Senator Mitch McConnell penned a piece in USAToday. It’s titled “If Obama stiff-arms us, we’ll go to the people.”
He writes: “The simplest way to view the debt ceiling debate in Washington is as a struggle over the kind of government we want. If you want a government that runs everything from the student loan business to car companies, then taxes will have to go up. If you think government is too big already and should start to pull back, then Washington has to change its ways – fast.
This is the message I have brought to the White House for more than two years in an effort to persuade President Obama to rein in a government that has lost all sense of limits. This is also why, when those discussions failed to bear fruit, I had hoped an approaching limit to the president’s borrowing power would cause him to think again.
Unfortunately, it was wishful thinking. As it turned out, the president is simply too committed to big government to agree to serious belt-tightening. At the same time, however, the president realizes that most Americans fear government is too big already. that’s why he has tried to portray himself in recent weeks as advocating a ‘balanced approach.’
But the facts speak for themselves.
With the government expected to spend $1.4 trillion more than it takes in this year alone, the White House presented us with two bad options: a so-called ‘big deal’ that, even if you accept its numbers, would have only lowered our debt from $26 trillion to about $22 trillion over the next 10 years; and a smaller deal that would cut $2 billion next year out of a $3.7 trillion budget.
Another catch: Both offers came with massive tax hikes – which we know, and the president has acknowledge, will hurt job growth.
When Republicans refused both proposals, the president responded that he only wants to tax ‘the rich,’ but, again, the facts are clear. Raising taxes on the ‘top 2%’ would not only create yet another roadblock for small businesses to create jobs, it would come up about $10 trillion short on our bills.
So the president can claim he only wants to tax jet owners, but Washington’s deficits and debt are so big that pretty soon he’ll have no choice but to sock it to families flying in coach as well. He can claim he is willing to make concessions, but Republicans will not deceive Americans by calling what he refers to as concessions anything other than a preservation of the status quo.
There is some dispute about what will happen if we fail to raise the debt limit on August 2. One thing that is not in dispute, however, is that on that date the president would suddenly be in the position of picking and choosing who gets the more than 80 million checks Washington issues every month. This is a power that no president should have.
That’s why I have proposed a last resort plan that would take default off the table as Republicans continue to press the White House for meaningful cuts and reforms. And this week, Congress will vote on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, and the ‘Cut, Cap and Balance’ bill. The goal is a balanced budget amendment that would not rely on persuasion in getting the president to rein in a government he has done so much to expand – it would require it.
If the White House is not willing to work with us, then we will go around it and directly to the people.
What Republicans want is simple: to cut spending now, to cap runaway spending in the future and to save our entitlements and our country from bankruptcy by requiring the nation to balance its budget. We want to finally get our economy growing again at a pace that will lead to significant job growth.
When President Bill Clinton famously declared that the era of big government is over. Washington’s annual budget was $1.6 trillion. Sixteen years later Washington is now borrowing nearly that much every year. The president has asked for shared sacrifice, but many are beginning to realize that what we may really be sacrificing in this debate is a chance to have the kind of government Americans really want.”