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July 30th, 2011

Bad News from Washington: McConnell Waving The White Flag

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is orchestrating a capitulation on the debt-ceiling debate that likely will lead to President Barack Obama’s re-election and eliminate any real possibility of halting the spending mania in Washington D.C.  Behind closed doors this weekend, McConnell is pushing for a compromise that will raise the debt ceiling enough to avoid another debate on the issue before the 2012 election. That is just what President Obama wants.

The President is demanding that the debt ceiling be raised by a whopping amount – two or three times the normal increase – to let the federal government keep borrowing past November 2012.  The ceiling is generally raised once or twice a year, but Obama claims he wants to kept it “out of politics” in an election year.

Of course he does. Out of control spending is the most important issue facing voters. But he wants to run away from his spending and borrowing record, not run on it.

The 2012 election should be a referendum on the soaring increase in spending since 2007. In his first year, Obama pushed federal spending from 20% of gross domestic product to 25 percent. Only once before did federal spending ever reach that level – when the United States plunged into World War II.

Add in state and local spending, and government programs now consume 42 percent of GDP. In other words, 42 percent of all we produce going to work every day goes for government programs.  Forty-two percent of the fruits of our labor. Do you and your family get 42 percent of your happiness from government? It’s a preposterous question.

Worse, an increasing share of the spending is on borrowed money. The deficit shot up from $500 billion in the seventh year of the Bush presidency to $1 trillion the next year and $1.9 trillion in 2009.

All of the proposals put forward by congressional leaders, whether House Speaker John Boehner or Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, barely dent the deficit, cutting it less than 10%.  Actual spending isn’t even reduced. These so-called “cuts” are reductions in future spending increases.

But the key to making progress, every six months or so, is to keep the issue recurring.  The debt ceiling must be brought up again and again. It was raised 16 times during President Reagan’s terms, for example.   A long-term increase is contrary to American practice. Moreover it would give the President an EZ pass for four more years in the White House.

Don’t be bamboozled, Senator McConnell, and don’t surrender our nation’s future.

About the Author

Betsy McCaughey
Betsy McCaughey, Ph.D., is a patient advocate and former Lt. Governor of New York State. She is a regular contributor to

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