as they have been now for weeks, the GOP at least offered a proposal, albeit a flawed one.  Democrats have offered nothing that would bring the committee anywhere near $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next ten years.  Not only that, but their immediate response to the GOP proposal, without even pausing to consider its contents, was to denounce it as "laughable."

So has the supercommittee failed because of lack of cooperation on both sides?

The GOP proposal, authored by Sen. Pat Toomey, was more than generous.  It included $876 billion in spending cuts balanced by $500 billion in tax increases.  At a time when the federal budget is bloated with wasteful loan guarantees for green energy and a 100% increase in the food stamp program, Toomey's proposal, if anything, is light on spending cuts and heavy on taxes.  But even this well-meaning proposal was rejected, and not just rejected, but ridiculed.  Even at a moment when the nation's fiscal well-being is at serious risk, Democrats couldn't resist scoring political points.

It should be noted that Toomey's proposal was merely an attempt to cut the rate of spending.  It would not have cut actual spending levels, which would have continued to increase by nearly a trillion dollars over the next decade.  But even this was too much for liberals in Congress.  What they are demanding is continued increases not just in the amount of spending, but in the baseline rate of spending as well.

Not only have congressional Democrats failed in their responsibility, but the leader of their party has failed as well.  At a point in negotiations when Obama's influence might have made a difference, the White House issued a statement that it's not the president's place to intervene in the affairs of Congress.  This is the first time we've heard that one.  Didn't Obama have something to do with passing a $787-billion stimulus package back in 2009?  Didn't he intervene in passing ObamaCare?  Didn't he pressure Congress to pass the Dodd-Frank financial reform act?  Hasn't he been traveling around the country, lobbing for his Jobs for America stimulus bill?

The only logical conclusion is that Democrats did not want the supercommittee to succeed.  Why should they, when they can sit back and score points off the GOP's proposal to "slash" benefits to Medicare and Social Security?  Yet by failing to work toward a fiscally responsible compromise, Democrats are the ones who are "slashing" benefits -- the benefit of jobs, of growth, of a sound currency, of fiscal solvency, and of the long-term survival of entitlement programs.  They calculate that by refusing to compromise and shifting blame to conservatives, they can win one more election and retain their privileges as elected officials for a few more years.

That sort of calculation is despicable, and the American people know it.  That's why Congress enjoys a single-digit approval rating.  Never have so many in one party been willing to sacrifice their nation's safety and security for the sake of short-term political gain.  It's as if the Founders had not just one Benedict Arnold in their midst, but 309, the number of Democrats in the present Congress -- and almost all of them clamoring for more spending financed by higher taxes and more debt.

The liberal mob in Washington displays all the hallmarks of a party trying to hold onto power by defending the status quo.  That involves defending massive welfare programs, education subsidies to states, and green energy spending that has exploded in the last three years.  It also involves a refusal to address unsustainable entitlement spending.

The problem is that the status quo will soon lead America to the point of bankruptcy.  Having increased spending by nearly 40% in just three years, Democrats now want to increase it even more.  Their insistence that the budget plan include huge tax increases, including expiration of the Bush tax cuts for more affluent Americans, has little to do with bringing down the deficit.  Instead, it is aimed at securing a permanent expansion of government.

Democrats have no intention of reducing the deficit by cutting the size of government.  Their formula calls for growing the federal government beyond its current 25% of GDP to at least 40% -- the level necessary to sustain the current baseline over the next decade.  Their failure to offer any spending cuts is a clear indication of their vision of the future: federal, state, and local governments that control every aspect of life and consume two thirds of the nation's wealth.

This vision of the future is indistinguishable from socialism, and Democrats are betting that socialism is the future that most Americans want for their country.  Their refusal to compromise on the deficit reduction supercommittee is an important part of their 2012 election strategy: offer America two clear alternatives, capitalism and socialism (only don't call it "socialism"), and see which one wins.  Convince the public that capitalism has failed, and present Big Government as the only alternative.

Democrats are gambling their party's future that most Americans care more about their own government benefits than they do about the nation's future security and prosperity.  At a more profound level, the left is betting that a majority of voters has bought into the idea that their personal security can be entrusted to collectivism.  By signing over what wealth and liberty we have left, we can enjoy the support of government in all aspects of our lives. No more worries about financial crises or economic recessions.  The unemployment checks, food stamps, free health care, student loans with no expectation of repayment, housing subsidies, and retirement benefits will continue at current levels, with no expectation of labor or sacrifice on anyone's part.

That is the fantasy that Democrats are offering.  What their offer really amounts to is continued economic decline and eventual collapse into Weimar-style depression and political chaos.  The refusal of Democrats on the supercommittee to reach any sort of compromise is a chilling reminder of what is at stake.  The left is determined, as Obama has stated on numerous occasions, to bring about a "fundamental transformation" of American society. Democrats are deathly serious in their commitment to the goal of socialism, and they are willing to see the country destroyed rather than fail in this objective.  The behavior of six liberal Democrats on the deficit reduction committee is just further evidence of this frightening reality.

Jeffrey Folks is the author of many books on American culture, most recently Heartland of the Imagination (2011).

As the impasse at the deficit reduction supercommittee shows, Congress's inability to get things done is once again on display.  The blame for this failure has been widely attributed to the "unwillingness of both sides to work together," but the reality is that liberal Democrats on the committee never intended to compromise.  They would rather pursue their goal of socialism than save the country from fiscal collapse.

This is just sort of behavior that has brought Greece to ruin and that now threatens all of Europe, if not the entire global economy.  To channel Rick Perry's thoughts on Chairman Ben, the refusal to put country ahead of party is nothing less than treasonous.

For their part, Republicans have engaged in political posturing as well, but when the chips were down, as they have been now for weeks, the GOP at least offered a proposal, albeit a flawed one.  Democrats have offered nothing that would bring the committee anywhere near $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next ten years.  Not only that, but their immediate response to the GOP proposal, without even pausing to consider its contents, was to denounce it as "laughable."

So has the supercommittee failed because of lack of cooperation on both sides?

The GOP proposal, authored by Sen. Pat Toomey, was more than generous.  It included $876 billion in spending cuts balanced by $500 billion in tax increases.  At a time when the federal budget is bloated with wasteful loan guarantees for green energy and a 100% increase in the food stamp program, Toomey's proposal, if anything, is light on spending cuts and heavy on taxes.  But even this well-meaning proposal was rejected, and not just rejected, but ridiculed.  Even at a moment when the nation's fiscal well-being is at serious risk, Democrats couldn't resist scoring political points.

It should be noted that Toomey's proposal was merely an attempt to cut the rate of spending.  It would not have cut actual spending levels, which would have continued to increase by nearly a trillion dollars over the next decade.  But even this was too much for liberals in Congress.  What they are demanding is continued increases not just in the amount of spending, but in the baseline rate of spending as well.

Not only have congressional Democrats failed in their responsibility, but the leader of their party has failed as well.  At a point in negotiations when Obama's influence might have made a difference, the White House issued a statement that it's not the president's place to intervene in the affairs of Congress.  This is the first time we've heard that one.  Didn't Obama have something to do with passing a $787-billion stimulus package back in 2009?  Didn't he intervene in passing ObamaCare?  Didn't he pressure Congress to pass the Dodd-Frank financial reform act?  Hasn't he been traveling around the country, lobbing for his Jobs for America stimulus bill?

The only logical conclusion is that Democrats did not want the supercommittee to succeed.  Why should they, when they can sit back and score points off the GOP's proposal to "slash" benefits to Medicare and Social Security?  Yet by failing to work toward a fiscally responsible compromise, Democrats are the ones who are "slashing" benefits -- the benefit of jobs, of growth, of a sound currency, of fiscal solvency, and of the long-term survival of entitlement programs.  They calculate that by refusing to compromise and shifting blame to conservatives, they can win one more election and retain their privileges as elected officials for a few more years.

That sort of calculation is despicable, and the American people know it.  That's why Congress enjoys a single-digit approval rating.  Never have so many in one party been willing to sacrifice their nation's safety and security for the sake of short-term political gain.  It's as if the Founders had not just one Benedict Arnold in their midst, but 309, the number of Democrats in the present Congress -- and almost all of them clamoring for more spending financed by higher taxes and more debt.

The liberal mob in Washington displays all the hallmarks of a party trying to hold onto power by defending the status quo.  That involves defending massive welfare programs, education subsidies to states, and green energy spending that has exploded in the last three years.  It also involves a refusal to address unsustainable entitlement spending.

The problem is that the status quo will soon lead America to the point of bankruptcy.  Having increased spending by nearly 40% in just three years, Democrats now want to increase it even more.  Their insistence that the budget plan include huge tax increases, including expiration of the Bush tax cuts for more affluent Americans, has little to do with bringing down the deficit.  Instead, it is aimed at securing a permanent expansion of government.

Democrats have no intention of reducing the deficit by cutting the size of government.  Their formula calls for growing the federal government beyond its current 25% of GDP to at least 40% -- the level necessary to sustain the current baseline over the next decade.  Their failure to offer any spending cuts is a clear indication of their vision of the future: federal, state, and local governments that control every aspect of life and consume two thirds of the nation's wealth.

This vision of the future is indistinguishable from socialism, and Democrats are betting that socialism is the future that most Americans want for their country.  Their refusal to compromise on the deficit reduction supercommittee is an important part of their 2012 election strategy: offer America two clear alternatives, capitalism and socialism (only don't call it "socialism"), and see which one wins.  Convince the public that capitalism has failed, and present Big Government as the only alternative.

Democrats are gambling their party's future that most Americans care more about their own government benefits than they do about the nation's future security and prosperity.  At a more profound level, the left is betting that a majority of voters has bought into the idea that their personal security can be entrusted to collectivism.  By signing over what wealth and liberty we have left, we can enjoy the support of government in all aspects of our lives. No more worries about financial crises or economic recessions.  The unemployment checks, food stamps, free health care, student loans with no expectation of repayment, housing subsidies, and retirement benefits will continue at current levels, with no expectation of labor or sacrifice on anyone's part.

That is the fantasy that Democrats are offering.  What their offer really amounts to is continued economic decline and eventual collapse into Weimar-style depression and political chaos.  The refusal of Democrats on the supercommittee to reach any sort of compromise is a chilling reminder of what is at stake.  The left is determined, as Obama has stated on numerous occasions, to bring about a "fundamental transformation" of American society. Democrats are deathly serious in their commitment to the goal of socialism, and they are willing to see the country destroyed rather than fail in this objective.  The behavior of six liberal Democrats on the deficit reduction committee is just further evidence of this frightening reality.

Jeffrey Folks is the author of many books on American culture, most recently Heartland of the Imagination (2011).

RECENT VIDEOS