“This is a line in the sand moment,” says Adam Hasner of the coming battle over our national debt limit. The sand is made from fool’s gold, and there’s a cliff on the other side of the line.
Hasner is running for the United States Senate from Florida, hoping to get a shot at unseating two-term incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson. He views out-of-control spending and our skyrocketing national debt as his greatest concerns. His breath has not been taken away by current efforts to cut spending, including the recent budget compromise, which brought us $38 billion in “cuts” that largely evaporated before the ink on the deal was dry.
“We need to be aggressive in educating citizens about the reality of our financial situation,” Hasner told me. He sees the fruits of the passive approach as weak-tea deals that exact political costs from Republicans without making real progress against the debt, and nervous legislators retreating from the angry beneficiaries of every program placed on the chopping block. Hasner wants to attack the debt, and has produced a short video to introduce his new www.attackthedebt.com website:
“Out-of-control spending is driving the American economy off a cliff, and we can’t afford to just kick the can again,” he said, citing the increasing difficulty of taking corrective action against a rapidly snowballing debt problem. He sees no wisdom in avoiding pain today, when it guarantees agony tomorrow. “Every year we don’t bring the budget under control makes it harder to do in the out years,” he warns.
He believes that “cutting spending and reforming the tax system will provide an opportunity for a new American resurgence. We can’t tax our way into prosperity.” He sees the control exercised by Washington through the incredibly complicated tax code as a skeletal hand gripping our economy by the throat. He ruefully notes that the most immediate and dramatic effect of ObamaCare was a tremendous expansion of the Internal Revenue Service.
Hasner has worked closely with Marco Rubio, and supports the new Senator’s call for firm spending caps and a balanced budget amendment, plus dramatic reform of the tax code, if the debt ceiling is to be raised one last time. When I pointed out that Democrats are unlikely to agree to those reforms, and asked if their intransigence should prompt Republicans to keep the debt ceiling in place, he replied, “That’s what drawing a line in the sand means.”
He believes the political struggle over the debt ceiling is a tough battle Republicans can win, but only if they stay on offense. For example, Hasner is a strong supporter of Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey’s “Full Faith and Credit Act,” which blows a hole in Democrat scare tactics over the United States “defaulting on its obligations” by explicitly requiring the Treasury to ensure payments on the national debt are made in the event of a debt ceiling crisis. The government would have to cut other spending to make room for increasing debt interest in a “frozen” budget.
This is what he means by “aggressive” education of the voters. Help them understand exactly what the stakes are, and force the Democrats to discard their hysteria trump cards. Demonstrate the high cost of political games and delaying tactics. In the time it takes to watch Adam Hasner’s one-minute “Attack the Debt” video, the federal government will borrow almost three million dollars. Not spend – borrow. One way or the other, that impossible system of delusional finance will be ending soon. If we don’t dismantle it now, in a few years, it will take us apart.