Government Shutdown Day 14: The status of the “negotiations” or of any resolution of this Government Shutdown/Debt Limit debate is as clear as mud. But, it is becoming crystal clear what each side is really fighting over.
It’s not really about any one bill or any one policy. It is about the things that have separated Democrats and Republicans ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall – taxes, spending, deficits and government control of our lives.
As Democrats have been “feeling their oats” in the last few days due to favorable polling data, you have seen them push for the things they really want. They want the “Sequester” to go away. The “Sequester” is the one thing that has reduced spending in recent years, and they want to see spending go back up. The president said in a meeting with Republicans that he wants more tax increases. This demand has been echoed by a number of his surrogate talking heads over the last few days. And, if you listen carefully when the left acknowledges the problems with ObamaCare, you’ll notice that they say its failings are not because the government has been given too much control over our personal health care decisions. Incredibly, they say that it’s because the government doesn’t have enough. They want full-blown, single-payer socialized medicine.
So what do Republicans want? We want spending to be reduced further by reforming the entitlement programs that all analysts on the left, right and center agree are unsustainable. We want to reduce the tax and control burdens of ObamaCare on the average American and give people more freedom to make their own health care choices and decisions. And, we want to reform the tax code to have lower rates and fewer exemptions and deductions.
None of this is new. Democrats envision a future where the federal government provides for all of us on an equal basis and takes most of our incomes in taxes to do so. That is called socialism. We, Republicans, see a future where the federal government has less and less dictates over our lives and we get to keep more of what we sow. That is called freedom. Democrats don’t really have a problem with deficits as the price for the “fairness” that their future world promises. Republicans believe that deficits will weaken the country substantially and must be reduced over time.
President Obama doesn’t like the fact that periodic spending authorizations and debt limit increases give us the opportunity to try and grow freedom. He would like the unfettered ability to impose more socialism for the remaining 3 years of his presidency without us getting in the way. We want to use our leverage to try and make some gains, no matter how small, towards our freedom objective. That is why this battle has gone on so long and is so bitter. Both sides believe passionately in the righteousness of their respective missions, and there is no middle ground. You either spend more or less. You either tax more or less. You either require that people get permission from a federal bureaucrat before they do something more often or less often.
At this point, I think it’s clear that neither side will come out of this with a huge gain in either direction. But, from the Republican perspective, we can’t afford to lose any ground. Whenever we give up freedom to a new federal dictate, it rarely gets returned to the people.
We will fight on. Until tomorrow, drive fast and live free.