So the debt deal is history, in the sense that we don’t have to wade through the daily trauma of ups and downs. It’s not a solution, by any means. In fact, the “cuts” in the deal are only just cuts for the rate of future spending. They don’t actually cut back on what is current. This means, unless more drastic action is taken, we are still plunging deeper into debt over the next few years.
I’m not as disturbed by this as many of my conservative colleagues. I guess it’s because I never expected much to begin with. Even in the euphoria of the gains made in the last election, I remember writing on this blog that the real change agenda would not begin now; it would have to wait for 2012. The best we could hope for was to stop any huge new measures like Obamacare. I said then that the Republicans’ main task over the next two years would be to stop as many terrible policy choices as possible. They did make an honest attempt at that this time despite the media’s theme:
Stopgap measures like this debt/budget deal will be worse than useless unless more fundamental changes are made. I have a proposal that no one will accept, but I’ll make it anyway. How about returning to what the Constitution authorizes the federal government to do? That would save a lot of money immediately. There are numerous cabinet departments that have no validity constitutionally. Consider the budgets of the following:
- Department of Labor: 12.8 billion
- Department of Agriculture: 23.9 billion
- Department of Energy: 29.5 billion
- Department of Housing and Urban Development: 41.7 billion
- Department of Education: 77.4 billion
- Department of Transportation: 128 billion
Grand total: $313 billion. That’s for just one year. Carry that out over the next decade and see what savings would occur. And that doesn’t count the Big Daddy of them all—Health and Human Services, which comes in at 892 billion, dwarfing all the others combined.
Yes, I know, most of that is Medicare and Medicaid, and no one wants to talk about changing those. Yet they are just as unconstitutional as all the others noted above. I haven’t even mentioned Social Security, another system about to go bankrupt. The problem with these entitlements, as they are incorrectly called, is that we’ve made promises to people. Those promises must be kept, even though the programs are patently opposed to the Constitution. We need an intelligent plan to phase out of them while ensuring that no one who is dependent on them is harmed. But where is the political will to move forward on such a plan?
Will the courageous public servants please step forward?