Opinion: Republicans Need To Make The Math Count


ANALYSIS/OPINION

By Jessica Curtis | Townhall.com June 18, 2021

Even Democrats and their friends in the mainstream media (MSM) must know that you cannot spend money you do not have forever.  When the amount of spending taking place leads to a situation where we owe more than the entire value of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the United States, it is just a matter of time until our day of reckoning.

None of this is esoteric economic theory.  It is simply common sense.  Not only that, but this level of debt is also a matter of national security.  Starting with China, so much of this debt is held by those who do not support American interests or our way of life for that matter.  In fact, the evidence is abundantly clear that they are actively working to undermine our place in the world.  Does anyone doubt that China is more than willing to do things to create havoc and economic hardship in the United States?

We have rationalized decades of excessive spending as being necessary, for one reason or another.  Where does it leave us?  The bottom line is we are living on borrowed time.  When Barrack Obama was elected in 2008, the national debt was $10 trillion.  Today, it is almost triple that, $28.3 trillion.  That is a lot of spending in not many years.  Worse, that debt is more than 125 percent of our GDP.  When the 20th century came to a close, it was less than 60 percent of GDP.  To walk past the National Debt clock in New York City, which I did for many years, can stun you with how much debt is being accumulated so quickly.

The appetite for free money is immense.  Listening to liberals say spending fewer dollars would only create hardship we cannot accept may be pleasing to the ear, but it is intellectual cotton candy and will devastate this country.

Here is the reality.  It might be amusing to highlight silly spending on bridges to nowhere or research on the sexual preferences of various animals, but we all know where the real money is spent.  Social Security is 23 percent.  Another 25 percent is spent on Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and subsidies created by Obamacare (The Affordable Healthcare Act).  Add in the dollars from other safety net programs, eight percent, and you are at 56 percent.  The next time a liberal argues we are a miserly country, remember those numbers.  Interest on the debt adds another eight percent, and national defense-international security accounts for 16 percent.  That is 80 percent of spending.  If you include benefits for federal retirees and veterans, you get to 88 percent.  

From the founding of this great Republic, Americans have demonstrated the willingness to sacrifice for the common good when the reasons for doing so were clear and understood.  We truly are at an inflection point.  One side of the political debate honestly believes that we never have really been all that exceptional (see Chris Cuomo), that we are guilty of a history defined by systemic racism, and that only with active atonement is there any hope for our nation.  This has recently reached new heights when supposedly serious people are penning articles that claim apple pie and names for birds are racist.  Our children are being taught that pronouns border on hate speech.

The other side honestly believes we are not, and never been perfect, but we are a great country.  They also maintain that we should rely on the history, culture, and traditions that made us great in the first place.  By doing so we can continue to be the beacon of freedom, liberty, and opportunity we have been to the rest of the world.  This side also thinks it is crucial we stop fixating so often on the trivial and begin to honestly deal with the serious and real problems that confront our nation.  Yes, this includes matter of race, but it also includes other items such as the national debt.  Count me in Group Two.

One of these traditions is shared sacrifice.  It is more than past time for Republicans to provide the leadership needed to address our debt situation.  We should be willing to be honest about the facts and trusting that our citizens are not a group of greedy, selfish, and unserious people.  Instead, by being relentless in sticking to the facts and avoiding traps intended to make us appear uncaring or unfeeling, we need to be at the forefront of providing reasonable and attainable policies designed to slow down this spiral of spending money we do not have.

Does this all require us to tell Grandma no more Social Security or Medicare?  Do we need to stop assisting poor people with healthcare by ending Medicaid?  That is never going to happen.  At the same time, it should not mean that we cannot touch these hot button topics.  If we do not start doing something pretty soon, the question could become moot in an economy that crashes down on our ears.

Republicans believe most Americans are willing to do their fair share.  The challenge will always be the combination of developing acceptable policies and defining what is fair.  The GOP must step up to these challenges.  The stakes could not be higher.

Click here to read the column at Townhall.com