President Obama likes to say that he wants a “balanced” approach to address our nation’s fiscal challenges. Presumably, this means a mixture of spending cuts and tax hikes to get our fiscal house in order. He has been very specific about the tax increases he wants, but on the spending cuts, he has been deliberately vague. Why has no Democrat come forward with any kind of compromise on entitlements or spending reform?
The media is obsessed with every GOP lawmaker who makes noise about being open to increasing government revenue. Its a simple narrative. These “mavericks” are going against party orthodoxy and assuming the role of statesmen to get the increased revenue we apparently need to avoid the “fiscal cliff.” In reality, they aren’t promoting anything that hasn’t been part of the GOP playbook for decades. The party has always been open to closing loopholes and deductions in exchange for lowering marginal rates. That is a foundation of supply-side economics. I will take that deal all day long.
What’s particularly interesting, though, is that the media wants to portray this as “division” within the GOP coalition. They want to laud certain milquetoast GOP officials as bravely “standing up” to Grover Norquist or other anti-tax activists. If you know anything about DC you will know that entire narrative is absurd. But, let’s go ahead and take it at face-value.
Where are the Democrats standing up to their special interests and proposing compromises contrary to their base? Where is the Democrat saying, you know what, we can’t keep posting trillion+ deficits? Demographics make Social Security and Medicare unsustainable, yet not a single national Democrat will admit that.
Why is the media not seeking out some “adult” Democrat who is willing to admit that we have a serious spending problem and need to reform entitlements? Why do Democrats simply get to deliver pablum that we need a “balanced” approach, but never have to articulate both sides of this balance?
I’ve been around long enough to realize these questions answer themselves. Only the GOP has to compromise its closely held beliefs. The Democrats, who arguably have created this entire mess, never have to question their basic assumptions. They have failed to produce a budget for four years and are currently spending more money than LBJ and FDR ever dreamed of spending, yet no one can question this basic framework.
In the media’s eyes, the definition of adulthood is adopting a liberal point of view. Republicans always have to move towards higher taxes or spending to be taken seriously. Democrats never have to move out of their sandbox. Of course, the media built the sandbox.