The Boy Who Cried Wolf is a classic fable dating back to ancient Greece. Its lesson is nobody trusts a liar, even when he is telling the truth.
The Republican party made a promise to voters in 2016. That the next four years wouldn’t look like the last eight years of big government, spending, and debt. Since Republicans won the 2016 election they have broken many promises to voters, but today, voting down a budget resolution that would balance the budget in five years stings the most. Especially because it wasn’t even a tight vote – it was a blowout. Only 21 Republicans voted for Senator Rand Paul’s resolution, meaning it didn’t even carry a majority of the Republican caucus. Republicans that didn’t vote in favor say Paul’s plan was too drastic, but leadership threw in the towel long before this vote.
The budget resolution is supposed to be the first step in Congress’ funding process that ends with Congress passing 12 spending bills by September 30th of each year. But that didn’t happen this year. Republican leadership didn’t even draft a budget resolution. Senator Paul’s was the only option. Translation: Republican leadership has no plan to curb wasteful or out-of-control spending for fear of failure or political backlash.
On almost every Republican politician’s website you can find a page about the national debt, wasteful spending, or the burden of generational theft. You could go as far to say that limiting spending is one of the bedrock principles of the Republican party – because limiting spending means limiting government.
In the 2016 Republican platform document the party makes “reducing the federal debt” a priority. Explicitly saying:
Our national debt is a burden on our economy and families. The huge increase in the national debt demanded by and incurred during the [Obama] Administration has placed a significant burden on future generations. We must impose firm caps on future debt, accelerate the repayment of the trillions we now owe in order to reaffirm our principles of responsible and limited government, and remove the burdens we are placing on future generations. A strong economy is one key to debt reduction, but spending restraint is a necessary component that must be vigorously pursued.
If voters were issuing report cards, Republicans would be headed for summer school. Not only did Republicans not make any progress on curbing future debt, they blew past spending caps they themselves passed and President Obama signed – increasing federal spending by $300 billion. Republicans also passed a tax bill that will add as much as $1.9 trillion to the debt over the next decade, and now, refused to vote for a more transparent and effective budget process that would help reduce waste and duplication.
So to sum up Republicans’ (almost) two years in control of all branches in the federal government, they have increased spending, lowered revenues, and mortgaged the economic futures of many Americans. Certainly a recipe for prosperity.
To make matters worse, it looks like passing a budget blowout and passing a tax cut will be the only major legislative accomplishments this year. If that makes your blood boil, hear this: Republican leaders may not even try to pass anything else for fear of failure or political optics.
There is plenty to be done in Congress. From infrastructure to immigration – and don’t forget about the Baby Boomer retirement wave and the $110 trillion in benefits we promised with no way to pay for them! Congressional leaders would rather sit on their hands and hope it helps their election chances than take “tough votes,” despite their importance to the future of our nation. “To my mind, a coward is the only thing meaner than a liar,” said Theodore Roosevelt. What would he have said about a man/woman who was both?
The Republican party’s principles of limited government are no more. Voting to spend now and allow another generation to pick up the check later is not only a reversal on their word, but a cowardly act. Sooner or later voters will turn their backs on Republican campaign promises if they are not met. Crying that “Democrats want to raise taxes,” or “Democrats don’t care about the debt,” or “Democrats want to spend your hard earned money,” eventually won’t work – because nobody trusts a liar, even when he is telling the truth.