Editorial

The Tea Party’s hatchet vs. Obama’s scalpel

Gary Aldrich Contributor

Change we can believe in has finally arrived in our nation’s capital. Last fall, the American people voted in mass to elect candidates that advocate the core principles of the Tea Party: fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government. In repayment for their support in November, the newly elected Tea Party candidates scored a major victory over the GOP establishment by pushing through their plan to cut $100 billion from the continuing resolution.

This is all in spite of the Republican leadership’s initial $32 billion proposal — a far cry from the $100 billion in cuts promised by Republicans on the campaign trail.

Many media outlets and pundits focused on a perceived “Tea Party victory” relating to last week’s delayed reauthorization of the Patriot Act. Instead, they should focus on the Tea Party’s continued influence, forcing Republicans to revisit their initial continuing resolution proposal and triple the dollar amount of cuts.

This is remarkable, particularly since these cuts are the first ever proposed in a CR. True to their message during the campaign season, the Tea Party is restoring liberty by reining in federal spending and in general, governing with an emphasis on individualism — the acknowledgement that the individual is the most important component of society.

The White House released a statement on Tuesday threatening to veto a bill with such extensive cuts, claiming it would “undermine our ability to out-educate, out-build, and out-innovate the rest of the world.” It is odd that any rational person could take this position.

While liberals use words like draconian and severe to describe proposed spending cuts, there is a question that is never asked: What is more draconian and severe than accumulating more than a trillion dollars in debt per year?

Not only are the Tea Party cuts needed, they are just the start of a major restructuring of the budget that will include reforming the unsustainable entitlement programs that threaten to crush the economy with trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities.

And instead of using this moment to make a substantial attempt to close the budget gap, the administration further proved its ineptitude by proposing $1.5 trillion in new taxes and freezing non-security discretionary spending at post-stimulus levels in the president’s 2012 budget released Monday.

His budget estimates a deficit of $1.645 trillion for this year — a number that represents the highest debt-to-G.D.P. ratio for the U.S. since WWII. With three consecutive deficits surpassing the $1 trillion mark, our country is headed towards a loss of our AAA credit rating and eventual insolvency.

This is the central problem with our country. Statist politicians like Obama share an undying commitment to Big Government and a lack of faith in the individual. Why else would he claim that cutting $100 billion would diminish our ability to build and innovate? The White House’s statement is an implicit acknowledgement that Obama believes that the government and not the private sector creates prosperity.

Most sensible Americans realize that the worst policy to achieve economic growth is to hinder the country with a more confiscatory tax system. As Congressman Paul Ryan stated, “We do not have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem.”

Any legitimate attempt to put our economy back on solid ground needs to start by addressing the reckless spending that is crowding out real entrepreneurial activity.

Tea Party politicians must stand firm on their cuts to the CR and be prepared for a government shutdown. Ignoring the problem is no longer an option. Americans need to face a harsh reality: the country is broke. If we want to entertain any hope of restoring fiscal sanity and averting the looming fiscal crisis, it is imperative that we take this first step in cutting $100 billion from the continuing resolution. We owe it to our posterity.

Gary Aldrich is the president of Liberty Central.