You knew it would be a river of crap, right?
Well, we asked the Democrats for a budget . . .
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Patty Murray announced it as if it were the birth of the messiah: “The Senate has passed a budget.”
Wow. Congratulations. The only thing worse than the Democrats going four years without bothering to pass a budget is when they actually bother. We’ll understand if you have to look away.
The House plan ostensibly brings the government’s taxes and spending into balance by 2023 with cuts to domestic spending even below the automatic “sequestration” levels now roiling federal programs, and it orders significant changes to Medicare and the tax code.
The Senate plan, in contrast, includes $100 billion in upfront infrastructure spending to stimulate the economy and calls for special fast-track rules to overhaul the tax code and raise $975 billion over 10 years through legislation that could not be filibustered. Even with that tax increase and prescribed spending cuts, the Senate plan would leave the government with a $566 billion deficit in 10 years, and $5.2 trillion in additional debt over that time.
That’s an average of almost $100 billion a year in higher taxes. And how do the Senate Democrats propose to tackle federal spending that remains at a historical peacetime high of 24 percent of GDP? By tossing an additional $100 billion in “stimulus” on top of it - the same kind of “stimulus” that worked so well in 2009, sending unemployment soaring above 10 percent.
Indeed, their own sluggish economy has become their excuse for continuing to spend like drunken sailors. Why, the economy is so horrible (because of us), we can’t stop spending now! That will spell the death of an already dreadful (because of us) economy!
This argument, disingenuous though it is, is also presenting a problem for some conservatives. Democrats are trying to claim status as the pro-growth party, and some conservatives are worried that this leave the Republicans as the “austerity” party, with a deficit fixation when it should be focusing on economic growth.
Here is the problem with that: First, there is no contradiction between the demand that we deal with the debt and the insistence that we boost economic growth. We don’t have to choose one over the other, because conservatives should know that economic growth is driven by the private sector and not by government spending. If you’re afraid that “austerity” is a loser as a political message, then do some thinking and make a better case for lower spending. When you present limited government as a matter of “austerity,” what you’re doing is conceding the Keynesian point that all prosperity is bestowed upon us by government. Is that what these conservatives think?
The real low-spending/limited-government message says keep your money and create your own prosperity. You can do it better than the government can, and you don’t need the government saddling you with debt in a fruitless attempt to do it for you.
Yes, we need more growth, and the $3.7 trillion-spending Democrats are not going to deliver it by blasting the debt north of $20 trillion by the end of another decade. And yes, we need to reduce our debt, because debt is a prosperity-killer, and Democrats are not serious about curtailing borrowing.
The Republican message should be: Limited government, debt (not just deficit, but debt) reduction, and economic growth through private-sector prosperity. These eggheads who are trying to tell you Republicans must choose between growth and spending cuts are being too clever for their own good.
And Democrats who try to tell you they’ve accomplished something by passing this horrible budget will get away with it unless someone shines the light of truth on what they’ve actually done.