Just how unusual is the current spending debate
on Capitol Hill? Based on the size and scope of the GOP's proposed cuts
, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said you’d have to go back to World War II
to find such reductions in federal spending.
Spending debates in Washington usually end the same way -- with more federal spending. The federal government today spends more on a per-household basis than ever before
-- a staggering $31,088.
That number is expected only to increase in the years to come. It’s one reason Republicans prevailed in November and why they’ve made spending cuts one of their first acts of the 112th Congress.
As the focus shifts from the size of the cuts
to a defense of them, expect to hear plenty of fear-mongering from Democrats. It started last week when Senate Democrats began floating the possibility of a government shutdown
Judging from recent comments by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Democrats are hoping to reprise the budget battle of 1995
. In that case, a Republican-led Congress squared off against a Democrat president -- and the GOP lost.
“They are blindly swinging a meat axe to the budget when they should be using a scalpel,” Schumer recently pontificated
. “Some of these House Republicans won’t be satisfied with anything less than a shutdown of the government.”
The 1995 government shutdown effectively ended the GOP’s mandate to enact major spending cuts. Only now -- more than 15 years later -- are Republicans ready to do battle again.
Republicans will face a flurry of attacks over the next few weeks before the fiscal 2011 continuing resolution expires on March 4. Despite multiple statements from GOP leaders that they’re committed to cutting the size of spending, not a shutdown, expect to hear more scare tactics.
The consequences are huge. That’s why conservatives and freshman lawmakers made a stand last week to demand a larger cut
. These moments don’t come along often.
After years of Washington’s spending binge, now is the time to bend the curve in the opposite direction and set the country on a different course.