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April 13, 2011
The budget deal cut spending, not the deficit
There is a pretty wide range of reactions to the budget deal including many here on AT. For the last two days, Rush has unloaded on the deal. He is not a fan and, of course, he is one of the most astute voices we have. Still I think the pessimists are wrong.
First, the debate was not about cutting the deficit but about cutting spending. This is a big win for us. The Dems are also in favor of cutting the deficit and would like nothing more than to get the debate on these terms. Why? Because if we are cutting the deficit, then for the Dems that means raising taxes on the rich – i.e., those people still with a job in the private sector supporting the unionized nomenklatura in the style to which they have become accustomed.
Second, the Dems don’t believe in cutting spending. There is a very significant throwaway line spoken by Pat Caddell, the well-known Democrat political strategist, on a post-2010 election panel at David Horowitz’ Restoration Weekend . This comment is about 6:40 into the video. Pat Caddell is that rare bird, an honest Lefty. He said…
“The Democrats aren’t serious about cuts; they don’t believe in them. I can tell you as a Democrat they don’t believe in them.”
Many AT readers will likely say “well, duh.” But this is an important statement – a message from the belly of the beast. As conservatives, we consider the need for spending cuts self-evident when we see budget deficits of $1.6 trillion. But the Dems do not. Their strategy, as Mark Steyn has observed, is denial. So, to move them on spending cuts and to have the vocabulary of spending cuts dominate the narrative of this deal is a big win for our side.
Third, this deal is only a step. No matter how self-evident it may be to our side that America faces ruin if spending is not reduced, the other side doesn’t understand that – they are innumerate – and they wouldn’t care if they did. We have two more deals to go in just the next six months – raising the deficit ceiling; and the 2012 / Ryan budget. The Dems would have liked nothing more than to have the headlines dominated by whether the Washington Monument was closed, and the press would have been happy to oblige them by going with this story.
This deal allowed us to call the Dems on their colossal cowardice in not passing a budget last year. That is a point we can and should make over and over. Why vote for a Dem? When they were in charge, they ran away from their responsibilities. Why do we care what they think on the budget? They didn’t pass a budget when they were in charge of all three branches of government. Really, there is no excuse for this dereliction of duty and we should not let them forget it. Having that degenerate into whether families would be able to visit the national parks would have lost us this very valuable hand.
We do need to see more rhetoric. It would be nice to see Allen West with a more prominent role in the Republican leadership because he can make the case.
The deal forced the Dems to show their priorities. What are the Dem priorities? Abortions over troops. In order to keep the mills at Planned Parenthood running, they were willing to stop paying the troops…in the middle of three wars! It leaves one gasping for breath (Imagine if the Roosevelt Administration had stopped paychecks for troops and their families just as we were about to hit Okinawa.) Dealing with people like this and prevailing is not a walk in the park, particularly when the press will carry their water
According to Rush, the AP is going with a story that the real cuts are only $2 billion, not $38.5 billion. I don’t know if this is true or not, although I think that most of us did wonder if the $38/5 billion in “cuts” was going to result in 38.5 billion fewer actual George Washingtons going out the door of the Treasury between now and September 30. Government accounting is a sewer and we all know that. At least we got the Dems to sign off on the top line.
This is only one battle in a long war. The Republican victory in 1994 and the subsequent reversal of much of what was done then showed just how difficult it is to get the country behind sensible policies with the press against you. Part of Reagan’s success was that he understood this and he chose his moments.
The president now feels obliged to go on television tonight (Wednesday, April 13) to relaunch his budget for 2012 which, when introduced in February, was considered so irresponsible as to border on being a joke. No small achievement.
The Tea Party is the second American revolution. It is not a fad, nor is it a mere policy grouping. It is a response to the faithlessness of our public servants. We cannot trust them with the solvency of the country – they must be supervised.
We are at the end of 60 years of Leftist legislation – it took about two generations to bankrupt the country. Now we are starting back. In the words of the Jimmy Dean song “Big Bad John,” after the miners scramble out of the collapsing mine...
“with jacks and timbers they started back down.”
The Tea Party is the country’s rescue party after the budget process has collapsed. We won the first round. To paraphrase John Lennon, let’s give success a chance. Politics is messy, imprecise. The most important thing we can do is, with the Tea Party behind us and the opposition retreating even if only by a step, press on!!