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OPINION

Don't Do That Debt Deal

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Over the past week there has been talk about Republican leaders in the House and the Senate coming up with a compromise that will allow President Obama to raise the debt ceiling without the approval of Congress.

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Don’t do that deal.

One of the things that drive conservative voters nuts is that in the final hour, when things really matter, the GOP tends to give away the high ground that activists won the hard way by doing that deal.

The public is tired of reckless and wasteful spending by the government. They want real, honest solutions; solutions that cut spending. What they don’t want is the deal that allows some to say it increases spending, while others can claim it cuts spending; a deal that cuts taxes by one method of accounting and raises it by another method; a deal where one side points at the other and says “You did it!”

The American people want honesty, a straight deal.  

Honestly? It wasn’t a brilliant masterstroke by the GOP leadership in the House or the Senate that suddenly has President Obama talking about cutting $4-5 trillion in spending. It wasn’t because House Speaker John Boehner made like Henry Clay with an impassioned speech that now has congressional Democrats in competitive districts puckering up their cheek muscles.

It wasn’t because the GOP came up with a nifty sounding plan, like Contract with America, that the GOP took back the majority in the House.    

More than anything else, it was the hard work and countless volunteer hours of grassroots conservative activist around the country that made it possible to have a real discussion about cutting the size of government. They knocked on doors, went to rallies, wrote checks, stuffed envelopes and did the job of real leadership that informed and educated voters about the core principles that make this country go.

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And the GOP came along for the ride.   

If the Republican leadership in Congress abandons the moral advantage that those activists gave them, the sound they’ll hear in 2012 when voting starts is the sound of no hands clapping.

Make no mistake. There are more than a handful of Republicans in Congress who owe their seats to an unprecedented outpouring of support from Tea Party activists.  

Ask Rep. Joe Heck, who won his race by about 2000 votes, if he needs those activists to show up for him in 2012. Ask Rep. Scott Tipton, who won his race by about 10,000 votes whether he’ll need those activists next time around. Ask Rep. Blake Farenthold, who won his seat by less than 1000 votes if he needs those activists to show up.      

Obama and his friends have seriously miscalculated the public’s desire to have federal government intrude into their life. And the GOP will miscalculate if they think that the type of deal they cut in the spring to raise the debt limit will satisfy the base this time around.

It won’t. What they demand is that Congress does the job it was elected to do by taking the debt limit seriously.

The whole idea of having a debt limit was to act as a check against unbridled deficit spending, while allowing the Treasury Department some latitude in managing those debts. It was created for exactly the situation we face today.

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While it’s true that Congress has already agreed to spend the money contemplated under an increase in the debt limit, it is wrong to say that Congress has approved borrowing more money in order to be able to spend that money.

Writing a check and cashing a check are two different things.

Right now, the account is empty. Congress can only approve putting more money in the account by a vote to increase the debt limit.

Congress has always had to approve the government’s ability to raise money via debt.

Always.

It should be no different now.

If they don’t approve it, the government is obligated to balance the budget at that point by whatever Draconian measures it has at its disposal. Only a liberal would conclude that the only option then is to default on obligations.  

The idea that Congress would turn over the management of the debt ceiling to any president, yet alone one who has not been able to present and pass a real budget in three tries shows that there are still some in Washington who have been in Washington way too long.

Who the heck got us into this jam in the first place? On which alternate universe does Obama become the guy to manage us out of the crisis he created?    

There are a number of legitimate ways the GOP can approach the debt limit issue including balancing the budget.

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But they must not, under any circumstances, do that debt deal.


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