Republicans Forsake Fiscal Conservatism and Our Founding Principles
Early in the morning on February 9, 2018, Congress passed and President Trump signed “H.R. 1892: Further Extension of Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018; Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2018.” Exclamations of bipartisanship rang out from Washington, which sounds nice until you realize what it means for the budget. In this case, bipartisanship is simply Washington speak for both parties agreeing to more reckless spending, increased deficits, and more debt putting the solvency and security of our entire nation at risk.
Indeed, this bill is a monstrosity in several ways, with the first being the size of the bill. The Senate version of the bill clocks in at 640 pages! If you’re one of the few Americans who try to actually read the bills that our government enacts, then you’ll likely be bored by page 10, and come down with a severe migraine by page 25. In addition, if you think that the majority of our lawmakers, the people who vote for this bill, have actually read it, then I have a timeshare in Cancún to sell you.
This bill demolishes the spending caps placed by Congress in 2011 with the Budget Control Act (which is only 29 pages). This bill will, “bust the budget caps by at least $300 billion over the next two years… [and] increase defense spending by $80 billion and non-defense spending by $63 billion for FY 2018 and by $80 billion and $68 billion respectively for FY 2019. Pursuant to the 2011 BCA, the caps for 2018 were set at $549 billion for defense and $516 billion for nondefense, but will now be increased to $629 billion and $579 billion respectively.”
For a country that has a debt totaling over $20 trillion dollars, this is a massive increase in spending, which puts us exactly in the wrong direction, and further away from a balanced budget.
Now, I am highly critical of the Obama Administration, where our debt nearly doubled from just over $10 trillion dollars to just under $20 trillion. Yet, during the last year of the Obama administration, our government’s gross expenditures exceeded our gross revenue (deficit) by $587 billion dollars, whereas the deficit in the first year of the Trump Administration grew to $666 billion dollars (a Biblically ominous number), and is now projected to exceed $1 trillion dollars in 2019! Folks, this is fiscal insanity. No household can run a budget like this for long and neither can a country.
Now, this bill passed the Senate with an overwhelming majority of 71-28, and with a majority of the House 240-186. Just to be clear, the bill in both houses passed with more support and votes from Republicans than from Democrats. So, this is not something for which to put blame on the Democrats. No, the blame for passage of this bill rests squarely with the Republicans. Yet, quite literally no Republican (I should say conservative) priorities were acted upon in this bill. Over 1 year into the Trump Administration and Planned Parenthood is still receiving over $500 million dollars each year, sanctuary cities are still receiving federal funds, and castration in the military is still being paid for with federal (your) tax dollars. This is the bill that passed with more support from Republicans than Democrats.
Now, let us take a step back for a moment and consider our national debt of $20 trillion, and our projected deficits of more than $1 trillion/yr in a different light. Let us examine these figures in light of our founding principles. Is it the purpose of the people to work, provide money for, and serve the government that is above them? That would seem to be the case today, since we must remember that it is the people, and the future citizens of tomorrow who will end up pay off, or pay for, our national debt. But, this is a view straight from communism itself. This is not an American view.
Our founders believed that the purpose of the government was to serve, protect, and represent the people. The Declaration of Independence states that, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Now, here comes an equally important part of the Declaration, which describes the role of the government and the rights of the people. “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, - That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Governments, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
You see, America was not founded on the idea that the role of government is to coerce or constrain the people, nor is it the role of the people to serve the government at the cost of their liberty and property. Rather, America was founded on the belief that it is the role of the government to serve the people, to protect their safety, and to secure their God given and unalienable rights.
As a country, this is an idea that seems to have been lost. We must rediscover it. As Abraham Lincoln so eloquently appealed to all Americans in his race for the Senate against pro-slavery Stephen Douglas, “Let me entreat you to come back. Return to the fountain whose waters spring close by the blood of the Revolution. Think nothing of me - take no thought for the political fate of any man whomsoever - but come back to the truths that are in the Declaration of Independence.”
Republicans almost always campaign as conservatives by proclaiming the importance of the Constitution, and liberty. It is Republicans who campaign on the idea that a limited government is necessary to ensure the government serves the people, and not vice versa. But with this horrendous budget cap busting bill which increases spending and adds even more to our deficit and debt, Republicans have betrayed both fiscal conservatism and our founding principles.
With a crushing national debt, rising deficits, and an unsure future for our country, now is the time to take action before it is too late. Write to your representatives and let them know your thoughts on this bill. If they voted for it (which you can determine here and here), vote for their challenger in the next primary. Get involved in the Convention of States movement to add a balanced budget amendment to our Constitution. Do something that matters.
Let us take the advice of Lincoln, and “come back.” If we are to take up the framers call “to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity”, we must act. No country, including America, is guaranteed to last forever. In fact, history is littered with countries that have risen, and fallen. America is no exception. If we do not deal with our national debt, America will become like Greece and Rome. Something learned about only in history books. The time is short, and the choice is now.