Conservative values can remake political landscape in 2012 Winston Churchill once said, “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.” That’s exactly where we find ourselves, again.
With the Treasury Department’s Aug. 2 debt-ceiling deadline just days away, negotiations in Washington have reached fever pitch. For weeks, talks between leaders of both chambers and the White House have started, stalled, been called off and started over again. Plans have been offered and scrapped. On Monday evening, President Obama pressed his case with the nation and House Speaker John Boehner ably countered with his.
Amid the partisan Sturm und Drang, one thing is clear: Our nation is at a crisis point. It is not because Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner set an arguably arbitrary timeline for increasing the amount of money the federal government can borrow but because our country can no longer afford our current economic policies.
The solutions proffered by conservatives and liberals are evidence of two sides with very different worldviews.
Liberals across the board have offered expansive rhetoric – devoid of details, tough choices and real, necessary entitlement reforms – but limited acceptable ideas for curbing the out-of-control spending at the root of the debt crisis. Led by Mr. Obama, they want new taxes and unchecked autonomy to raise the debt limit in exchange for token promises on reining in spending over a protracted period of time.
On the other hand, conservatives in both chambers, bolstered by fearless freshmen and led by the likes of Mr. Boehner, Sen. Jim DeMint, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, continue to offer substantive, fiscally responsible paths forward. They have done so in a transparent manner, putting pen to paper and presenting it to the American public. Moreover, the House is the onlyentityin this dialogue to have voted and passed a plan. To date, the “Cut, Cap and Balance Act” remains the most comprehensive conservative proposal for executing real, substantial cuts in spending, establishing enforceable spending caps and passing a balanced-budget amendment.
Want empirical proof of who is right? What better barometer than the recent U.S. census?
The 2010 census revealed sizable population shifts away from metropolitan areas, especially in the Northeast, and away from states with fledgling economies and poorly run governments. According to the Los Angeles Times, “For the first time in nearly a century and only the second time in state history, California’s congressional delegation will not grow in the next decade.”
What are some similarities shared by these major population and urban centers? Start with liberal officeholders advancing liberal policies that have led to the highest taxes in the country, worst-performing schools, highest unemployment and higher rates of crime and children born out of wedlock – recipes for despair and loss of hope. Leaders of these communities share a common philosophical vision with Mr. Obama.
Moving your family is never an easy decision – it’s often a very emotional, traumatic experience – but many have found it necessary. Desperate Americans are leaving our major cities for opportunities for better jobs, better schools, lower taxes and a greater quality of life. The same goes for departing corporations, entrepreneurs and small-business owners thirsting for more fertile grounds for prosperity.
The debate in Washington hinges on a similar question: What path should our country follow? Americans, by the millions, have already answered that question.
Preventing the downward spiral of our economy – in the vein of the failed fiscal policies of places like Detroit – is simple. Don’t raise taxes, do cut spending, cap our debt ceiling and the percentage of debt to our gross domestic product, and pass a balanced-budget amendment. Taking these measures will restore investor confidence and lead to new jobs for American workers, reigniting our economy. In short, Washington should follow the steps taken by our healthiest states and local governments and reject the policies of our failed states and communities. In great contrast to the Golden State, the business climate in Texas has led to the creation of more than a million new jobs in the past decade.
While the president continues to play politics with the debt-ceiling crisis, declining to offer clear-cut, transparent and specific proposals, conservatives must continue to lead. We are controlling the debate and winning the war of ideas because Americans increasingly agree that our current economic policies – from federal spending and entitlement programs to the tax code and burdensome regulations – are unsustainable.
Unfortunately, we also must be realistic. At the end of the day, when we currently control just one-third of the federal formula, conservatives will not see our ideal bill pass this year. In exchange for a short-term solution on a debt-ceiling increase, we must hold the line against new taxes and cut spending. We should support Mr. Boehner and our leadership, who have gone toe to toe with the president and liberals in Congress, on a temporary deal that will meet these two criteria and prevent carte-blanche increases on the debt limit. Conservatives in the Senate should stand strong behind the two-step plan that passed the House and force Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to take this legislation to Mr. Obama’s desk. While imperfect, it’s viable, doesn’t raise taxes and keeps checks on the president’s authority on the debt limit.
Fortunately, 2012 will be an opportunity for voters to usher in necessary, sweeping changes in both the White House and Senate. In January 2013, the landscape in Washington, just like the population centers across our country, will look a whole lot different and we’ll finally get the real conservative solutions Americans want today.