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By DANIEL GARDNER
The elite mainstream media and DC crowd of politicians, pundits and bureaucrats continually remind us Washington works through compromise. And, theyâ€™re right. Thatâ€™s why Tea Party members of Congress are bogging down the system â€¦ they refuse to compromise their values and principles.
You know the old story. An old rich man hits on a young lady telling her heâ€™ll give her $1 million if sheâ€™ll just sleep with him for one night. After carefully considering his offer, the young lady says, â€śsure.â€ť Then the old man says, â€śHow about for $5?â€ť The young lady reacts, â€śWhat do you think I am?â€ť To which the old man replies, â€śWeâ€™ve already established what you are. Now weâ€™re negotiating a price.â€ť
Happens every day in Washington. Itâ€™s called â€ścompromise.â€ť Except some of the more radical, extremist, far right-wing nut jobs are refusing to compromise. What are they failing to compromise? Higher spending for one thing. Theyâ€™re called â€śextremistsâ€ť because they refuse to vote for more deficit spending.
Democrats on Sunday talk shows have been saying President Obama cut $1.5 trillion in spending. Even Obama himself has said this. Not true. For one thing, the â€ścutsâ€ť are set years in the future after his second term. And, for another, the â€ścutsâ€ť just slow the growth rate of certain programs over 10 years. In other words, hogwash. But, in political rhetorical wars $1.5 trillion is a big number to throw around for your side. Dazzle them with your wit and rhetoric!
In the coming weeks elites in Washington in office and in the media will cover the next three big fights: raising the debt ceiling, stopping sequestration, and passing another continuing resolution. A â€ścontinuing resolutionâ€ť is a fancy term for what they do when they donâ€™t pass a budget. Washington has not passed a budget since Obama took office. Theyâ€™ve merely passed a series of â€ścontinuing resolutionsâ€ť to keep the government running â€¦ and spending more and more, even though the Constitution requires an annual budget.
â€śSequestrationâ€ť is the 50-cent term leaders came up with to force Congress and the White House to make serious cuts or suffer approximately $500 billion cuts in both Defense and domestic spending for a total of about $1 trillion over 10 years. Draconian â€¦ Not! Merely one-tenth of our annual deficits for the past four years.
The big fight will be over raising the debt ceiling. Way back in 1917 Washington decided to put a limit on federal spending in anticipation of going to war in Europe. Since then Washington has kept up this ruse on the pretense they are spending responsibly. The last time Washington raised the ceiling was August of 2011, and since then weâ€™ve borrowed (remember, this is a debt ceiling) more than $2.4 trillion.
Tea Party representatives have vowed to cut spending. No one in Washington has cut one dime of spending and weâ€™ve spent well over $1 trillion more than weâ€™ve taken in each of the last four years and counting.
Tea Party representatives may be radical, right-wing extremists hell-bent on clogging up business as usual in the daily world of political prostitution in D.C., but I kind of like their grit and their sticking to their values and principles.
Daniel L. Gardner is a syndicated columnist who lives in Starkville. Contact him at Daniel@DanLGardner.com.