Majority Leader Harry Reid took to the Senate floor on Thursday to try to explain how congressional Democrats and President Obama could justify opposing a Republican bill to keep government running. "The issue is ideology," Mr. Reid said. "The United States of America, this great country of ours, shouldn't have to live paycheck to paycheck," he puffed in faux indignation. The Nevada senator conveniently ignored the responsibility his party's deficit-spending binge has had in bringing this great country to the verge of insolvency.
Mr. Reid was right about one thing, but it's not a talking point that will resonate with American families struggling to make ends meet in the worst economy since the Great Depression. The clash of two divergent ideologies has propelled this epic budget drama. Establishment Republicans - emboldened by pressure from the Tea Party and its insurgency in the 2010 midterms - finally grasp that cash-strapped taxpayers demand fiscal discipline from their elected representatives. Democrats still haven't gotten the message.
Even though the share of the national debt for everybody who pays taxes already exceeds $157,000, liberals still act like they're entitled to spend freely. When revenues fall short, they'll just put the tab on a luxury credit card issued by the Bank of China and other foreign investors to keep the party going. In the wake of the economic meltdown in 2007, Democrats blamed greedy companies and demanded even greater control of the financial sector while ignoring the regulatory role in causing the crisis in the first place. Now their own greed is what brought the government to the brink of shutdown.
Mr. Reid's comments in the budget debate expose the condescension with which Mr. Obama and congressional Democrats continue to treat the American public. It doesn't matter to these supposed public servants that families have to cancel vacations because of high gas prices, houses are being foreclosed because of rampant unemployment or that entrepreneurs have to lay off employees because of the escalating costs of Obamacare regulations. It's these government- induced problems that have Americans living paycheck to paycheck. Just don't ask Washington to do the same thing.
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