To some on the right, any spending cut at the Federal level is a good thing. And that premise is hard to disagree with.
But not all spending cuts are created equal. There is a dark side to non-specific, across the board spending cuts. The budget amendment offered by Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) is a case in point.
My Congressman, Eric Cantor (R-VA) has been receiving some less than flattering press because he and over 90 other Republicans voted to kill this Amendment.
And yes, Cantor “voted with Pelosi” on this. That much is true. But their votes were cast for far different reasons.
Pelosi, if left to her own accord, would never see a dime in federal spending cut. Period. Onwards and upwards. Government is the answer to all problems, large and small. To Pelosi and her ilk, a budget “cut” is any slowdown in the rate of government growth. And cost savings to Progressives simply means shifting dollars from Defense to more social spending.
Cantor, on the other hand, and the 91 Republicans that voted with him against the Blackburn Amendment are not members of the Pelosi Caucus. Cantor’s YouCut Project is proof.
While it is true that across the board spending cuts have worked well in the past, to paraphrase Bob Dylan, the times they have a changed!
As Marsha Blackburn’s hometown newspaper The Tennessean put it:
Twenty-six states, including Tennessee, recently enacted across-the-board spending cuts, and such cuts were used successfully during the Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman administrations, Blackburn said. She has proposed across-the-board spending cuts every session since arriving in the House in 2003.
“It has a history of working,” she said. “Across-the-board spending reductions are a very responsible way for us to do this.”
And we don’t disagree that it has worked in the past.
But consider that the Progressives are masters at using Conservatives good intentions as a weapon and you begin to understand what 92 Republicans, including Cantor, already know. (Reference the last Government shutdown.)
The Founding Fathers intended the Federal Government to have a symbiotic relationship with the country. A small entity working for the common good of all, doing the things that individual states would find difficult or impossible to do well. These were enumerated in the Constitution.
At some point, perhaps beginning with Woodrow Wilson, the DNA of the symbiote that was our Federal Government was altered. It has become a parasite with long tentacles invading every part of our lives through regulation down to the state and local levels.
Like it or not, these tentacles must first be untangled before the parasite can be safely throttled.
Across the board spending cuts will be used by the left to inflict maximum pain at the state and local level as retribution for daring to challenge the beast. What this means is that the first targets of departmental cuts will be mandates imposed on state and local governments and funded, fully or partially, by the Federal Government.
So states already struggling to balance budgets will face new unfunded mandates. Wisconsin will, no doubt, be targeted for a large reduction in Federal dollars which is the equivalent of putting a match to gasoline. More cuts, more layoffs and Republicans will be blamed by the media.
Let’s not forget who is in charge of the various Federal Agencies and Departments that will be forced to make the actual decisions on what to cut!
Philosophically, Constitutionally and morally an across the board spending cut seems to be an easy way to achieve the goal of cutting federal spending. Unfortunately, the way the cuts will be implemented by the Obama Administration will prove excruciating for conservative states, as they will receive a disproportionately large share of the cuts. Let me repeat that: Conservative run states will receive a disproportionately large share of the across the board cuts.
An across the board cut will give the Democrats who are warning that Republican budget cuts will stall or reverse a recovery a means to make this come true. They will target the cuts where they will do the most damage to the economy. And then say “I told you so”. The insidious nature of the Democrats plot to halt the recovery will be suppressed by the mainstream-media, who will blame Republican budget cuts.
And if the Democrats and media play their cards just right, 2012 will be a banner year for Democrats. And Republicans will once again be in the minority and the Blackburn “across the board” spending cuts will be dwarfed by the massive spending required to “repair the damage Republicans inflicted on the economy“.
And Government Controlled Health Care will become a reality, as will Cap and Trade, Card Check and the full blown Progressive Agenda will finally be implemented with even more insidious tentacles than before. This time reaching so deep even the Constitution can’t protect us.
No, Cantor is right on this. We must do this right or we are in danger of losing the country forever. The knee-jerk reaction in some Conservative circles who see this as Cantor voting the same way as Pelosi is simply short-sighted. We must not give the left a means to turn our desire to put the Federal Government back into Pandora’s box into a tool for bigger government.
Precision cuts, targeted and directed, along with repealing bad law that enables Federal tentacles to reach deep into our lives must be carefully and meticulously pulled back ensure we do no harm.
To those who insist on holding Congressman Cantor’s feet to the fire, I say, please do! They all need to be held accountable and realize that the voters are watching. But bear in mind, this is a complicated process that will take time. It must be done correctly or we will make things worse in the long run.
The Democrats gave us a prime example of why rushing and jerking knees is ill advised with ObamaCare. We must resist the urge to make the same mistake.
But the true test of the mettle of those who promise to get our fiscal house in order will be on the entitlement debacle. While we argue about a few measly billion (which should be a contradiction in terms), Social Security, Medicare and the Interest on the National Debt are each eating us alive. I have yet to see anyone, including Eric Cantor, address the real problem. Of course we must go slow on this as well, but we are presently going full speed in reverse on these, the largest of our problems.
And I give the Republican Leadership, including Cantor and John Boehner, an epic fail in this area. Nobody wants to blink first on this, but someone has to blink!