If we are going to be serious about tackling this fiscal crisis, which threatens the long-term survival of the republic, at some point we're going to have to have a debate on the ever-expanding dependency cycle to which we've addicted ourselves. If the elections told us anything, it was that people want this nation to radically reverse its current fiscal course. Nibbling around the edges is neither what the people have demanded nor what will alleviate our problems.
Those who think Obama is completely incompetent ought to reconsider. The one thing he's not incompetent at is getting his way -- shoving his agenda down our throats. There was a method to Obama's madness in shoving Obamacare through, folding new spending programs into his "stimulus" bill that will persist in perpetuity, and otherwise reversing welfare reform en route to re-expanding the welfare state. He knew that no matter how much the public objected, it would be very hard to roll back his new initiatives once in place and that he would be establishing a new set point from which any debate on spending and taxes would have to begin.
We don't have to accept this state of affairs as the inevitable status quo, and we shouldn't give too much credence to a deficit commission that accepts, apparently without much question, that Obamacare is here to stay. Nor should we casually swallow the commission's implied message that we will be fiscal heroes if we merely aspire to roll back federal spending to 22 percent -- and later 21 percent -- of gross domestic product. A few short years ago, such spending levels would have been met with uniform horror by all but the most brainwashed Marxists. As Steve Manacek wrote at Ricochet.com, such excessive spending levels have been relatively rare in our history. Yet we now have a commission whose charter purpose is to reduce the deficit advocating these levels as just a starting point? Can you imagine what the ending point would be?
Sanguine reactions to the commission's tax-related solutions are equally suspect. It recommends capping revenues at 21 percent of GDP, as if that is Grover Norquist's dream. But Manacek points out that federal revenues have never reached 21 percent of GDP, so there is nothing comforting here for those who recognize excessive taxes as enemies of freedom and economic growth.
It's not that there aren't attractive features in the preliminary commission reports. But to paraphrase Obama, conservatives just "won," and they mustn't accede to Obama's misguided approach to deficit reduction.