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    Principles over Compromises: Oppose Speaker Boehner’s Debt-Ceiling Plan

    07/28/2011

    With the Obama administration’s phony debt-limit deadline just five days away, all eyes remain fixed on the ongoing debate in Washington. Per usual, nearly all members of the party in power support raising the debt ceiling with no strings attached while most in the minority party do not. The debt ceiling has been raised ten times in just the past decade with both parties playing political games. The Republican Party fell to minority status in 2006 after all but two Republican senators voted for raising the debt ceiling—every single Democratic senator voted against the debt hike. The sad truth is that most politicians care more about being loyal to their party’s leadership rather than standing on principle.

    Earlier this week, Speaker Boehner released his compromised debt-ceiling plan which violates the Cut, Cap and Balance Pledge because it neither cuts, caps nor balances federal spending. To put it mildly, his sell-out plan does nothing to address our long-term fiscal problems. FreedomWorks has never been afraid to break with Republican leadership when they are wrong. During the Bush administration, we stood strong against TARP, the auto bailouts, Medicare Part D, Bush’s “stimulus” package and so forth. And today we’re making a principled stance against Speaker Boehner’s debt-ceiling plan.

    We’re not going to throw in the towel. Unfortunately, some so-called fiscal conservatives claim that the Boehner plan is simply the “best we can do.” Just because the Democrats happen to control the Senate and the White House isn’t a good enough reason to wave the white flag of surrender. As Ron Paul says, "let it not be said that no one cared, that no one objected once it's realized that our wealth and liberty are in jeopardy. Let it not be said that we did nothing."

    Many economists agree that an economic collapse is on the horizon if we do not put up a fight to rein in out-of-control spending. It’s an absurd notion to think that a vote against Boehner's bill is a vote for President Obama's "plan". Those who criticize our principled position have fallen for the White House’s scare tactics. The apocalypse isn’t going to happen on August 2nd even if we don’t raise the debt ceiling.

    The Boehner plan will bring our national debt up to $23 trillion (instead of $24 trillion) over the next ten years—if all the spending cuts come to fruition. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Speaker’s proposal will allegedly cut $917 billion over the next decade—which is less than this year’s budget deficit alone. But as Cato Institute scholar Chris Edwards mentions, “the ‘cuts’ in the Boehner plan are only cuts from the CBO baseline, which is an assumed path of constantly rising spending. If Congress wanted to, it could require CBO to increase its ‘baseline’ spending by, say, $5 trillion over the next decade. Then Boehner could claim that he was ‘cutting’ spending by $5.9 trillion, even though his plan hadn’t changed. You can see that discretionary ‘cuts’ against baselines don’t mean anything.”

    We should also remember that these are promised "cuts" and absolutely nothing is stopping a future Congress from disregarding them. What are the chances that all of these pledged cuts will materialize in ten years' time? Slim to none if history is any indication. As the famous quote from Tyron Edward goes, “compromise is but the sacrifice of one right or good in the hope of retaining another—too often ending in the loss of both.”

    Let us remember what happened in the 1980’s. President Reagan reluctantly agreed to a debt ceiling hike in exchange for spending cuts and no tax increases in 1987. The Democrats didn’t quite hold up their end of the deal. Instead of the promised spending cuts, all we got was massive tax hikes. We should not repeat history by falling for the same shenanigans over and over again.

    It’s time to draw a line in the sand. On which side do you stand: principles or compromises?

    Take action here.