Is the Republican Party missing the point of these debt ceiling negotiations — that is, have they allowed the Democratic Party to define what the debate is really about, which is to increase the debt ceiling to expand the role government?
Columnist Mark Steyn says the answer is yes. Filling in as the guest host on Rush Limbaugh’s Monday show, Steyn explained the debt ceiling is not just a mechanism for allowing government to survive, but one that will allow it to continue to grow.
“What we’ve been talking about today is not really the debt ceiling because I don’t accept that as a kind of legitimate way of looking at it because the only issue — the only issue that matters is the size of government,” Steyn said.
“The bigger government gets, the more wasteful , the more unproductive it gets, the more stupid it gets,” he explained. “And that’s why we shouldn’t be talking about it in terms of the debt ceiling and the debt limit. The world will set America’s debt limit, and the world is already doing that.”
Steyn argued there are some assumptions that can’t be taken seriously in this debate, particularly that the rest of the world will invest one-fifth their gross domestic product in U.S. Treasury bonds. He said there is not any proof that other nations would be willing to buy that much American debt. So the real “debt limit” will be based on how much the world is willing to lend, which is partly tied to our own government’s fiscal responsibility.
However, he explained fiscal responsibility is unachievable with a European-style socialist democracy as the ultimate goal.
“We’re talking here about — you know it’s one thing to have a spendthrift government in Sweden or Iceland because there are only a couple of million of those guys,” he said. “It’s a very different thing to do it in a country of 300 million people.”
Steyn said there was a cost that wasn’t as obvious as the government’s expanding bottom line: what it costs individuals in terms of their time and money, which are components of their liberty. And that’s being missed from the debt ceiling debate, he said.
“Accepting the terms of this debate is nuts and Republicans should be mad about this,” Steyn said. “The Republican leadership should be saying, ‘We don’t want to play this game. You can play this game yourselves. We want to talk about the size of government. We want to talk about lowering spending. You guys spend too much.’”