Fiscal Hawks Lose On Budget Bill

In June 2015, a life-long liberal Democrat from New York ignited forgotten Americans around the country by promising a radical reversal of then-President Barack Obama’s policies.

These proposed changes included drastic cuts to domestic spending, an end to pointless foreign interventions, and a crackdown on unchecked immigration. However, after one of the most fantastic displays of voter-driven political rebellion in American history, it seems like Obama’s Democrats are still running the country.

Instead of letting Democrats take the fall for a federal government shutdown over budget disputes, something that in theory should prove that less state power is actually a good thing, Trump and his Republican allies let the opposition control the narrative. Now, we’re stuck with a budget that essentially enshrines Obama-era government spending.

Since retaking the House in 2010, Republican lawmakers including current Speaker of the House Paul Ryan have been calling for dramatic reductions in spending levels. Some other prominent conservatives in the Senate such as Kentucky Senator Rand Paul have suggested going even further by tackling foreign aid delivered to nations which have little to no respect for America in the first place.

Why then, seven years after the fact, does it feel like President Obama is still in charge? Why are liberty-minded Republicans upset while Democrats like Chuck Schumer are strangely optimistic? Wasn’t a complete budget overhaul part of Trump’s plan to “drain the swamp” that is Washington, D.C. politics?

Even if you take some of Trump’s key campaign proposals off the table, such as a massive wall to be constructed along the southern border with Mexico or a $1 trillion infrastructure bill, spending cuts are vital to advancing the president’s agenda. His tax plan revealed last week is a striking example.

On its face, the plan is excellent. It reduces the number of tax brackets while also lowering the rate for the highest income earners. It allows individuals to have higher standard deductions. And perhaps most importantly, it axes the dreaded corporate tax rate from 35 percent to just 15 percent.

These changes are a great way to stimulate domestic economic output while also inviting foreign companies to invest more heavily in the American worker. After all, the Chinese have managed to cushion the brutal effects of their historic communism by having no corporate income tax to speak of. There are various other ways Beijing artificially inflates its own economic value, but that’s a topic for another day.

Unfortunately, the radical tax plan invites the time-old Democratic argument: how are we going to pay for this?

Now, there is something very telling about liberals complaining that they will no longer be able to pay for their pet projects with rich peoples’ money. But in this instance, it’s a valid criticism.

In order to keep the government afloat, tax cuts need to be coupled with spending reductions. If you’re taking in less revenue, you are less able to fund your projects. This is just simple math.

Conveniently, in addition to tax reductions, Republicans have also been arguing for less government to begin with. There is no inconsistency here. We can afford to stop reaching so deep into the pockets of the most economically productive people by simply taking a critical look at government programs.

Obviously, there will be a political fallout on both sides if Congress actually moves on spending cuts. Republicans will need to realize they will not get to keep awarding Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics extremely generous contracts for building our military’s weapons. Democrats will need to get over the fact that we might need to scale back entitlements and foreign aid programs.

The cold hard truth is that actual spending cuts – not freezes as Barack Obama liked to brag about – would have pretty steep immediate effects. The lower class will feel burdened with less welfare access. The U.S. Armed Forces will need to strongly reconsider their procurement plans. National park employees might be laid off and forced to find new jobs.

Truly, there is nothing nice about budget cuts, and this is probably why neither of our major parties actually implement them once they’re in power. No one wants to be the face of this impending hardship.

Unfortunately, America is no longer in a position to be picky. If we want to avoid a Greece-like situation in a country populated by upwards of 300 million people, our lawmakers need to talk about cutting spending sooner rather than later.

~ Conservative Zone


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