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Smacking Down the Scare Tactics

 

At a press conference this morning, presidential candidate and Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann said that President Obama’s scare tactics about going into default on the government’s financial obligations, if the debt ceiling is not raised, are “simply not true.”  Appearing beside her, Representatives Louis Gohmert (R-TX) and Steve King (R-IA) said the same about Obama’s threats to freeze Social Security checks and military funding.

It is remarkable that this simple truth about government funding has been obscured to the point that Bachmann, Gohmert, and King have to hold a press conference to restate it.  If the debt ceiling is not raised, it means the government cannot go further into debt.  Obama’s wild spending spree left us at the point where hundreds of billions in new debt per year are necessary to keep up with the exploding cost of existing government programs, and interest on the national debt.  In fact, the government will spend $1.6 trillion more than it collects in revenue this year.

If we don’t raise the debt ceiling, that means spending would have to be cut by the amount of new debt that would have been needed.  In other words, we’d have to cut that $1.6 trillion in excessive spending, rather than throw it atop the moldy pile of debt bones piled up in Uncle Sam’s basement.  Barack Obama has increased government spending by more than twice that much since he took office two years ago. 

If we can add so much spending in such a mad rush, why can’t we cut it with equal efficiency? That’s just crazy talk, right?  Tax cuts are fragile things that could be crushed at any moment, but Big Government spending programs instantly become mighty oaks with roots sunk into a legion of fiercely protective dependents.  You can’t just cut those programs with a single vote in the dark of night, on a bill nobody read, the way they were created!  If nothing else, think of how unemployment would spike, with all those government functionaries and bureaucrats suddenly bounced out of their jobs!

That all sounds like a strong argument to never let the national debt get a nickel higher to me, but I guess some people don’t think of it that way.  None of us should be willing to put up with fraudulent scare tactics.  Why don’t we compel the President to go on the record with a list of his concrete funding priorities, if the debt limit is not raised on August 2?

He could easily produce such a list.  He spends most of his time fundraising for his re-election, so of course he’d chafe at having to actually sit in the office for a while and do his job, but he has a gigantic staff to assist him. 

In fact, dedicated private citizen Mark Tapscott at the Washington Examiner has already done most of the work for him!  Armed with nothing more than a pocket calculator, Tapscott added up the cost of service on the national debt, military payroll, veteran’s affairs programs, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  He came up with a total of $134 billion.  The government pulls in $200 billion per month in revenue.  We’ve still got $66 billion to spend before we crash into that terrible debt ceiling.

Some tough decisions would have to be made about spending cuts.  Let’s demand the most brilliant thinker, and greatest orator, ever to occupy the White House make them immediately, instead of wasting our time with dark fantasies.  I know that activity would be perilously close to preparing a “budget,” and that is something Democrats in general, and Barack Obama in particular, recoil in horror from doing.  It’s about time they were the ones who were scared.

 

Written By

John Hayward began his blogging career as a guest writer at Hot Air under the pen name "Doctor Zero," producing a collection of essays entitled Doctor Zero: Year One. He is a great admirer of free-market thinkers such as Arthur Laffer, Milton Friedman, and Thomas Sowell. He writes both political and cultural commentary, including book and movie reviews. An avid fan of horror and fantasy fiction, he has produced an e-book collection of short horror stories entitled Persistent Dread. John is a former staff writer for Human Events. He is a regular guest on the Rusty Humphries radio show, and has appeared on numerous other local and national radio programs, including G. Gordon Liddy, BattleLine, and Dennis Miller.

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