At this moment — 10:37 a.m. EST — the House is considering the Brat Amendment to H.R. 6, a bill which would fund the National Institute of Health and the Federal Drug Administration and has one of those precious titles implying that big government can indeed — and in this case, literally — fix what ails you: the “21st Century Cures Act.”
Most media reported Dave Brat’s election as primarily being due to his stance on immigration. Yet while on the stump in Virginia’s 7th, Brat said that citizens actually responded most fervently to his promise to lead a full frontal assault on the national debt.
Brat was a full professor of Economics at Randolph-Macon — he mentions Milton Friedman, Ronald Reagan’s point man on the economy, as his greatest influence.
For a body that deliberates over the greatest collection of wealth in human history, you would expect a few more economists would fill its roster. But shockingly — or not at all, Washington being Washington — Dave Brat is the only Economics Ph.D. in either the House or Senate, let alone the only Econ professor. (Brat was as surprised as I was to discover that, prior to his election. I had been researching something else, came across that fact, and asked if he was aware no one had been elected with an Econ Ph.D. since Phil Gramm. It’s just Brat now, yet Paul Ryan continues in his role as the supposed premier GOP voice on budgetary issues.)
Brat’s amendment has nothing to do with the bill’s intent — only with the bill being proffered with Washington’s favorite funding method, “autopilot,” wherein your tax money is spent automatically without future Congressional review or public notice. In practice, this surmounts to Taxation without Representation, as “autopilot” is not an entity Constitutionally qualified to hold office nor even an experimental Facebook gender identification option.
Brat gave the following speech (click to the next page) this morning. You’ll notice that it differs from the typical Floor speech in that it makes sense to adults who manage budgets, and that it treats Virginia’s 7th like citizens, not as Pinterest “likes”…
I rise to support my amendment against the creation of a new mandatory program.
Some on the other side have called my amendment a poison pill.
I consider that a compliment.
A poison pill was reserved for the man who brought human reason to Greece.
I similarly would like to bring a bit of reason to bear on the budget process of the United States.
We are currently $127 trillion light on mandatory spending at present.
This means by 2027, all federal revenues will be spent on only mandatory programs.
This is a disaster.
My children right now are 13 and 16.
By the time they are about 30 we will have zero dollars for running government, because all dollars will be spent on these mandatory programs.
We all want cures, and I am for the underlying bill.
But in economics, rationality requires that we rank our preferences in order and fund the best programs.
This is one of them.
There is no issue finding two billion dollars out of a three and a half trillion dollar budget.
But currently there is no discipline up here in this city.
We just fund everything and hand the bill to the next generation.
Every mandatory program starts off with high hopes.
But go to the trustee reports on the major mandatory programs today, and you will find that they are all insolvent.
By around 2030 as well.
So today, you will hear all sorts of fancy terminology about pay-fors and oil reserves and deficits, but don’t be fooled.
Our annual deficit spending is $500 billion and on its way to a trillion in a few years.
We are off course on every front.
We always talk about the children.
But at present, we are handing them $18 trillion in debt and another $127 trillion bill in mandatory programs.
You want the truth?
The children are the only group without a lobbyist up here on Capitol Hill, and that’s why they’re getting trashed.
If you want a cure, go to a doctor.
But if you want to clean up the U.S. economy, please consult an economist or two.
The numbers and the story I have given are not in dispute.
The only issue is whether we have the resolve to balance our budgets and leave our children a brighter day.
I urge a YES vote on the amendment.
Thank you, and I reserve the balance of my time.
Of course, Washington being Washington, Brat’s amendment was defeated, and every health industry lobbyist savvy enough to file incorporation papers to create entities with authority-tinged names took to Twitter to celebrate, because — as mentioned above — in the end, and also in the beginning, they think of you as retweets, not citizens:
— United4MedResearch (@UMR4NIH) July 10, 2015
Still, shoot an email to Brat’s press sec at [email protected] with a thank you — this way, you’ll have e-proof that you tried to stop Rome from falling again, for the same exact reason, when your kids ask what you were doing while their present was being dismantled.