WSJ on debt-ceiling debate: "No wonder liberals are howling."
By U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson
Contact: McCall Avery / Haley Creel
The Wall Street Journal recently summed it up best. "If a good political compromise is one that has something for everyone to hate, then [the] bipartisan debt-ceiling deal is a triumph. The bargain is nonetheless better than what seemed achievable in recent days, especially given the revolt of some GOP conservatives that gave the White House and Democrats more political leverage.
"The big picture is that the deal is a victory for the cause of smaller government, arguably the biggest since welfare reform in 1996. Most bipartisan budget deals trade tax increases that are immediate for spending cuts that turn out to be fictional. This one includes no immediate tax increases, despite President Obama's demand as recently as [several days ago]. The immediate spending cuts are real, if smaller than we'd prefer, and the longer-term cuts could be real if Republicans hold Congress and continue to enforce the deal's spending caps.
"The framework is no small achievement considering that Republicans control neither the Senate nor the White House, and it underscores how much the GOP victory in November has reshaped the U.S. fiscal debate.
"No wonder liberals are howling. They have come to believe in the upward spending ratchet, under which all spending increases are permanent. Not any more."
While the debt-ceiling agreement, the Budget Control Act of 2011, was by no means a perfect bill, it is a win for America and a win for Republicans. The President wanted tax hikes in a struggling economy. Instead we cut spending and forced Congress to take a vote by year's end on a balanced budget amendment.
What were yearly deficits when Republicans were in charge have become monthly deficits under President Obama. When Republicans controlled the House from 1995 through 2006, the average annual deficit was $96 billion. While Democrats controlled the House from 2007 through 2010, average monthly deficits were $75 billion and since President Obama took office the average monthly deficit has been $111 billion.
When the Democrats controlled the House, the Senate and the White House, their unchecked, out-of-control ways gave our children the bill for the failed stimulus, the bailout of Fannie and Freddie, TARP II, Cash for Clunkers, Government Motors and ObamaCare. As the sign in my office reads, "It's the spending stupid."
As you know, there are only a handful of ways to deal with our debt. Raising taxes and cutting spending usually receive the most attention. Economic growth would certainly help reduce annual deficits. Creating inflation or simply defaulting would also reduce the debt, but would create many more problems than would be solved.
I believe that there are four things we should do to get our debt under control.
First, we should pass a balanced budget amendment. We've had deficits even in good economic times. We don't need a balanced approach -- we need a balanced budget!
Second, we need tough annual spending caps to help get our fiscal house in order.
Third, we need to reform entitlement spending, especially Medicare and Medicaid. President Obama agrees, stating that: "Put simply, our health care problem is our deficit problem. Nothing else even comes close. Nothing else."
Finally, we need pro-growth tax reform. We need to eliminate special interest provisions and lower rates so that once again America is a welcome home for business. What you pay in taxes shouldn't be determined by how much you spend lobbying in D.C.
In closing, the American people have had enough. Enough reckless, wasteful Washington spending. Enough piling more and more debt on to our children. American families have done their part over the last few years. They have tightened their belts to live within their means. It's time Washington did the same by showing respect to hard-working taxpayers.