House Republicans Should Stay the Course on the Federal Budget
By Tucker Scofield
In a New York Times op-ed dated February 26th and entitled “Why Wouldn’t the Tea Party Shut It Down?” columnist Frank Rich airs his leftist (and often ludicrous) thoughts on why House Republicans are pushing for $61 billion in federal budget cuts and what will happen if they succeed (see link at the bottom of the page). Amazingly, Rich somehow manages to shoehorn virtually every anti-Republican slur from the past decade into just over 1,500 words. A possible government shutdown is the main theme of the article but Rich, sounding Pelosi-esque in his flatulence, resorts to fear-mongering rhetoric that includes classic throwbacks such as the endangerment of Social Security, Medicare, veteran’s benefits, and Planned Parenthood; tax cuts for the wealthy; the Republican agenda directly benefitting Wall Street fat-cats; the Republican Party as a pawn of Big Business; the Republican Party as a pawn of Big Oil; and more current themes such as Republican intentions to destroy organized labor and the Tea Party’s silly, immature disregard for politics. Rich condescendingly addresses every aspect of the Republican/conservative agenda while belittling its leaders and the 87 freshmen conservatives under their charge. He even manages to toss in the obligatory reference to the failed policies of the Bush administration. Incredible.
Rich’s repugnance is surpassed only by his conviction, assuming he actually believes his own drivel, and his commentary stands as proof-positive that the imbecilic idealism of the country’s educated elite is alive and well, standing in stark, polar opposition to the views of the conservative right.
That polar opposition (and perhaps the catalyst for Rich’s ranting lunacy) was laid out the day previous in another New York Times op-ed by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (“If It Comes to a Shutdown, the GOP Should Stick to its Principles” – see link at bottom of page). Gingrich corrects current leftist revisionism asserting that the government shutdown of 1995 was a disaster. He does so by highlighting House Republican accomplishments during that period: Fiscal discipline that led to the largest drop in federal discretionary spending since 1969, and the balanced budget deal that was struck in 1997. Gingrich stated that these accomplishments “would all have been impossible had Republicans not stood firm in 1995 and shown the American people (and the White House) that we were serious about reducing spending.”
Newt must’ve known my grandfather, who told me that sometimes the best way to get the attention of a jackass is with a two-by-four.
Another stark contrast lies in Rich’s assertion that Big Government is the key to economic recovery, that a shutdown in this current economic climate risks destabilizing what little recovery we’ve experienced and puts those in need of a “government safety net” at highest risk. Republicans and conservatives assert that it is a bloated, overreaching, and overbearing federal government – the very government that Rich extols and desires – that stands in the way of a full economic recovery, and that the modest steps taken thus far by Republicans have stimulated that mini-recovery.
Gingrich articulates this point in a January 20th interview with Human Events (see link below). “This government is so bloated, the liberal democrats have created so many new ways of spending that you should literally cut the government, not just slow the rate of increase.” He went on to state that it was tax cuts and anti-regulation legislation back in 1995 that created an environment in which entrepreneurs felt good about hiring and which reduced unemployment to about 4%, a big difference from where we find ourselves today. “The difference between 9.8% unemployment (the rate at the time of his interview) and 4% unemployment, in terms of taking that big a part of the population off of food stamps, off of unemployment, off of Medicaid, and putting them back into the work force paying taxes, that combination – more revenue from more people working, less spending because fewer people are unemployed – is the biggest single thing you can take to balance the budget.”
Many have talked the talk but Gingrich has walked the walk. House Republicans would do well to listen to the voice of experience and stick to their guns. They weren’t elected in November’s landslide by being “Progressive Lite”; they won because they differentiated themselves as principled men and women of action who recognized that the time to act is now.
They should also take comfort in the fact that out of the far left corner of the same mouth comes both the vitriolic condemnation of Republicans for threatening to shut down the federal government and praise for members of Wisconsin and Indiana’s Democrat leadership for fleeing their duties and holding those states hostage. They should recall that the road to November’s election was littered with the political bodies of just such hypocrites.
Tucker Scofield’s writing is shaped by his extensive business travels in the manufacturing sector. He is also a musician, a daddy, and a husband. His articles appear weekly at www.TheDCPost.com and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.