February 11, 2016 - Thursday
Giving Credit When Credit Is Due...
The Treasury Department takes charge -- especially VISA and MasterCard! Those are just two ways the U.S. government is accepting donations to pay down the $19,012,827,698,400 debt it owes as of February 1. (If you think that number's scary, wait until you see the interest!) Last year, Americans gave more than $3 million to the effort, which is just a drop in the IOU bucket at the rate Congress is spending.
Now, in historic borrowing trouble, the U.S. will need a lot more than people's charity to steer the country away from insolvency. Unfortunately, the crisis doesn't seem to faze President Obama, who's setting records (and not the good kind) by presiding over the single greatest debt increase in U.S. history. Remember when Barack Obama said it was "unpatriotic" and "irresponsible" for his predecessor to add $4 trillion to the national debt? Well, I wonder what it's called when you add double that with a year to go? And here's the kicker: the White House's latest budget proposal would dig the hole $8 trillion deeper over the next 10 years if it passed (which, thank goodness, it never will). House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) could only shake his head. "President Obama will leave office having never proposed a budget that balances -- ever."
But let's be honest: Congress is as much to blame for this mess as Obama. It was a Republican House, after all, that agreed to suspend the debt limit until 2017, giving the government a blank check to borrow whatever it wants! Add that to the millions in drunk monkey studies, talking urinal cakes, IRS popcorn machines, and the waste will have you crying more than the Vidalia onion promotion campaign. Now, a couple of months after rushing a $1.1 trillion omnibus out the door, some Republicans are grumbling that they didn't tackle the spending crisis when they had the chance.
With serious budget talks getting underway -- and the possibility of debating these issues under "regular order" -- some members are regretting that Speaker Boehner didn't fight harder for more responsible budget caps. As a result, Rep. Rick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) pointed out, "We are being asked right now to vote for a budget... at a level of spending none of us support." That's the problem. Unlike Rep. Mulvaney, some did support it. And it will take a concentrated effort to undo the damage that years of compromise has done. Budgeting in an open, sensible, and transparent process will help. But not as much as making the time and painful choices necessary to pass the kind of fiscal reform the country needs -- and our children deserve.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.