Like the willfully naive mother who welcomes her son home from school. He was a total delinquent and came home and defecated in the middle of the floor and told his mother to clean it up. She only sees her little man. "Ok Dear, we'll pretend that did not just happen." "That's right wench", "you got it".
For a generation, maybe longer, every successive Congress has allowed entitlements to grow and they have done nothing. We are the parents who have to clean up the $14.2 trillion deficit and figure out what to do with the $62 trillion (yes, that is TRILLION with a capital "T") of stinking unfunded liabilities. While Republicans rebuke Democrats for their intransigence, "The Architect" Karl Rove convinced the Bush White House and GOP Congress that adding an $8 Trillion unfunded Medicare Part D (free drugs for seniors plan) was the way to maintain Republican faith with seniors and therefore dominate the electorate for a generation. How did that work out?
Well, a two bit State Senator who abstained from nearly one half of his votes clobbered us in November. People smarter than me can give all kinds of excuse for electoral losses. I suspect the fact that when the GOP had nearly total control we maybe should have voted like Republicans and cut things. Had we cut entitlements and not added to them, maybe the independent voters would believe us now when we try to tell them there is a difference. Instead, we have a generation of Republican lawmakers who share culpability for the $62 trillion stinking pile on the floor. But we have a pivotal opportunity to capture the narrative.
As Charlie Reese points out in his famous last column entitled "545 vs. 300,000,000 People":
The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? John Boehner. He is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.
There is your road map to restoring faith in the Republican Party and, by the way, to saving the Republic. The House GOP needs to send a balanced budget to the Senate and steadfastly refuse to accept from the Senate Democrats, a conference budget that goes higher.
Now, there will be plenty of excuses as to why that is impossible. It may be tough, but nothing is impossible. Here is my list of cuts as to where to begin:
1. Cut all federal salaries by 15-25% or at least to a wage scale roughly equal to the average private sector or at least state government employee. If we lose too many highly specialized employees we can give limited latitude to executives to limit their cuts. Mail carriers, HUD workers, sorry. The gravy train is going to roll back for a while.
2. Eliminate all non-essential federal departments that should be handled by state governments, beginning with that loathsome US Department of Education. Zero it out of the budget. Before Carter created the huge new Cabinet level bureaucracy in 1980, Education was a minor "Office" founded in 1868 to distribute good teaching methodology. I think we can handle it now.
3. Eliminate the Department of Commerce. Any others?
4. Allow oil drilling and tax it.
5. Sell off a few million acres of government owned land. Enjoy the cash and enterprise while at the same time reducing the liability and maintenance costs of the land.
These ideas are just a start, but the principle remains the same. If the GOP, which Party controls the House, from which all spending bills originate, truly desires a balanced budget, they need to pass a budget that is balanced and refuse to blink when the Senate Democrats try to force a budget that is in the red. Simple.