Two years ago, Tea Party demonstrations were blanketing the country with participants who were alarmed at the growing rate of federal borrowing, debts, and deficits. The cost of all the big government legislation being implemented after the 2008 recession motivated the general public to stand up against out-of-control spending and rising inflation, a political movement which gave the Republican Party its largest House majority since 1948. Long gone were the days of routine debt ceiling raises, quantitative easing, and trillion dollar deficits.
Or so we thought.
President Barack Obama has now surpassed more debt in just three years and two months than President George W. Bush added in all eight years he was in office — and it’s not slowing down any time soon. Where are the Tea Party demonstrations today? The numbers haven’t gotten any better last time I checked yet the movement is silent at the time when their voice needs to be heard the most.
Spending has more than doubled since the Bush administration and Washington, D.C. is drowning in red ink. The 2012 election will determine whether we spend and tax more to keep up with rising entitlement costs, regulation enforcement, and stimulus measures, or what we will cut from these programs to ultimately get our numbers back in the black.
To be fair, this all started with the Bush Republicans of the 2000s. Coming into office with a budget surplus left from Democrat President Bill Clinton and the Newt Gingrich-led GOP Congress, one of the first bills Bush decided to sign was the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001— a sweeping piece of legislation that cut tax rates across the board.
In the following years, the Republicans in the White House and Congress did not adjust spending levels to comply with the new revenues. Quite the opposite, after two wars, along with unfunded entitlements like No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D, plus big government regulation bills like the USA PATRIOT Act and the Clear Skies Act, combined with the bailouts of the auto companies and Wall Street banks saw Bush expand public spending by 70% throughout his administration and add $4.9 trillion to the federal debt.
These unfunded big government initiative allowed the Democrats to sweep power in Congress and the White House in 2006 and 2008.
But the Democrats followed suite only to double down on spending.
In addition to inheriting the two wars that were started during the Bush administration as well as completing the bailouts, Obama and the Democratic Congress passed even more big spending legislation, like the Stimulus and the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act, along with big government regulation bills like the Dodd-Frank Act and the Affordable Care Act, and subsidies for green energy companies like Solyndra and Ener1, and products like the Chevy Volt and Fisker Karma.
Obama has now surpassed more debt than Bush in less than half the time, raising the federal debt to an astronomical $15.57 trillion. And what do we have to show for it? An 8.3% unemployment rate, bankrupt green energy companies, and even higher health care costs.
It’s not getting better any time soon. The CBO just released a report stating that the revised forecasted cost of the Affordable Care Act will be even higher at $1.76 trillion. Obama is still pushing his $447 billion American Jobs Act, and the Democrats won’t even touch the issue of entitlement reform. Entitlements now eat up 65.1% of tax dollars.
How does the Obama administration plan to solve everything? By passing the millionaire tax, also nicknamed the “Buffet Rule,” which according to the CBO, would bring in… drum roll… $453 billion over 10 years.
Passing Obama’s American Jobs Act alone would wipe out the additional revenue generated from the millionaire tax, and that’s assuming there isn’t a steep drop in Americans reporting more than $1 million in revenue after getting passed, like what Britain is seeing after raising their top tax bracket to 50%.
At least politicians like Rep. Paul Ryan (R - Wisc.) are trying to do what is needed by crafting budgets that cut $5.3 trillion over the next decade. As expected, we’re already seeing the demagoguery from the left again over how Ryan wants to “throw Grandma off the cliff” and “hurt the poor.”
But my question is: “Where did the Tea Party go?” Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, and other fiscal conservatives need their support now more than ever. Today is our opporunity to complete the transformation in Washington and focuse not on spending more but on cutting and reforming. We are letting ourselves be distracted with meaningless birth control controversies and 2012 campaign trail coverage overkill.
Americans may receive a stern reminder our fiscal shape if the next debt ceiling vote occurs just before the election.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.