Harold Pease, Ph. D
Let me be one of the first to put it in print. The nation’s biggest threat is not Al Qaida! It is not Edward Snowden or NSA spying on every citizen in the nation! It is not the IRS targeting of Tea Party and religion groups for extra scrutiny, or even a president replacing Congress as the leading lawmaking branch of government. It is the impending financial collapse if we do not curb our addiction to debt and do it quickly. It grows by an estimated $3 billion a day and is now $17,355,598,800 trillion as I write this column. By the time many of you read it, one week from today, it will have increased by $21 billion.
Two laws passed this year have made this observation more blatantly obvious. The Republican Party’s total collapse on the debt ceiling increase and the recently passed $1 trillion dollar Farm Bill financing corporate and class welfare.
First the debt ceiling surrender wherein the Republican Party leadership, in opposition to there own party, totally capitulated without asking any concessions from the White House and Democrats in return for the borrowing authority. Please note that a debt ceiling raise eventually means higher taxes or debt. Twenty-eight Republicans joined the Democratic Party majority for a yes vote thus passing the raise in the House of Representatives 221-201. Conservatives and constitutionalists felt betrayed. House Speaker John Boehner in his “Boehner Rule,” had promised that increase in the debt ceiling must reflect spending cuts also.
Amazingly the top three Republican Party leaders: Boehner (Speaker), Eric Canter (Majority Leader), and Kevin McCarthy (Majority Whip) voted to raise the debt ceiling to March 15, 2015, as did all but two Democrats, virtually abandoning their 206 remaining Republican colleagues voting no to the debt raise. So much for fiscal restraint and holding to often repeated principles. These three voted against their own party. To his credit Paul D. Ryan, former Vice Presidential candidate, voted against. The Democratically controlled Senate easily passed the debt raise legislation along party lines 55-43.
Why is this a sign of an impending fiscal collapse? The debt ceiling has been raised 76 times since March 1962, including 18 times under Ronald Reagan, eight times under Bill Clinton, seven times under George W Bush, and seven times under Barack Obama. This is our 14th debt raise in 13 years. We raise it every year to accommodate our need for a “fix.” My point! Congress sadly never says no! Does anyone really believe that our debt-addicted government will ever stop the addiction on its own?
Second, the recently passed five-year Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, popularly called the Farm Bill, costing nearly one trillion dollars, over ten years—a 50% increase over the last one—certainly leaves no room for faith that they will curb their appetite for debt. The 959-page document included the following items considered pork by critics: “$2 million for sheep production and marketing, $10 million for Christmas tree promotion, $170 million for catfish oversight, $119 million for peanut crop insurance, $100 million for organic food research, $150 million to promote farmers markets, $3.3 billion for a cotton income protection plan, $12 million for a “wool research and promotion” program, and $100 million to promote the maple syrup industry. Ironically the 949-page bill spends about $1 billion dollars per page ($956 Billion Farm Bill Loaded with Pork, Your World Cavuto). The Department of Agriculture will also be establishing new federal standards for “the identity of honey.”
The final vote in the Senate was 68-32, with 44 Democrats, 22 Republicans and both independents supporting the measure. The Farm Bill passed in the House of Representatives 234 to 195. Voting yes were 24 Democrats and 171 Republicans. Again, House of Representative leaders Boehner (Speaker), Eric Canter (Majority Leader), and Kevin McCarthy (Majority Whip) voted for the pork filled bill and the 50% increase over the last Farm Bill.
So my friends, how does this pork bestowal to a favored few stop the three billion dollar a day bleed to the national debt, now exceeding $17 trillion? It doesn’t even pretend to try and that is my point, nor does raising the debt ceiling without accompanying cuts. When the bleeding was resisted by at least one political party there was hope. We absolutely must replace our existing House and Senate with those fiscally responsible or there will be a financial collapse. If you are not personally involved in doing so you must begin now. The Tea Party is the only party that gives more than lip service to fiscal responsibility. You may wish be become a part of it.