According to common perception among the mainstream media and even a plurality of citizens, Barack Obama and the Democrats have managed to control the terms of the debate on debt reduction during the past week. A Quinnipiac poll, for example, indicates that more voters would blame the Republicans than Democrats if the government defaults on its debt, and that they trust Obama more than the GOP to handle the economy.
That poll is questionable given that other polling firms show that by an overwhelming majority Americans oppose raising the debt ceiling–the position taken by most Republicans–not Obama and the Democrats. And the most recent Gallup poll shows that Obama would lose to a generic, unnamed Republican–any Republican–by 8 points in 2012.
Let’s suppose, however, that the Quinnipiac poll is correct and that Obama and the Democrats have had the upper hand in the debate over the past week. The momentum seems to be suddenly shifting in the other direction.
The House GOP decided today to proceed with its own program for debt reduction apart from any negotiations with Obama. The reason is that the talks have stalled. And, contrary to common sentiment, Obama and the Democrats have stubbornly dug in the their heels, refusing to back off their demands for $1 TRILLION dollars in tax increases. They also have refused to budge on the amount of government spending reductions they are willing to live with. Those reductions are but a mere drop in the bucket compared to what is required to address the dangerous, unsustainable debt load the U.S. now carries, the vast majority of which is in unfunded liabilities such as Social Security and Medicare.
Given the impasse, the House GOP decided to move forward, seizing the upper hand in the debt reduction debate by setting a vote for their program called ‘Cap, Cut, and Balance.’ That vote will occur next Wednesday.
‘Cap, Cut, and Balance’ is a 3-pronged approach to addressing the debt problem, which was first introduced by Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah. A pledge was developed for members to sign. The vast majority of Republicans in the Senate and the House have signed the pledge, which is now formulated into a bill that can be voted into law.
First, the plan would ‘cap’ the debt ceiling by reluctantly agreeing to raise it one more time in exchange for at least the same amount of spending cuts. In other words, if the ceiling is raised by 2 trillion, which Obama and the Democrats want, then they would be required to cut at least 2 trillion from federal spending in order for Republicans to sign on.
But House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, stated that the amount of spending cuts must exceed the amount of the ceiling increase, or else jobs will be lost. Some Congressmen insist that at least 4 trillion in spending cuts are sorely needed.
Thus, the second plank in the GOP plan is a program of drastic cuts in federal spending. Without those cuts, regardless of what Democrats say, the U.S. is headed for a financial tsunami every bit as devastating, if not more so, than Greece, Ireland, and Spain, all of which are basically bankrupt. Interestingly, those governments are now forced to cut entitlements due to the fact that most of their out-of-control spending occurs in those areas. And it has been a hard pill to swallow, with citizens taking to the streets in protest.
The third part of the GOP plan is to balance the federal budget by adding a mandatory balanced budget requirement to the U.S. Constitution. This would prevent Congress from spending more money than the government takes in, and would forever end the need to borrow money.
By seizing the initiative on the debt talks and setting the terms of the debate, the GOP will now have the upper hand. Their plan seems to be a prudent course that will dig the country out of the massive debt that has nearly doubled in only 3 years.
Conservatives have generally opposed raising the debt ceiling. However, such a compromise may be a small price to pay in order to get the spending cuts that are needed. Raising the ceiling will have zero negative impact as long as multi-trillions of dollars are cut from federal spending. And doing so will disarm the Democrats who will no longer be able to blame Republicans if the failure to raise the debt ceiling results in negative consequences.
Be sure to catch my blog at The Liberty Sphere.
Visit my ministry site at Martin Christian Ministries.
Subscribe by clicking the links at the top of the page, or below, and you will receive free notifications of new articles plus a free newsletter.