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Republicans Can't Give an Inch in Budget Debate

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Let’s be clear about the implications of the upcoming budget showdown between Democrats and Republicans over the Republican proposal to cut $61 billion in federal spending for what remains of this fiscal year.

It is vitally important that Republicans do not give an inch.

Am I being an unreasonable?

No. The $61 billion already reflects compromise. It is miniscule.

This is the equivalent of a family with a $50,000 budget finding $850 to eliminate. A few less trips to the movies or dinner. Not even the annual cost of an iPhone.

It’s not hard to do if you want to. There is ten times the waste in the federal government budget than in the budget of any working family.

So we must understand that the push back from Democrats on this is not about whether these cuts can be made. It is about ideology and whether we are prepared to get off the path we’re now on of wholesale government takeover of our economy and our lives.

Let’s get this even more in focus.

The possibility of a government shutdown over this confrontation is being compared to the famous budget face-off in 1995 between President Clinton and then-Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich that led to a shutdown.

The general assumption is that public sympathy backed President Clinton and that this marked a turnaround in the momentum that Republicans had after their big victory in the 1994 congressional elections. Following this incident Clinton’s popularity climbed again and he won re-election in 1996.

But there is a huge difference between then and now.

President Clinton took the repudiation he got in the 1994 Congressional elections when Republicans gained control of the House to heart. He listened to the American people and understood that this repudiation largely tied to the defeat of his big government health care initiative. He entered 1995 a changed man.

When Clinton gave his State of the Union address in January 1996 he made his famous statement that the “era of big government is over.” He went on to sign landmark reform of our welfare system, initiated by Congressional Republicans.

But President Obama and his Democrat colleagues on Capitol Hill are totally different.

Despite the major repudiation Obama received in last year’s election, he has not changed at all.

To appreciate this, you just need to look at the budget he has just submitted.

It picks up the themes of the first two years of his administration, in which two trillion dollars in federal spending was added, in which the federal government take of our economy grew from 20% to 25%, in which we have had major government takeovers of our health care and financial services industry, and continues this path endlessly into the future.

Government spending for the last fifty years averaged 20% of our economy, tax revenues averaged 18%, and the deficit averaged 2%. Under President Obama’s new budget, government spending is set on a trajectory toward reaching 30% of our economy and maintains a budget deficit into the foreseeable future of a record 3% of the economy.

As result, national debt will continue to pile up, reaching $26 trillion by 2020, greater than our whole national economy.

Democrats are unrepentant in their commitment to change the face of America permanently into a European style social welfare state.

We are fortunate today to have a new, young Republican leadership – John Boehner, Erica Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, Paul Ryan, and others – who are committed to save our nation and our freedom.

Giving an inch now means we are willing to consider the prospect that our children and grandchildren will live in a far less free nation, run by bureaucrats, with permanently high unemployment rates.

We simply can’t do it.

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