Jane Chastain is a Southern California-based broadcaster, author and political commentator. Despite her present emphasis on politics, Jane always will be remembered as the nation's first female TV sportscaster, spending 17 years on the sports beat. Jane blogs at JaneChastain.com. She is a pilot who lives on a private runway.More ↓Less ↑
The American people just got flimflammed by their elected representatives, again.
It’s a matter of simple arithmetic. You are spending more than you are taking in. Your salary is flat with no relief in the foreseeable future, so your family is forced to cut its budget. Will you be spending more or less next year than you are this year?
“What kind of question is that?” you ask. “Of course, I will be spending less.”
Not in Washington. Our lawmakers were asked to cut the budget, and they made a deal that has us spending more each and every year. It’s a con game that has been going on inside the beltway for far too many years now, and it has got to stop!
I will borrow this analogy from Ron Paul: If you wanted to buy a Lamborghini and instead bought a fully loaded Mercedes, you could say you saved yourself a hundred grand. However, that would be an illusion because you can barely afford a used Honda. It also would be irresponsible.
It’s true. A little debt is manageable, but the kind of debt we have been racking up is not. Anyone who tells you we can tax and spend our way out of a $14 trillion debt is either dishonest or delusional.
If everything in this “deal” goes according to plan, in 10 years we will add – not subtract – another $7 trillion to our debt. Our leaders are using the old Washington “Current Services Baseline” trick to fool us again. The CSB, cooked up by the big spenders years ago, automatically assumes that spending will increase each and every year at a highly inflated rate. Anything less is considered a cut.
If you fall for this again, you deserve what you’ll get – and what you will get is Greece II. Whom do you think will bail us out? Not the Chinese. They already own us.
President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner are largely responsible for the deal. The Senate majority and minority leaders are twin political hacks, joined at the hip, who should have been turned out to pasture years ago. They really don’t count.
Obama should be a one-term president and Boehner should be a one-term speaker. We can, in fact, we must do better than this!
Obama, largely unknown before 2008, had one of the worst records on spending in the Senate. He was elected president on the wishful thinking of voters and a slogan of “hope” and “change.” Boehner was a member of the old guard, go-along-to-get-along establishment wing of the Republican Party. Can we really be surprised with this outcome?
In the last election, Republicans were handed control of the House of Representatives along with a mandate to cut spending. They have not delivered. It is some consolation that Speaker Boehner needed Democratic votes to get the “deal” out of the House because 66 members of his caucus refused to knuckle under and vote for it.
Boehner never intended to fight for us. Shortly after taking the gavel from Nancy Pelosi, he hosted the white flag of surrender by saying, “We control only half of one-third of the government, whine, whine.” That has become his mantra.
Yes, it is true that Republicans only control the House of Representatives, but that is precisely the portion of the government that controls the purse strings. That is why our Founding Fathers made members of the House of Representatives stand for re-election every other year. They knew we would hold them accountable … but we haven’t.
A real leader with this kind of a mandate would have said, “According to the Constitution, nothing gets spent unless we say it can be spent. That’s a lot of responsibility, and we intend to see that the country begins living within its means. If you want to work with us toward that end, great! If not, we will explain it to the American people.”
Sure, it may have taken a government shutdown or two to get the public’s attention, but this was the perfect time to do it.
Now, Boehner has kicked the can down the road past the next election. Worst part of all, the next big test in this budget deal will come during the holidays when it will be impossible to get the public engaged. That was the mistake Republicans made in 1995 during the last government shutdown. That is why they could not make their case and lost that battle.
Boehner must go. A real leader uses the power that he has. He doesn’t whine about needing more. A real leader learns from the mistakes of the past.