- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 14, 2011

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The Republican Party has a government “shutdown” phobia. It has once again flinched and now tries to spin it as a victory.

Trimming a claimed $38.5 billion from the federal budget is a beginning, but the process has proven once again that when playing a game of political chicken, House Speaker John A. Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and their crew are not willing to see it through; and the Democrats know they always will be able to run them off the road.

Both parties are taking a victory lap, not for winning the race but for being able to make another pit stop.

Im a Navy veteran and the father of an Iraq war veteran, so the idea that Harry Reid, the Senate Democrats and the White House considered holding the families of our military heroes hostage to force a deal with those pushing for fiscal sanity is depraved. Yet once again, with cover and cheers from their media allies, they have gotten away with exactly that. And so they, along with the House leadership, are claiming victory and success.

Let’s take a closer look at this so-called victory. After all, to actually solve the budget problem there must be some comprehension of it.

Contrary to the Democrats’ talking points, their original negotiating position wasn’t “zero.” It was to pile on an additional $40 billion - thats $40,000,000,000.00 - in borrowed spending.

These amounts are astronomical, so it may be easier to think of it this way: The House and the Senate have been arguing on whether to pay either $0 or $61 to settle a $1,650 bill. We the people are supposed to be thrilled that they settled on $38.50.

But what about the leftover $1611.50? It’s not going away, and the interest is compounding. (In the time that it took you to read this parenthetical passage, we accrued about $50,000 of additional debt.)

The failure of this negotiation rests in the limited vision of the GOP leadership. Its “offer” in this budget negotiation should not have been $61 billion - it should have been $300 billion.

Now, some have said that we should accept this compromise and move on to fight the other battles rolling toward us. Perhaps there is some merit to that position, but it sounds more like an excuse to many who are ready to establish fiscal sanity.

To make things murkier, there appear to be questions about the math. On Wednesday, it was reported that the Congressional Budget Office analysis of the “deal” finds a paltry $352 million in spending cuts not related to the wars, and the $8 billion in domestic cuts is going to be offset by comparable increases in defense spending. Is this another act of congressional accounting prestidigitation? Before anything is approved, due diligence is required. Since the government-controlled CBO is raising the questions, what others are being overlooked? Is the problem incompetence or is it dishonesty?

The debt ceiling, the 2012 budget and other important fiscal matters will need the total attention of Congress and the public. However, the pattern of appeasement from the GOP leadership does not instill much confidence that the necessary spending cuts and tax reductions will be made to create jobs in the private sector of the U.S. economy. If this compromise represents the start, then there may never be an end.

Mr. Boehners claim that this “deal” was the best we could do puts the HouseGOP leadership in a position to deliver massive corrections to the budget going forward - that is, if they are sincere about a solution. Simply spinning this deal as a success does not solve the problem, nor does it relieve the downward pressure of uncertainty on the economy.

It appears that the House leadership is much more focused on creating perceptions than it is about doing the math and fixing the problems. It must be that getting themselves re-elected is more important than repairing the damage.

The House leadership and freshmen members need to keep in mind that they will have the support and gratitude of the grass roots, the tea party and other common-sense conservatives if they hold the line and do the right thing to correct the problems created by decades of progressive fiscal policies and overregulation, administered by bloated, redundant agencies.

But this latest performance of political theater begs the question: Is there anyone - anyone - in Washington, D.C., who has the guts and the vision to tame our out-of-control spending or even to tell the truth about it?

• Mark Kevin Lloyd is chairman of the Virginia Tea Party Patriot Federation.

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