NYT Leaves Out Debt Record of 111th Congress
In a February 16, 2010 article entitled “Party Gridlock in Washington Feeds Fear of a Debt Crisis”, New York Times reporter Jackie Calmes erroneously suggests that Congress’ lack of ability to address the national debt is due to “(t)he unwillingness of the two parties to compromise.”
While it is true that Republicans have hardly been in the mood to work with Democrats to pass major legislation, that position has been precisely because every measure brought forward by Democrats, from health care “reform” to cap-and-trade to “jobs” bills will add to the national debt.
The part of the federal budget which is most responsible for bankrupting the nation is entitlement spending. Yet President Obama specifically excluded those programs from his so-called “spending freeze” which he proposed in his State of the Union address to begin in 2011. Where should Republicans find room for “compromise” when the leader of the Democratic Party says that the most important part of the fiscal problem is off limits for reform?
Just a week ago, Democrats passed “pay-go” rules which theoretically require Congress to find spending reductions to match any new spending. But even the non-partisan magazine The Hill points out that “The ink is barely dry on the pay-as-you-go law, and Democrats are seeking to bypass it to enact parts of their job-creation agenda.” In particular, Democrats are arguing that unemployment benefits and health insurance subsidies are “emergency” spending which should not be covered by the pay-go rules. Republicans see through the farce, such as Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) who quipped “They continue to claim some sort of fiscal discipline … when in fact they basically keep spending money like drunken sailors.”
In the same way that fiscal responsibility or rational compromise isn’t defined as buying your teenager a $50,000 car when she wanted a $60,000 car, Ms. Calmes claim that the explosion of our national debt would be less if only Republicans would “compromise” with Democrats is plainly false.