Liberals – which includes almost all Democrats – have kept up a steady criticism of the Iraq War, saying that it is passing government debt to our grandchildren.
Their concern for debt being passed to following generations is highly selective. Robert Samuelson of Newsweek in a recent article noted that annual payments for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are 44 percent of government expenditures, and over twice total defense outlays (including the Iraq War, of course). Further, these costs have risen 24 percent above the inflation rate since 2000.
No government costs are as big, or increasing as rapidly, as elderly benefits according to a recent USA Today study.
None of this stops, or even slows down Democrat grandstanding about the horrors of saddling future generations with our debt. However, even as Democrats beat their breasts and gnash their teeth over the immorality of it all, both Hillary and Barack propose huge increases to provide universal health care, which certainly will be far more expensive than their estimates, and both have long lists of targeted tax cuts to benefit their supporters at the expense of other taxpayers.
Taken in total their proposals, including pulling US forces out of Iraq, would not even significantly reduce the growth rate of the deficit, let alone reduce it. Of course, there is also the matter of the Alternative Minimum Tax which both want to eliminate because it is increasingly taxing upper-middle class Democrats and above living in high cost states like California, New York, and Massachusetts.
Rather than cutting the deficit, Clinton and Obama have started a bidding war of who can come up with the most attractive new spending programs. Obama’s latest proposal to top Clinton is to spend $210 billion to create jobs in construction and “environmentally friendly fields.”
President Bush can be rightly criticized for increasing government spending, but Democrats taught him early that no good deed to trim spending would go unpunished. Democrats are willfully ignoring the handwriting on the wall that Medicare is already bankrupt, and Social Security will be in less than a decade. When President Bush tried to do the responsible thing and save Social Security, Democrats spewed righteous indignation, even though many prominent Democrats previously had admitted it was failing rapidly and was already on life support.
Concerning the impossibility of President Bush balancing the budget, Robert Samuelson writes: “The most telling figures in (Bush’s) budget involve his proposal to eliminate or dramatically reduce 151 programs, for savings of $18 billion. That's sixtenths of 1 percent of federal spending. Is that all the White House could find that's worth axing? What's telling, though, is that Congress will probably reject even many of these proposals.”
The simple political calculus is that there is not a natural constituency for cutting budgets, but there is one or more supporting every spending increase. Budget cutting is an abstract concept, but each funded program makes a contribution to filling some group’s desires and is quite tangible. When you ask them if their pet program is really necessary, their truthful answer can always be that there are hundreds of other programs less worthy that should be cut first.
Unfortunately, they are always right, no matter how worthless their program may be in the great scheme of things.
Apparently, if you’re a Liberal, Democrat-supported debt is worthy of being passed on to our grandchildren, and Republican is not, even though our Constitution makes provision for defense-related expenditures and not for social welfare.