Looking at all the smiling faces on the other side of the aisle, I have to ask: are Democrats still the minority party?
You would be tempted to think the $1 trillion government funding deal is like Christmas morning for them, as Republicans have handed them free media to brag about how much of the President’s agenda they have stopped.
You’ll see it in the news as an “Omnibus spending bill,” when it should really be called “the Status Quo Protection Act.” President Hillary Clinton would have been proud of this bill.
It tosses out campaign promises as it continues to fund the military industrial complex and the welfare state.
It not only rejects President Trump’s calls for cuts to multiple agencies, but it increases their funding by millions of dollars.
It paves the way for those agencies to engage in more “use it or lose it” September spending.
It leaves our deficit at well over $500 billion.
While good provisions are tucked in, “[o]verall,” as Bloomberg reported, “the compromise resembles more of an Obama administration-era spending bill than a Trump one.”
Instead of legislating from crisis to crisis, Republicans should use fiscal deadlines to articulate the principles that supposedly set us apart – to boldly defend the conservative philosophy that fueled the country’s growth and can lead it into a new era of prosperity.
Yet, for too long, Republican majorities have backed down from those debates. Like Monty Python’s Sir Robin, they have turned and fled from what seems the least bit threatening, with no shortage of people willing to sing their praises for “bravely” doing so.
As a result, we’ve allowed a narrative that equates “compassion with money” to dominate. If you don’t want to increase funding levels, you’re painted as not caring about the underlying issue.
If you don’t want to give the military a blank check, you’re said to be unpatriotic.
In the church of Big Government, every dollar is holy.
Meanwhile, the conservative argument says health care improves as you get government out of the way. You can better protect the environment when you empower states and localities instead of a centralized bureaucracy. Government can more efficiently and effectively deliver its services – and more easily customize them for each state’s needs – as greater control is returned to the local level.
You free Americans to save for retirement, educate their children, or support small businesses when you don’t nickel-and-dime them with every last tax or fee. Cutting down on red tape incentivizes entrepreneurs to chase their dreams, start a business, and innovate. Removing the promise of guaranteed money demands the highest quality research and results to justify continued support.
In the end, how compassionate is it if we can’t help anyone because politicians bankrupted our nation by forcing the federal government to try to do everything?
We tell our kids “money doesn’t grow on trees,” and that runaway debt robs people of their freedom and limits their opportunities.
Yet Washington believes it is an economics-free zone, where basic principles and common sense simply don’t apply.
But economic laws are called that for a reason, and the balance always comes due, even when you have a central bank eager to repeatedly bail you out.
“Kick the can” is a great kids game but a poor way to run a government.
Former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen tried to warn us in 2010 when he called debt “[t]he most significant threat to our national security.” History is littered with the ruins of nations who fast-tracked their own decline by becoming overextended.
There’s no doubt you and I live in a dangerous world, with threats we must defeat. But as long as we continue to spend with abandon, pile it on the backs of the taxpayers we claim to serve, and pretend it’s all okay, we are ultimately our own worst enemies.
We will not be able to adequately defend ourselves, much less lead others, if we’re drowning in debt with a destroyed dollar.
Earlier this year, I introduced a budget that repealed Obamacare, froze all on-budget spending without making changes to Social Security, gave agencies time to prepare for new spending levels, and contained zero specific cuts to any government function so we could work together to prioritize spending. It did all this while actually balancing.
We must meet our obligations, but we can do so while responsibly instituting reforms and embracing the change we promised the American people.