A fiscal conservative arrives in Washington, ready to take an ax to the federal budget, pay off the debt, and ensure the country’s financial future is secure. Our bright-eyed hero fights big government, overcomes the waves of economic fallacies, and learns that his peers are detached from reality. Their minds have been hijacked by the Keynesian hive, turning every naive freshman into one of them. The protagonist is beaten repeatedly with an instrument of destruction: the can that has been kicked down Constitution Avenue for far too long. Unable to live with the fact that he is the only sane person in the nation’s capital, he slowly loses his mind, parroting debunked myths on the Counterfeit News Network about deficit-financed spending enriching the Union and printing money to generate historic levels of prosperity. All the inmates are now running the asylum.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has been on a one-man crusade to balance the ballooning federal budget. For the last few years, his attempts have been in vain. The Tea Party senator has seen his legislation either lose a vote or be killed without even making it to the Republican-controlled Senate floor.
Recently, Paul introduced his “Pennies Plan,” an initiative that proposes a 2% cut from all federal line items for each of the next five years. It is estimated to reduce federal spending by approximately $11 trillion over a decade. It is an updated version of his original modest idea, contending that an additional penny for every dollar spent would be necessary to balance the budget.
That doesn’t sound too bad, does it? It wouldn’t be austerity, as the Democrats would inevitably allege, and the Republicans wouldn’t be accused of taking a chainsaw to the swelling $4 trillion budget.
Well, common sense did not reign supreme. Instead, Paul’s bill failed a procedural vote because only 22 senators supported a cloture motion that would have brought his plan to a final vote. They included Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Ben Sasse (R-NE). This meant that most Republicans and all Democrats rejected a move to a floor motion on the bill.
Prior to the vote, Paul said in a statement:
“We teach our children that money doesn’t grow on trees, and then they grow up watching politicians pretend otherwise. Meanwhile, our debt soars past $22 trillion, endangers our country, and artificially limits what our nation can achieve.”
This was an important moment for Republicans, the country, and the state of fiscal conservatism. Leading GOP officials, such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), declined even a vote on a bill to bring the budget to balance. This is a bad look for Republicans, who repeatedly railed against President Barack Obama and Democrats for increasing the national debt and crippling the fiscal health of future generations.
Making Cents of the Debt
A lot has been said about the $22 trillion national debt. The Democrats believe the United States can go further into debt, hence the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, slavery reparations, universal basic income (UBI), and many other free goodies. The Republican leadership seems apathetic.
Indeed, it’s more than just the enormous national debt. The public purse is on life support.
As Liberty Nation recently alluded to, here is what taxpayers face and will eventually be responsible for:
- $1 trillion budget deficit.
- $20 trillion Social Security liability.
- $31 trillion Medicare liability.
- $125 trillion unfunded liabilities.
- $7 trillion federal government pension shortfall (doesn’t include state funding gaps).
How grave is the debt? Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) introduced H.R. 149 that declares the national debt a security threat. That is an appropriate description of the debt because China holds a considerable portion, potential insolvency could require drastic cuts to national defense, and interest payments will absorb other expenditures.
It is doubtful that the budget will become the leading issue of the 2020 election campaign. For the Democrats, the game plan will be to attack President Donald Trump on made-up claims of racism and white supremacy. For the Republicans, it is just pointing out how crazy the Democratic field is, which will be hilarious but hardly enough to tackle the meat and potatoes of what ails the United States.
So, the can that resulted in our hero’s transformation will be dented even more by elephants and donkeys until fiscal panic enters the bloodstream of our esteemed representatives.
Left Shoe on My Right Foot
Legendary German author and statesman Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was incorrect when he whimsically stated: “We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe.” It is not our world. It is just Washington, the epicenter of fiscal madness, ground zero for financial reckoning. Most elected officials who go to Washington are not immune to the virus that eats away at their inherent financial responsibility. They slowly lose their minds and bathe in the ocean of red ink that pales in comparison to the famous elevator scene from The Shining. Soon these men and women turn into career politicians, holding public office for 30 years. That’s the real horror – incumbents who never regain their sanity and choose to watch the nation burn as they sit on their thrones of recklessness.
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