We are witnessing the tragic story of the death of a great movement. That movement is the Tea Party. The Tea party was awakened by the overspending of Presidents Bush and Obama. Though he cut taxes, Bush threw away the identity of the GOP as a party dedicated to limiting the role of government to its constitutional functions. Under Reagan, spending was not cut as much as it could have been, but he still articulated that as his guiding principle. Even the pretense of caring out cutting spending and limiting the role of government was lost under Bush, and the results for the GOP’s identity were dire.
Into this morass of confusion entered the Tea Party in 2009. These activists had an immediate impact on the 2010 elections and the GOP once again set about claiming its identity as a party that intended to limit government. After the massive gains in the 2014 elections, the revloution of limited governent seemed to be right around the corner. Then the GOP elected a candidate who, like Bush, did not even pretend to be interested in limiting the role of government. We were told that it was OK because conservative Tea Party types would reign him in if we could only get past Hillary. How is that working for us? Reason Magazine ran a recent article entitled “Republicans Officially Give Up Trying to Cut Spending.” Here’s an excerpt:
After the rise of the Tea Party in 2009 as a grassroots expression of revulsion at government bailouts, spending, and Obamacare; after a series of insurgent Tea Party primary victories in 2010 over big-spending incumbents and hand-picked establishmentarians; after Republicans re-took the House that November thanks in part to that new jolt of fiscally conservative energy; after the House majority from 2011-14 successfully used its power of the purse to force debate and at least some temporary agreements on the debt ceiling, long-term entitlements, and year-on-year spending, and then after Republicans re-took the Senate and eventually the White House…after all this activity, when it finally came time for the GOP to stand up and demonstrate its values of fiscal stewardship and limited government, you could count the number of Republicans voting to restrain government spending on exactly one finger.
And the Reason article goes on:
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), was the only Republican no-vote in yesterday’s 51-49 Senate approval of a $4 trillion budget resolution for fiscal year 2018. The resolution, more of a vague blueprint for the next decade, includes $43 billion next year for “Overseas Contingency Operations” (OCOs), a notorious budgeting gimmick that has been responsible for more than $1.7 trillion in off-budget spending this century. Quite unlike the deficit-neutral House budget resolution that passed two weeks ago, the Senate version assumes $1.5 trillion in new debt, and does not make the House’s $203 billion in domestic spending cuts (the Senate’s final tally is closer to $0).
Here is a video clip from Reason on the danger of the level of debt that we are running up:
Robert Maynard writes a column for True North Reports. He lives in Williston, Vermont.