Obama’s only solution is to spend

Jim DeMint Former U.S. Senator from South Carolina
Font Size:

President Obama’s speech Wednesday is no different than any of the speeches that came before it.

The teleprompter always says spend. Higher taxes are the heart of every plan.

President Obama has never, and will never, provide clear and specific plans to reduce government spending. To do so would go against everything Democrats represent. Government spending is the lifeblood of their party. The free, easy, and uninterrupted flow of taxpayer money to their favored constituencies is necessary for their political survival.

A Democrat without government favors to hand out is like Santa Claus without a big bag of toys to give away. It’s central to their identity. It’s what they do. The Democrats’ strongest allies — the unions, environmentalists, trial lawyers, and abortion activists — demand tax dollars and favors as a condition of their political support. If the Democrats don’t deliver the goods, they lose their backing and risk losing their elections.

The teleprompter is permanently stuck on spend. More spending, more borrowing, and more government are the basis of every one of Obama’s causes and his answer to all of the nation’s problems.

As a result, more people are dependent on government funding than ever before. The government has grown so large that there are nearly twice as many people working for the government than all of manufacturing. More than 64 million Americans rely on the government to provide their daily housing, food, and health care needs. Yet, 47 percent of Americans pay no federal income taxes. And American companies pay the second-highest corporate tax rates in the world.

If the trend continues, the takers will overtake the makers. A nation of dependents cannot maintain its independence for long.

It is encouraging that the 2010 elections have shifted the debate in Washington from spending to saving, but budget gimmicks cannot close gaping, trillion-dollar deficits. The supposedly “historic” budget cuts Obama recently agreed to pale in comparison to the cost of his historic spending spree.

Over the last few decades federal spending has grown much faster than American earning power. Yet, the answer in Washington is always more spending, not less. Middle-income Americans’ earnings have increased by 29 percent since 1970 but government spending has risen by a whopping 242 percent.

A nation that owes more than it can ever produce is destined for bankruptcy. Drastic measures are needed to reverse course.

Fundamental budget reforms and fixed spending caps must be installed to counter the mounting debt that threatens the country’s credit ratings and fiscal standing.

A constitutional, balanced budget amendment that limits government spending to 18 percent of the gross domestic product (the average rate of tax receipts since World War II) and requires a two-thirds majority to raise taxes is the best solution. Such a measure would force members of Congress, by law, to work together to find ways to trim the budget rather than come up with excuses to increase it.

President Obama has promised, ever since he was a presidential candidate, to lead the way towards deficit reduction. Since he was inaugurated, $3.6 trillion has been added to the debt. Those who call for the president to exercise “leadership” on budget measures haven’t been watching where he is going. Obama is clearly leading. But, he’s leading in the wrong direction.

A $1.6 trillion annual deficit doesn’t happen by accident or because Washington is doing something right.

To keep up the big-government spending binge, Obama has upped the nation’s legal borrowing limit three times as president. Already, the government borrows 40 cents of every dollar it spends and now Obama Democrats want authorization to borrow even more.

President Obama is demanding that Congress increase the debt ceiling again — for the fourth time since he’s entered office. The White House insists it must be a “clean” vote with no language attached that would force any spending reductions.

In other words, Obama wants another blank check.

The teleprompter says spend.

And, the more speeches he gives, the more obvious it becomes that passing a constitutional, balanced budget amendment is the only way to change the script.

Jim Demint is a U.S. Senator from South Carolina.