On the evening of Feb. 8, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky., took to the Senate floor in defiance of the 2018 spending bill that was allegedly being debated.
This country is more than $22 trillion in debt, and Paul brought up legitimate concerns. For his efforts, his words fell on deaf ears, not only in the Senate chamber, but across our nation. Hypocrisy is a constant state of mind in D.C. and the undercurrent of our failures to govern at the national level.
I say allegedly debated because one would have to be deaf and blind to believe what occurred in Washington during the passage of our most recent spending provisions was anything thing less than duplicity. This recent spending bill was quickly followed by another letdown with the proposed budget from the White House. With so many issues facing our nation, it is easy for our representatives to hide behind our complacency as a nation.
Our inability to adhere to commonsense, fiscal discipline and take our economic safety seriously is eroding any hope for the financial security for future generations.
There was no way in hell any sense of a reasonable debate could have transpired leading up to the passage of this colossal spending bill, a point made abundantly clear by Sen. Paul. This intense piece of legislation was approximately a 700-page bill delivered to our representatives with less than 24 hours to read it before they had to vote on it (let alone provide for a proper analytic review). I will give some credit to the 73 Democrats and 67 Republicans in the House who voted against the albatross; although like so much that happens in D.C., many of the “no” votes had little to do with the desire to try to rein in the fiscal madness in D.C.
As with most presidential budgets, the 2019, $4.4 trillion White House spending plan was dead on arrival. But the budget and recently passed spending bill made one thing perfectly clear, the original concept of the modern Tea Party is dead, and with that the possibility of fiscal sanity in D.C. The fiscal 2019 deficit is projected to be approximately $1 trillion (according to the U.S. Treasury Department) and the massive spending bill is littered with spending funded by borrowed money. We are borrowing money from Japan and China to pay for disaster relief; this is absolute lunacy, and there was barely a clamor by many who were part of the modern Tea Party that screamed during the Obama years.
The implications of debt and deficit spending have the potential to put our nation on track to eventually owe more to its creditors than the economy produces in a fiscal year. The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget projects the United States will run $2 trillion annual budget deficits by 2027, and could reach a debt-to-gross domestic product ratio of 105 percent. Even if our nation responds positively to the projected numbers being offered by the Republicans, it will not be close enough to help overcome our annual spending deficits and overall debt.
The gut instinct of a politic apparatchik is to survive, even at the cost of doing what is right for the nation. Eventually, a drunken sailor stops spending when they run out of money. However, all you have to do is print and borrow more money, and then falsely claim you are “investing in America,” as if that excuse is somehow a noble endeavor. Is it any wonder our elected representatives lack any discipline? Yet, a willing electorate doesn’t perceive the problem to be real because the money isn’t real. As if this justifies indebting our children and grandchildren (and God knows how many other generations), every year adding one more link in the chain that will bind future generations to our failures.
What fascinates me are the topsy-turvy attitudes over this past year. People, who once ignored our debt-deficit crisis, are now beating the drums of anxiety. While those who claimed to be concerned about our ever growing debt and yearly deficit spending just a few years ago are offering excuses and waving like a cop at an accident scene, saying “nothing to see folks, move along.” Sen. Paul was right; many of the Republicans are hypocrites and should be ashamed.
What I also find comical is how the media has suddenly warmed up to the concept that deficit spending and an ever expanding national debt might be harmful to our nation’s overall stability. But it is not new for them; they merely took a respite during the Obama administration. Now all the media has to do is dust off their stories from the Bush administration, change a few dates, update the numbers with a couple more zeroes, and “find and replace” the names of the actors, and voila, headlines and stories of our pending fiscal collapse are back in-vogue. It is not as if the media or Democrats really care, they just relish the opportunity to divert the public away from their own double standards.
Democrats are no better and lack any moral authority on this topic. Suddenly, they pretend they are concerned about reckless deficit spending. In one breath they try to hold Republicans accountable for reckless spending, while voting to increase the debt and encouraging even more deficit spending. In the twisted logic of the Democratic leadership, what they are in essence saying, the Republicans are “hypocrites,” because now that the GOP has control of everything, they are spending like Democrats. I will give both parties this much, what they lack in integrity on this issue, they more than make up for in chutzpah.
We are a nation suffering a fiscal deficit of our own making and a deficit of courage to do what is morally right. We choose to be cowards, and in our indifference, we are doing a horrendous disservice to our children.