February was not kind to supporters of the liberal agenda. In the span of four weeks, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released four separate reports, each concluding that misguided big government policies are hurting American businesses and families.
CBO first reported in early February that President Obama’s healthcare law will drive millions out of full time work and push our ballooning national debt to $27 trillion dollars. A second report released by the CBO concluded that a mandated hike in the minimum wage to $10.10 would kill 500,000 jobs, mostly for low-wage workers. And a third report suggested that the federal Highway Trust Fund will fall some $100 billion short of meeting obligations in 2015 – thanks in large part to policymakers’ desire to spend money on such pressing transportation priorities as horse trails and covered bridges. Finally, a fourth report concluded that the President’s “recovery” has been largely ineffective.
The good news is that these CBO reports have vindicated much of what conservatives have been saying for a long time: that liberalism and its expensive panacea of government-centric solutions are not the answer to America’s issues. The bad news is that many of our political leaders seem unfazed by these recent revelations, and remain determined to push forward with counter-productive policies that will restrict economic opportunity and push America even further into an ocean of red ink.
President Obama’s healthcare law, undoubtedly the determinant of his legacy, has done little more than fall flat on its face. Democrats repeatedly promised America they could keep their health plans and doctors. President Obama promised premiums for the “average family” would fall, and that Obamacare would not add “one dime” to the deficit. We now know all of these statements were lies. And then CBO confirmed that deficits will climb in the next ten years, while millions of Americans will be pushed out of full-time work.
Conservatives forewarned about these and other negative effects of Mr. Obama’s signature law, but Nancy Pelosi brushed off those warnings, and told America that lawmakers had to pass the bill so we could see what was in it. Congress passed it, and less than four in ten people like what they see.
With the news about Obamacare getting worse by the day, Democrats have turned their attention to raising the minimum wage, only to have the CBO debunk this ploy, as well. Liberals voiced support for a bill authored by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) that would raise the minimum wage to $10.10, ignoring conservative claims that a minimum wage hike would harm the most vulnerable people in the workforce.
Soon thereafter, the CBO reported that the proposed minimum wage hike would eliminate half a million jobs - mostly for low-wage workers. Moreover, CBO found that only 19% of the wage boost’s benefit would accrue to families below the poverty line.
In addition to poking holes in two key pillars of the Left’s policy agenda, the CBO’s third report exposing the impending shortfall in highway funding made less news, but is equally concerning.
As America’s roads and bridges fill with traffic, the federal government continues to waste money on modes of transportation that few people use. In classic Washington fashion, rather than spending funds responsibly, politicians and bureaucrats have steered resources into projects that have little to do with the original purpose of the funds - and provide even less benefit to the public at large. But instead of cutting and reforming spending, the President called for a four-year, $302 billion transportation bill riddled many of the same systemic flaws.
Finally, in an appropriate end to the month, the CBO reported that despite the President’s $787 billion stimulus package turning five years old, the economic recovery has been slow and inconsistent. They reported that employment has risen “sluggishly,” the unemployment rate is falling largely thanks to the drop in labor force participation, and long-term unemployment remains extraordinarily high. CBO also noted that this recovery has paled in comparison to its previous four predecessors.
The CBO reports of the past few weeks have proven correct conservative warnings about many misguided “progressive” ideas. What’s more, they underscore the need for real, effective limited government reform.
As the truth continues to unfold in the face of liberalism, America must continue to ask why elected leaders are continuing to lead us down the road to ruin. In an economy struggling to recover under the weight of astronomical levels debt and ever-growing government budgets, most people have realized that our country cannot continue down the path of these failed policies.
America deserves a government that does more than pat itself on the back – we deserve a government that empowers us with the freedom to improve the well-being of our families, our communities, and our country.