Popular Myth Destroyed
It's really important to know that, especially when you see headlines like this, Expect Congress to take a pass on cutting spending and this, Senate sets vote on federal debt limit.
Today's popular myth destroyed is that we have "fiscal conservatives" running Congress. They may be "conservative" but not fiscally. When the Republicans became the majority in Congress and tried to institute the Contract on America one of their main points was a balanced budget amendment. It was able to get through the House but not the Senate. But that Republican Congress along with a Democratic President was able to balance the budget none the less. Fast forward to today, of course there is no contract anymore, and the "fiscal conservatives" run every branch of government. If you didn't know any better that would lead one you to believe that the budget is balanced, right? Well wrong. It's not tax and spend it's spend and spend.
The interesting part to us here in CD 31 is, of course, where our Congressman stands on all this. After touting his vote for the so-called Deficit Reduction Act in February:
"The Deficit Reduction Act is important to reducing wasteful spending and encouraging a more efficient government, while continuing to support the needs of Americans," Congressman Carter said. "I am proud to have supported a bill that takes important steps to reduce the federal deficit and keeps government safety net programs sustainable."On Wednesday Rep. Carter voted for raising the debt ceiling. Here's what the head of the conservative Republican Study Group, of which Rep. Carter is a member, had to say:
Twenty-nine House Republicans (Rep. Carter not included) voted against their party leadership Wednesday on a rule to set terms of debate on the spending bill. It was an extraordinary defection on a measure that typically receives a party-line vote.But check out who's leading the fight against this and why the Republicans that control Congress won't do what they always said they would do:
"House conservatives were profoundly disappointed," said Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., the leader of House GOP fiscal conservatives.
The Senate this week fended off, in a tie vote, a Democratic effort to require all new tax cuts and spending increases to be offset by spending cuts elsewhere. The House of Representatives on Wednesday beat back an attempt by fiscal conservatives to require offsetting cuts to pay for $91.8 billion in spending for Iraq and the hurricane-damaged Gulf Coast states.Quick fact:
In both cases, Republican leaders led the fight against budget restraint. In the Senate, Republicans said Democrats only wanted to make it more difficult to extend expiring tax cuts. In the House, GOP leaders wanted to avoid forcing Republicans facing tough re-election fights to cut popular programs.
"It's difficult to do that with small majorities in an election year, when every cut and slice is going to get magnified," said Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va.
The national debt has grown 50 percent during Bush's presidency.The real reason that the Republicans in Congress are doing this is not just election year politics. It's polls and the new Majority Leader thinks the American people need to be educated about the deficit:
A poll this week by the Pew Research Center found that the public no longer views the deficit as a crisis, unlike in the 1990s. In 1993, 17 percent listed the deficit as the most important problem facing the nation, behind unemployment and the economy. In January, only 2 percent considered the deficit the most important issue.When your worried about a terrorist attack the budget deficit doesn't seem like such a big deal, does it? Rest assured though, this is all part of the overall plan of running up the deficit to astronomical proportions so that someday the only thing left to do will be to cut social spending to the bone. And then we'll all be educated about the budget deficit.
As a result, Republicans calculate that cutting spending is politically riskier than not.
House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said this week that if lawmakers want to tackle Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, they first must educate the public.
"To go in and start making cuts without first helping people understand the problem, the extent of the problem, and the fact that these programs are not sustainable for the long term is, I think, political suicide," he said.