The title of this missive may sound rather ominous, but it is the real question that faces the American electorate. Last week, Friday, in the wee morning hours, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives voted on and passed a two-year budget measure that will increase federal government spending, along with our debt and return us to Obama era trillion-dollar deficits. The measure was taken to President Trump, who quickly signed it, and ended the shortest government shutdown in U.S. history.
President Trump then sent out a twitter post admonishing the election of more Republicans so that such increases in spending would be precluded. President Trump asserted that since the Senate rules require 60 votes for passage, and the GOP has only a 51-vote majority, the necessity to seek Democrat support hinders our fiscal responsibility.
My contention is that this has little to do with political party affiliation but rather a political philosophy that refuses to reign in government spending. Let’s not forget that it was some 150 days ago that the U.S. House of Representatives sent over all twelve Appropriations Bills to the Senate. Having more Republicans has nothing to do with simply doing your job. That is an issue of leadership. However, can we seriously equate, especially after last Friday, that the designation of Republican is synonymous with fiscal responsibility?
In objective honesty, we have seen a massive increase in federal government spending and debt from the Bush and Obama administrations. We hear the bumper sticker slogans from Republicans about cutting spending, but the truth is that spending is never cut. That is the fallacy of the baseline budget system utilized on Capitol Hill. What brings about high deficits is the desire to cut taxes … but never cut, truly cut, spending in Washington D.C.
The real need in Washington D.C. is not to elect more Republicans. We must put people in positions of authority who have a political philosophy that embraces individual economic empowerment and equality of opportunity instead of collective economic subjugation, enslavement to government largesse, resulting in an equality of outcomes. We also need serious, resolute, strong-willed constitutional conservatives who believe that the individual American citizen is more sovereign and will fight for their liberty. As opposed to a philosophy that the institution of government and bureaucracy reigns supreme, superior, to the consent of the governed.
We the people must come to realize that both political parties are displaying a lack of regard for our nation’s fiscal health. Yes, I have had some friends email and text me that our military will be funded, and will have predictability for their budgeting purposes. True, but here is the real danger: the budget of the federal government is broken down into two sides – mandatory and discretionary spending. Discretionary spending is broken down further: defense discretionary and non-defense discretionary (domestic) spending. Our mandatory side of the budget is where you will find Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and the net interest on our debt. This side of our budget makes up almost 65 percent of our spending, and no one touches this. Worse of all, with this two-year budget, it means more spending, which begets more borrowing, meaning the net interest of our debt could increase.
Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, once stated that our greatest national security threat is our debt. Why did he make that statement? Simple, because the day is coming when the net interest on our debt will be greater than our defense discretionary budget. This means eventually, all federal revenues will go to fund the mandatory side of our federal budget, and all else – the discretionary side of our budget – will have to be borrowed funds. Yes, that means that the day is coming when we will have to borrow money in order to fund our military. Can you imagine the absurdity of going to foreign nations to borrow money to fund our very own military?
Some may say we spend too much on defense, but that is not a true statement. We spend too much on the bureaucracy of our Defense Department. If we were prioritizing properly we would not have 50 percent of our combat aviation fleet non-mission capable, ships running into other ships, an Army that is smaller than pre-9-11 levels, a Marine Corps that is at World War I levels, and four times more troops killed in training incidents (84), than those killed in combat engagements (21) over the past year.
Here is the real solution, Mr. President: it is not about electing more Republicans. It is about having a political philosophy that will right the American fiscal ship that is listing to one side. Yes, the tax cut law is a great thing, but do not fall into the trap as others have – cutting taxes must be coupled with true reforms in government spending and budget practices. How about holding people to account and maintaining a zero-based budget for the federal government, as well as a balanced budget amendment. 49 of 50 states balance their budgets.
Secondly, let’s deal with the budget of the federal government not in these massive spending packages, but in terms used – mandatory, defense discretionary, and non-defense discretionary. We must end this insidious pursuit of holding the number one priority of the federal government – provide for the common defense – hostage by lumping it in with the expansion of massive politicized, ideological domestic spending agendas. And Mr. President, we need to support those who have the courage, wisdom, and discernment to explain to the American people that our mandatory spending is leading us down the road to ruin.
The era of political parties and politicians is drawing to an end. The dawn of principled, resolute, and values-centered American Statesmen is rising.
Allen West is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army. Mr. West is a Senior Fellow at the Media Research Center to support its mission to expose and neutralize liberal media bias.