Republicans must show that they are serious about spending cuts

By Adam Bitely — Republicans in Congress have a real chance to show that they are serious about cutting spending with the upcoming sequestration cuts. If they hold firm on this, this will be the first example that they are willing to actually make cuts instead of negotiate deals with Democrats that only increase the spending and the debt.

There are some on the right who are scheming for a way to coalesce Republicans around a way to get out of the first real cuts that Congress will implement in some time. Defense hawks fear that even minimal cuts to future increases in the defense budget will seriously hurt America’s military might. But this is simply not so.

As economist Donald Boudreaux wrote in a recent letter to US News & World Report:

According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Uncle Sam’s annual military budget today is more than seven times (!) larger than that of the nation (China) with the globe’s second-largest military budget.  And if China and all other nations, apart from the U.S., ranked today in the top ten according to absolute size of military budgets were to merge into one gigantic country, America’s current military budget would still be much larger than that of our new mega-rival – larger than the combined budgets of these other nine countries by 52 percent (or $252 billion)!  Put differently, if sequestration does kick in to cut, as projected, $50 billion annually from the Pentagon’s budget, five years of such cuts would be necessary to shrink the U.S. military budget to the size at which it would equal the sum of the world’s next nine largest military budgets.

Lost in the debate over sequestration is the fact that Democrats and Republicans agreed to these cuts when they last increased the debt ceiling. Part of the agreement included the creation of a Supercommittee that would cut spending but should it fail, automatic spending cuts (known as the sequester) would automatically kick in. Republicans and Democrats knew this was part of the deal and agreed to it.

Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson asked in November the following question, “If Congressional leadership and the Obama Administration cannot keep even the modest spending cuts proposed from sequestration — which would reduce the overall budget by just 1.7 percent — how do they ever intend to balance the budget?”

Republicans must ask themselves how voters, who constantly hear their campaign promises to cut spending and tackle the out-of-control government debt, will react when they cannot even enforce the cuts that they voted for. Further, they must ask themselves if voters will ever trust them as a party that tells truth when they promise to voters that they will cut spending.

Republicans in Congress have a great opportunity to showcase to the nation that they can cut the budget. Even if the sequester is a modest step towards reducing the budget, it will serve as an example of standing on principle and not kowtowing to those who could care less about the size of the debt that the government has incurred.

Adam Bitely is the Editor-in-Chief of NetRightDaily.com. The graph used in this post is from Daniel J. Mitchell.

  • pduffy

    The blog exposes why the Republican party has failed to cut spending – their cronies are the military industrialized complex that wants the spending to continue. The democrat’s constituants are the entitlement society, and BOTH groups want to continue the spending. Those paying the bills, the middle-class tax payers, have no representation, and hence the problem – taxation without representation. The very same condition that ignited the revolutionary war. This is a political situation that cannot last. The only question is how long before it explodes.

  • DougH2

    Time to totally dismiss the conventional wisdom that Republicans are remotely interested in cutting spending or balancing the budget. After all, when Republicans controlled both houses and the Presidency the worked on neither. Even further back, Reagan and Bush I each had rates of growth of the debt greater then the two Democrats during the same time period:

    Debt growth under recent Presidents:

    Carter: 42.3%
    Reagan: 188.6%
    Bush I: 55.6%
    Clinton: 35.6%
    Bush II: 89.0%
    Obama:53.6%

    Source: http://www.PresidentialDebt.org

    Even the lowest Republican’s debt growth is greater than the greatest Democrat debt growth. Bottom line, Republicans rack up debt and leave Democrats holding the bag. GW Bush started with balanced budget and still grew the debt at a higher percentage than Clinton when both houses were under Republican control for 6 of the 8 years of Bush.

    Let’s drop this myth. REPUBLICANS ARE THE CUT TAXES, BORROW, AND SPEND PARTY. Democrats have to then raise taxes and cut spending to get the budget under control.

  • Doris C

    They keep talking about balancing the budget. How can they balance that which does not exist?

  • Doris C

    Granted what Bush did ok we got it. But obama doubled down and has nothing to show for his trillions in spending in half the time ass Bush 2

  • Doris C

    You think there are no middle class on social security or using medicare. where do you live. middle class is where its all at right now.

  • pduffy

    Yes, my neighbors are technically in the middle class, but only because the government props up their income with entitlements. Those people are part of the group “entitlement society” that I mentioned in my post. They are traditional democrat voters, and want the spending to continue. I am a taxpayer that is paying those bills, and I have no representation in congress.

  • pduffy

    We are under one party rule. There is no difference between the Republic-crat and the Demo-can parties. You are correct that the RINOS don’t want to cut spending, but the pot is calling the kettle black, when they are the same. Your numbers are a bit deceiving. When the previous debt already racked up is significant, the annual increase seems smaller. In reality, during Obama’s administration this government racked up more actual debt in real dollars than all the previous presidents COMBINED. It took the first 197 years of this country to rack up 1 trillion dollars of debt. Obama racks up that much debt in 9 months. This is not a ‘taxing’ issue, but one of an out-of-control government at all levels. Obama has opened the flood gates, and it cannot be blamed on Bush, Reagan, or any other past president. He is holding the bag.

  • Jonathon Galt

    Government spending is the means by which politicians build a long career in elected office. The majority of those who vote are voting for the politicians who will give them the most, regardless of the cost. This is how Democratic Socialism works, and in particular why our founders created neither a Democracy nor a Socialist form of government, and created instead a Republic, Article IV, section 4. The gradual eradication of the need for government to have the consent of the ‘people’ began in 1913, and will continue UNLESS the people take whatever action is necessary to regain the freedoms taken from them in the name of making them safer, more equal, and less individually responsible for the decisions they make.

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