The Democratic Party Versus the Tea Party

The budget battle arising in Washington will paint a dramatic contrast between the two major parties. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget for fiscal year 2012 is not even due out until April. But the House GOP has approved cuts that total $100 billion for fiscal year 2011 as compared to President Obama’s 2011 budget request, which was their campaign promise in 2010. In federal budget years, fiscal year 2011 started on October 1, 2010, before the House GOP even took office in January.

Confusion arises because last year’s Democrat-controlled Congress did not even pass a budget. The government has been operating so far this year on a continuing resolution (CR) that was adopted last December to fund the government through March 4. The $61 billion in cuts the media has reported the GOP House as approving and sending to the Senate is by comparison to a baseline for the rest of this fiscal year under that continuing resolution (CR).

Because the Democratic-controlled Senate was not prepared to act in time to extend funding for the government past March 4, to avoid a government shutdown the House GOP approved a 2 week extension of the CR that implemented $4 billion of that $61 billion in cuts. Senate Democrats agreed to that, which only keeps the government funded through March 18.

But the Democrats have drawn the line at agreeing to only $6.5 billion more in cuts for the rest of this fiscal year (until September 30), for a total of $10.5 billion in cuts for fiscal year 2011. The Senate’s second ranking Democrat, Dick Durbin from Illinois, proclaimed on Fox News Sunday a week ago that this $10 billion in cuts for 2011 was the absolute limit. If those wild-eyed Republicans were allowed to cut any more, Durbin claimed, the fragile economic recovery would be stalled, and America would lose the critical federal spending President Obama and the Democrats believe is essential to maintaining America’s competitiveness with China.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, predicted on CBS’s Face the Nation on February 20 that implementing the GOP’s full $100 billion spending cut for fiscal year 2011 would cause a loss of 800,000 jobs.  Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) claimed the GOP spending cuts would risk a double dip recession.

For a little context, President Obama’s own budget projects the federal deficit for fiscal year 2011 at $1.645 trillion, or $1,645 billion, with total federal spending at $3.819 trillion, or $3,819 billion. The Democrats’ position is that it would be radical and extreme, imperiling the lives of women and children, with nearly a million jobs lost, while further risking a double dip recession, if more than $10 billion out of that $3,819 billion in spending were cut, and the deficit of $1,645 billion were reduced to less than $1,635 billion.

And this is before we even get to the main event, which is the full budget for the new 2012 fiscal year. President Obama’s budget for that year opens the bidding with a net spending cut of $6 billion, compared to total federal spending he proposes for next year of $3,729 billion, leaving a federal deficit he projects for that year of $1,101 billion.

Which raises a question for Messers Durbin, Van Hollen, Schumer and Obama: how stupid do you think we are? Can you possibly expect us to believe that cutting more than one-fourth of one percent out of a record multitrillion dollar budget is a radical, extreme measure that would yank food out of the mouths of children, deny women essential health care, and crash the economy?

We are supposed to believe that slashing the deficit from $1,645 billion all the way down to $1,545 billion will somehow deprive America of the ability to compete. But somehow that very deficit of $1,645 billion does not deprive America of competitiveness with China, and the rest of the world.

Here is a little more context. President Obama’s own budget shows that the national debt will more than double over his one term in office, from $5.8 trillion in 2008 to $11.9 trillion in 2012. That means that in just one term of office, President Obama will have accumulated more national debt than all prior presidents combined, from George Washington to George W. Bush.

Moreover, in February, the federal deficit totaled $222.5 billion for just that one month, an all time record. For the last fiscal year for which Republican congressional majorities adopted the budget, 2007, the federal deficit for the entire year was $161 billion. Early last year, when President Obama spoke at the Republican Congressional Retreat, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) rose to allege that what were the annual deficits under the Republicans had become the monthly deficits under the Democrats.  President Obama denounced the statement as untrue, saying that sort of wild rhetoric is what prevents the parties from working together. But it is rank dishonesty taking advantage of the difficulties the average voter faces in parsing through the blizzard of budget numbers and documents, without any help from the Democratic Party-controlled “mainstream” media, that prevents the parties from working together.

What all this reveals is that the Democrats are at war even more with the Tea Party than with the Republican Party. The Democrats consider the Tea Party and its grassroots activists to be on another planet, and bitterly oppose everything they believe in. That is what was reflected in Rep. Barney Frank’s recent comment comparing the Tea Party to a meeting between the Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit.