The debt deal simply hastens the day of reckoning
The conventional wisdom is wrong. The mainstream media — and their parrots in the Republican establishment — are claiming that President Obama decisively won the government shutdown battle. In fact, the narrative being peddled is that the GOP brand has been badly damaged, paving the way for a possible Democratic Party takeover of the House of Representatives in the 2014 elections. This is puerile nonsense. Tea Party Republicans, led by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, may have lost the battle, but they are poised for a major victory in the larger Obamacare war.
Liberal pundits and Republican moderates, such as Sen. John McCain of Arizona, are blaming one person for the partial government shutdown: Mr. Cruz. They argue that for all their attempts to defund or delay Obamacare, Mr. Cruz and his conservative allies accomplished nothing. The final deal reopens the federal government until Jan. 15 and lifts the debt ceiling into early February. In exchange, no significant reforms or revisions were made to Mr. Obama's signature health law. As for the repeal of the medical devices tax, a one-year delay in the individual mandate and an end to the exemption given to Congress and its staff, none of these proposals were accepted by the Democrats. Hence, the political and media class are convinced Mr. Cruz's obstructionist tactics backfired, fostering the public perception that "right-wing extremists" have hijacked the GOP. Mr. Obama now openly refers to the Tea Party as a "dangerous faction."
This is myth and propaganda masquerading as analysis. The legislative deal simply does one thing: kick the can down the road. Yet the same, enduring problems remain — the very problems identified by Mr. Cruz and Tea Party Republicans. America is sitting on a ticking debt bomb, Obamacare — the most destructive law in modern memory — is a disaster, and our ruling elites are incapable of reining in out-of-control public spending.
America is increasingly dominated by one seminal reality: We are the most indebted nation in history. The national debt is approaching $17 trillion. By 2016, the debt is expected to hit $20 trillion. That will be Greece-like levels, a debt load so crippling that Washington will have trouble simply paying the interest on the debt payments. Our creditors will realize we are sliding toward the United States of Argentina — a fiscal basket case unable to live within our means. The value of the dollar will plunge. Interest rates will soar. Taxes will have to be increased. The social safety net will be shredded. Unless Congress immediately confronts the reckless spending and near-record trillion-dollar deficits, the United States will go bankrupt. The question is no longer if, but when.
Mr. Obama's massive health care overhaul is precipitating the impending economic collapse. Nearly every aspect of Obamacare has turned out to be a lie. The real price tag is not less than a $1 trillion; rather, it is a multitrillion-dollar entitlement program that America cannot afford. Rather than lowering premium costs for the average family, it dramatically raises them — sometimes by thousands of dollars a year. Millions of citizens have lost their health benefits or are unable to keep their doctor. People seeking to enroll in Obamacare's marketplace exchanges are stunned at the high costs of the health insurance plans. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office acknowledges that the law will not achieve its stated goal: universal coverage. Instead, about 30 million Americans will still not have health care. Hence, one-sixth of the U.S. economy will have been revolutionized essentially to put only 17 million new recipients on the Obamacare rolls. The complex law also undermines economic growth and job creation, compelling employers to either slash employees' hours or not hire new workers. In short, Obamacare is a cancer, slowly devouring our economic dynamism, individual liberties and medical care.
As the law is implemented, its devastating effects will be increasingly felt. By next year, the government shutdown will be a fading memory. What the public will remember, though, is that a band of Tea Party patriots sought to thwart the oncoming disaster. Mr. Cruz, along with Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah, represent the future. The question is no longer ideological — small government versus big government, free-market-based health care versus nationalized health care, or capitalism versus socialism. Rather, it is about something more simple — and profound: basic arithmetic.
The United States is a giant bus that is rushing toward an economic precipice. A few more years of Mr. Obama's borrow-and-spend policies and America will crash upon the rocks of fiscal reality and national insolvency. The Democrats are keeping their foot on the gas pedal, full speed ahead. The Republican establishment thinks we may need to slow down — at least a little. The bus, however, will still go off the cliff. Only the Tea Party is saying — in fact, yelling — to hit the brakes. They're right, and they will be vindicated. The only question is this: Will Americans wake up before it's too late?
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a radio host on WRKO AM-680 in Boston.
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