“We need a balanced approach.” How many times have you heard that poll-tested line from Obama? Unfortunately, the President’s rhetoric doesn’t match his actions. Only four weeks after raising taxes on the majority of Americans, the President wants to raise taxes again. Predictably, his definition of balance means more taxes right now in exchange for soaring rhetoric about cutting spending that is backed only by accounting gimmicks and broken promises.
No issue is a greater threat to our economic prosperity than government overspending – a lopsided imbalance that has led to over $146,000 in debt per American taxpayer. In the coming weeks Americans have three crucial opportunities to make our voices heard and put the brakes on big-government expansion.
The first opportunity will come with the “sequestration" spending cuts you’ve heard about in the news.
Here’s what that means: the President and Congress promised spending cuts as part of the last debt limit deal in 2011. They're still $85 million short of the cuts promised for 2013, and the deadline for making them is March 1st. Despite Congress having voted to approve these spending reductions that were signed into law by President Obama, both the President and some members of Congress are now attempting to block even these responsible reductions. Sequestration is opportunity number one and a true test of Congress’s willingness to keep its promise to the American people. This should be easy. Congress is tasked with cutting a mere two cents out of every dollar, but you wouldn’t know it from the cries of pain drifting down from Capitol Hill. We must make sure that at least these small cuts are made on time and in full.
Our second opportunity comes on March 27, when the Continuing Resolution which funds the federal budget for the current year is set to run out. It's been almost four years since Senate Democrats even passed a budget. The Continuing Resolution is a stop-gap measure to fund government without making any strategic decisions about funding priorities. It represents an abdication to govern and a clear sign of Congress’s irresponsibility. We must use the Continuing Resolution to highlight the gravity of the spending problem and push for significant spending cuts.
It won't be easy. The President will threaten a "government shutdown" and say that Republicans are trying to "hold the American people hostage" by simply demanding the government stop living beyond its means. After four years of running $1 trillion plus deficits, it is President Obama who is holding the nation hostage to his thirst for overspending. Some Republicans will want to cut a deal that makes gimmicky, phantom spending cuts in order to avoid criticism from the Left. We need to remind them that negotiating with hostage takers is never sound policy.
The third opportunity arrives with the next debt limit vote in May. Contrary to the President’s rhetoric, conservatives have never claimed that the United States should not pay its debts. However, we recognize that merely hiking the debt limit without addressing the underlying cause is irresponsible and reckless. Our leaders must learn to practice responsible spending just like every American family. Simply raising the debt limit is no different than opening a new credit card to max out. The same principle applies to families and nations; neither can become financially sound by going deeper in debt.
These are our three opportunities to take a stand for America’s fiscal health. Americans for Prosperity has a three-part strategy to maximize these opportunities and make a real difference.
First, we must hold accountable Obama, Pelosi, and others who refuse to face the reality of our serious spending problem. Government overspending is hampering job growth and putting economic prosperity further out of reach for our citizens. Earlier this year Obama raised taxes on millions of Americans through the payroll tax and fiscal cliff deal. Now he wants even more taxes, and he’s guaranteed to hide behind the nice-sounding but ultimately empty promise of a “balanced approach.” Higher taxes, more spending, and calls for “investment” in green energy boondoggles is neither responsible nor balanced.
Second, we have to bolster Republicans in the House and encourage them to do the right thing on spending cuts. Time and again elected officials have promised to reduce government spending and put our nation on the path to solvency. The 2010 midterm elections sent a clear message from the American people that they expect their representatives to make tough decisions and actually cut spending. So far that mandate remains unfulfilled, making the upcoming grassroots action in key states and districts all the more critical.
Our final step is to bring significant grassroots pressure on key Congressional and Senate districts held by Democrats to deliver our message that they need to put party and ideology aside and do what's right for our nation's prosperity by finally cutting spending. Reducing spending certainly won’t make them popular with President Obama, but it’s the right thing to do.
For America to prosper and grow, 2013 needs to be a turning point. There will always be those pushing for more and ever higher taxes to fund the pet project of the day, and cutting spending will never be easy. But higher taxes and borrowed spending only hamper America’s economic growth. Now is our opportunity to turn that around.