Emmett Tyrrell
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Washington -- we are engaged in a long war -- actually two long wars. The first and most commonly accepted of our wars is the long war against Islamic fascists. It is not a war against vast armies. Comparatively speaking, it is just a war against a handful of thugs, but they want to strike at our heart, wherever we are ill-prepared, and if they can they will cause incalculable destruction. This we discovered on September 11, 2001. We are on the hem of wiping al-Qaeda out, but there are other thugs waiting. We must be vigilant against them. It will be a long war.

The second long war is at home on budgetary matters. That both the left and the right are in a fury about an early battle in that war, the debt-ceiling battle, suggests just how long that war will be. We have little consensus on this war. Yet a war it is, and a very long war I fear it will be. It is a war to balance the budget, putting the economy on a sustainable course, ensuring growth and jobs. It is a war to get the country back to a federal budget that accounts for 20 percent of GDP rather than the 25 percent of GDP that President Obama has snatched from us while we were not looking.

Today, the left is grumbling that the Congress agreed to budget cuts of nearly $900 billion over the next ten years, but with no new taxes or as they delicately put it, no new "revenue enhancements." As Congressman Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat from New York, exclaimed, "It's a surrender to Republican extortion." He elaborated, "It's one thing to say 'we want this. We don't want that as part of negotiations.' It's another to say 'we will destroy the country and the economy if you don't do what we want.'" My response is just get government spending back to where it was before the Obama revels. Tax increases kill job growth, are unfair to those whom the left targets to pay them, and give us a false sense that we can continue on this perilous path to ever-larger government.

The federal budget has accounted for roughly 20 percent of GDP in recent years. When Obama came to power he increased that to just shy of 25 percent of GDP, a peacetime record. In other words, he increased government's size in our economy to 25 percent of GDP. He wants to keep it there at that historic level forever, or until he can grow it larger. It will mean slower economic growth, but he rather likes that too. The answer to Obama and the grumbling left is "give us the 5 percent of the economy that you took form us." I think that is reasonable. That is what we want.

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Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
 
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