Two years ago, Congress and President Obama passed the Budget Control Act, including the sequester–many of them believing it would never go into effect because the appointed “super committee” would make more targeted cuts before that ever happened.
Of course, being Washington, the targeted cuts never happened.
But the specter of sequester remained–and with a national debt approaching $15 trillion, we had to make sure at least some spending would be cut one way or another.
In 2013, the first round of sequester cuts went into effect. These “cuts” are actually just cuts in the rate of growth over 10 years. Government still grows under them, which is why I didn’t think they were enough.
But the President and many in Congress cried that the sky was falling over what amounted to about 2 percent of the budget being trimmed. President Obama predicted long lines at the airports, a drastic loss of services, and worse. This Administration even suspended White House tours, trying to blame sequestration.
But their publicity stunts didn’t work. Nothing much happened. Most Americans barely even noticed. The sequester was a little step in the right direction.
Despite the sequester, the national debt has risen $2 trillion in two years. Today, our national debt stands at $17.3 trillion. Even with the sequester, S&P downgraded America’s credit rating. S&P judged the budget cuts to be insufficient. Now, before the rest of them even take place, the Ryan deal scuttles these minor cuts.
This is the wrong direction. Instead of getting rid of the sequester reductions, we need spending cuts.
The “bipartisan deal” gets rid of the only cuts we have.
The House budget deal offered by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) is a charade. And it is worse than the status quo, which is already an unacceptable level of spending and debt.
It blows right past the sequester spending caps, adding over $60 billion in new spending in the first two years.
It adds over $7 trillion in debt over 10 years.
It raises taxes. And I don’t care what you call them – “fees,” “revenues” – if more money leaves the hands of the taxpayers and goes to the government, it is a tax increase.
So let’s stop playing word games in Washington.
It is time to get serious here, and this deal not only does not do it, it takes us backwards.
Even with the sequester in place, the budget never balances – doesn’t even come close.
Now, the Ryan-Murray plan decreases the only cuts from the sequester and replaces them with the promise of cuts in the future.
This is not a budget “deal.” It is a surrender. It is a cave in. It is a shame.
Only in Washington could everyone be more petrified of a slight decrease in spending than a rapidly escalating debt that threatens this generation and the next. When Wimpy of Popeye fame says the line, “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today,” every cartoon fan knows this is supposed to be a joke.
In Washington, this “joke” is their blueprint for “responsible” governing.
Undoing tens of billions of modest cuts in exchange for cuts at a much later date is like most Washington promises – not to be trusted.
I cannot support a budget that raises taxes and never balances, nor can I support a deal that does nothing to reduce our $17.3 trillion debt.
The Ryan-Murray deal increases taxes by increasing airline passengers’ fees to go toward airport security.
The next time you go through airport security, remember that you’re paying more to have your privacy invaded, paying more to be groped and patted down.
The increased fees will not really even go to the TSA; they will fund the $60 billion spending increase.
The Budget Control Act of 2011 and the sequester caps it established represent the only glimmer of hope we have had in beginning to reduce our debt in decades. It was never the perfect plan, but at least there was finally a plan.
The sequester was supposed to be an opening toward enacting more substantive cuts. It was supposed to be just a start. Now, the Ryan-Murray plan would put an end to it.
I cannot, in good conscience, support such a plan. Nor can anyone in either party who is honestly interested in responsible governance.