debt ceiling

Republicans talk big on spending cuts

Much like the 2010 mid-terms, the budget deficit will be an issue that we’ll hear a lot about leading into the fall. In a speech yesterday in Iowa, Mitt Romney gave us a taste of what to expect as he slammed President Barack Obama for his spending spree:

Mitt Romney today said he would lead Americans out of President Obama’s “debt and spending inferno,” warning a crowd that the country faces a financial crisis that “threatens what it means to be an American.”

Romney spoke today in the very room where he stood on the night of the Iowa caucuses in January, the candidate’s first trip to the state since then, this time no longer focused on the close results at the polls but instead solely on President Obama, whom he accused of “feeding” rather than “putting out” what he dubbed the “spending fire.”

“A prairie fire of debt is sweeping across Iowa and across the nation and every day that we fail to act that fire gets closer to the homes and the children we love,” said Romney. “Now you know also that this is not solely a Democrat or Republican problem. The issue isn’t who deserves the most blame. The issue is who is going to do what it takes to put out the fire. Now the people of Iowa and America have watched President Obama nearly four years now. Much of that time, with Congress controlled by his own party. And rather than putting out that spending fire, he’s been feeding it.”

“He has spent more and borrowed more. The time has come for a president, a leader, who will lead. I will lead us out of this debt and spending inferno. We will stop borrowing unfathomable sums of money we can’t even imagine from foreign countries we’re never even going to visit,” said Romney. “I will work with you to make sure we put out this spending and borrowing fire.”

The Debt Bomb: Sen. Coburn’s new book lashes out at both sides

During the fight over the debt ceiling last year, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) took a lot of heat from conservative groups for his part in the “Gang of Six” negotiations, which would have raised taxes in addition to cutting spending.

Coburn, who has been on the frontlines in fighting government waste during his two terms in the Senate, fought back as loudly as much as he could until it was evident that the bipartisan group’s efforts would go to waste. While I don’t agree that revenues are the problem in Washington, Coburn at least took a principled stand and worked for a solution to the nation’s long-term fiscal problems, not just short-term fix on which so many eventually settled.

But Coburn done with the issue. In his new book, The Debt Bomb: A Bold Plan to Stop Washington from Bankrupting America, Coburn explains our fiscal situation and offers his own plan for bring Washington back on the path to sustainability. He also criticizes “careerist” politicians for catering to special interests instead of tackling fiscal issues:

Sen. Tom Coburn’s new book, “The Debt Bomb: A Bold Plan to Stop Washington from Bankrupting American,” critiques Congress in harsh terms and warns of further economic crisis if lawmakers do not get the nation’s deficit under control.

“Congress today is a stagnant pond that needs to be drained and refilled with a steady stream of new public servants,” he writes, according to excerpts provided to ABC News. “I’m a fan of the Jack Welch principle in reverse for Congress … fire 90 percent of members every election and only keep the 10 percent who were productive.”

Obama racks up more debt than Bush

During George W. Bush’s presidency, Democrats often complained that deficits were too high and that the national debt was growing out of control. Even Barack Obama, then a Senator from Illinois complained of the growing deficit. During a debate over raising the debt ceiling in 2008, Obama slammed Bush, calling the deficits under Bush “unpatriotic”:

The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents - #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.

There is no denying that Bush was a big spender, not just on defense, but also domestic programs. However, Obama’s preaching hasn’t translated into any action. And now, just in his first term, the national debt has increased more than under Obama the full eight years of Bush, as CBS News notes:

The National Debt has now increased more during President Obama’s three years and two months in office than it did during 8 years of the George W. Bush presidency.

The Debt rose $4.899 trillion during the two terms of the Bush presidency. It has now gone up $4.939 trillion since President Obama took office.

Listen to Rick Santorum: “Vote for Ron Paul”

There isn’t much Rick Santorum says that I agree with. As we’ve noted here before, Santorum’s record is terrible from a perspective of limited government. However, he’s still managed to peel away a lot of voters that identify themselves with the Tea Party. But when recently asked for an explanation for his votes in favor of Medicare expansion, No Child Left Behind, and raising the debt ceiling, Santorum replied, “Vote for Ron Paul, that’s what you should do.”

Santorum is obviously being dismissive about the points being made. But those inconvenient facts (his support for more government) are hard to justify for anyone claiming to be a constitutionalist, Tea Party-minded voters, or some that otherwise believes in limited government.

When it call comes down to it, the “big three” candidates don’t really have much to offer as far as shrinking government. Maybe Santorum is, for once, right about something. Maybe voters that haven’t yet case their ballots should consider Ron Paul since he believes in, you know, actually restraining government, not enabling it.

Tea Party claims first victory in 2012

This hasn’t gotten much play yet, at least from I’ve seen, but Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) lost her bid for re-election on Tuesday to Brad Wenstrup, a doctor who was supported by the Tea Party movement in the district. John Fund has the story:

The Tea Party is alive and kicking. House Speaker John Boehner can’t help but notice that Representative Jean Schmidt, one of his fellow GOP House members from the Cincinnati area, just went down to defeat at the hands of a political neophyte. Brad Wenstrup is a physician and Iraq War veteran whose only prior political experience was in a losing race for mayor of Cincinnati.

Jean Schmidt had a conservative social and economic voting record in her seven years in Congress, winning “zero” ratings from liberal groups and an 88 percent rating from the National Taxpayers Union in 2010. But she had vulnerabilities, including votes to raise the debt ceiling and for the Wall Street bailout, support for the pro-union Davis-Bacon Act, and a record of supporting tax increases when she was in the state legislature. She was also dogged by accusations she had accepted free legal help from a Turkish-American interest group, although she was cleared of wrongdoing by the House Ethics Committee. But the real mark against her was that she was a Washington incumbent.

Wenstrup hammered Schmidt from the right, and his opposition to pork-barrel spending and support for a flat tax won him the backing of the Ohio Liberty Council, a coalition of tea-party groups. But Schmidt still had an overwhelming financial advantage, outspending Wenstrup by three-to-one in the last Federal Election Commission report.

Ron Paul on Rick Santorum: “Is this dude serious?”

In a new ad airing in Michigan, Rep. Ron Paul’s campaign slams Rick Santorum for voting to raise the debt ceiling, doubling the size of the Department of Education, and supporting Medicare Part D, a multi-trillion dollar expansion of an already broken entitlement.

Paul also hits Santorum on voting to send money to Planned Parenthood, which is frequently targeted by social conservatives (heads may have just exploded), via his votes in the Senate forcing taxpayers to pay for contraceptives.

Obama to ask for another $1.2 trillion debt ceiling hike

Reuters reported yesterday that President Barack Obama will ask Congress for yet another increase in the nation’s borrowing limit — this time a crisp $1.2 trillion, which raise the debt ceiling to $16.394 trillion:

The White House plans to ask Congress by the end of the week for an increase in the government’s debt ceiling to allow the United States to pay its bills on time, according to a senior Treasury Department official on Tuesday.


The approval is expected to go through without a challenge, given that Congress is in recess until later in January and the request is in line with an agreement to keep the U.S. government funded into 2013.


The debt is projected to fall within $100 billion of the current cap by December 30, when the United States has $82 billion in interest on its debt and payments such as Social Security coming due. President Barack Obama is expected to ask for authority to increase the borrowing limit by $1.2 trillion, part of the spending authority that was negotiated between Congress and the White House this summer.

Under the agreement struck in August during the showdown over the government’s debt limit, the cap is automatically raised unless Congress votes to block the debt-ceiling extension. Lawmakers have 15 days within receiving the request to vote, which is largely symbolic because the president can veto it and Congress would be unlikely to muster the two-thirds majority to override it. Moreover, the U.S. House of Representatives also is in recess until January 17.

Obama in 2008: Increasing debt by $4 trillion is unpatriotic

Earlier this week, CBS News erroneously reported that the national debt had increased by $4 trillion since President Barack Obama had been in office. Several conservative blogs picked it up, but didn’t bother to note that Obama’s first budget was submitted in February but didn’t take effect until October 2009, well after he assumed the presidency.

From October 1, 2009 to August 24, 2011, debt held by the public has increased by more than $2.4 trillion (this figure excludes intragovernmental holdings), in just over two years in office. During the four years of Democratic control of Congress (specific to budget years), the national debt increased by more than $3.9 trillion.

Needless to say, reigning in spending hasn’t been much of a priority. Of course, that doesn’t absolve the spending spree of George W. Bush and his Republican enablers; but it makes Obama’s past comments on spending laughable considering that he has done half the damage of his predecessor in just over two years. Take for instance, his comments from a campaign stop back in 2008, which I leave you without remark:

The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents - #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.

Here is the video:

Chart of the Day: NTU on “Super Committee” and spending cuts

The folks over at the National Taxpayers Union have reviewed the 12 members of the
“Super Committee,” which was formed as a result of the debt ceiling deal, and found that they have 18 non-overlapping proposals to cut spending totaling over $89 billion. But as you can see in the numbers below, these members are coming from completely mindsets, especially as the federal government is running a massive budget deficit.

Super Committee Spending

Infographic of the Day: Spending cut farce

The folks over at Bankrupting America have put out this new infographic that shows that the recent debt ceiling deal, which supposedly comes with around $1 trillion in spending cuts (not counting the other $1.2 to $1.5 trillion in cuts from the Super Congress), doesn’t really do anything to address the deficit (click to enlarge). Rather, the deal only slows the increases in the rate of future spending.

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