Today is a monumentally important day that is being treated as a fait accompli by the Beltway ruling class and its partners, the legacy media. This morning, the Congress is scheduled to select its leaders for the coming session. If all goes according to plan, Republicans will double down on stupid – ignoring the conservatives who gave them control of the House and reappointing the same leadership team that turned the triumph of 2010 into the disaster of 2012.
In the historic 2010 midterm elections, conservatives gave Republicans a chance to prove that they’d repented of their huge-spending nanny-state ways. It was not that conservatives were won over by a Republican establishment that, during the Bush years, had run up an astounding $5 trillion of debt while creating new entitlements and launching an ill-conceived experiment in sharia-democracy building. Instead, it was that we needed to stop Obama’s doubly expensive gallop to the left, to a post-American rejection of our liberty culture. In the short term, Republicans were the only game in town.
Over the long haul, however, there were two alternatives: Either (a) the Republican Party would prove that it had become an effective vehicle for advocating and using its power to begin putting into effect the dramatic change necessary to reverse – not just halt, reverse – the debt abyss and the metastasis of the central government; or (b) the Republican Party would prove that it was not up to this challenge, would substitute lame excuses (“We only control one-half of one-third of the government”) for steely spines, and would therefore demonstrate that conservatives would be better off abandoning the GOP and establishing a new vehicle.
We’ve now seen enough to draw a conclusion: the Republican Party says what it believes must be said to entice conservative votes at election time, but it is not remotely serious about implementing limited government policies or dealing with the two central challenges of our age, existentially threatening deficit spending and Islamic supremacism.
Under the leadership of progressive-lite House Speaker John Boehner and his fellow professional Washington moderates in the GOP Senate leadership, congressional Republicans agreed to budgeting that internalized into its baselines Obama’s exorbitant stimulus spending. They signed off on a reckless extension of the government’s line of credit to an astounding $16.4 trillion, then cynically insulted our intelligence by attempting to obscure and deny their approval of it – and presently, they are laying the groundwork to raise this “debt ceiling” to a mind-boggling $19 trillion, the next stop on the road to $22 trillion and beyond. As Mark Steyn observes, the federal government now borrows a staggering $188
billion million per hour, adding $1 trillion to the debt every nine months. Contrary to what the GOP tells you, none of this could happen without the approval of the Republican-controlled House.
To get some perspective, it took over 200 years for the country to run up $5 trillion in debt. Under current Republican leadership, $5 trillion was added in just the eight years of the Bush administration. Another $5-plus trillion has been added in just four years under Obama. With over a trillion dollars in purportedly “extraordinary” stimulus spending now baked in the ordinary budget cake, Leviathan’s spending now doubles the $1.9 trillion stratosphere it hit just eleven years ago. In the Bush years, the GOP zoomed it to $3 trillion before the economy tanked in 2007-08, largely thanks to the bipartisan insanity of financing mortgages for people who couldn’t afford them. On the current trajectory pushed by Obama with Republican acquiescence – and without accounting for catastrophes both foreseeable (e.g., a rise in interest rates, war, the real costs of Obamacare) and unforeseen – expenditures will top $4.5 trillion at the end of Obama’s second term.
Yes, Obama is driving this suicide train, but he has lots of company up front. The vaunted Ryan budget plan – over which Republicans thump their chests – would escalate spending to $4.9 trillion by 2022. It claims what Republicans always claim: they’re going to get serious … tomorrow … or maybe the next day – or the next decade. Indeed, Congressman Ryan would balance the federal budget by … wait for it … 2040. That is, in some future decade, long after many of us die fat and happy on the stolen prosperity of our children and grandchildren, the skies will open and the mythical disciplined political class will descend to impose responsible governance. Until then, Party on dudes! And never you mind that as Ryan and Boehner and McConnell and the rest well know, today’s session of Congress cannot bind future Congresses. The guys who can’t even control 2013 never have any trouble telling you how well they’ve arranged things to run in 2040.