Author, investment broker and media personality Peter Schiff has a new article out carried by LRC which points out that ‘the goalposts have moved’ in the debate over balancing the Federal budget and cutting the size of government. As Mr Schiff points out, the Republicans are highly defensive about their own extremely modest plans which do little to nothing to cut the size of government. Meanwhile, the Democrats attack them fiercely for allegedly (but not actually) ‘slashing’ popular government programs. All the while, the deficit grows and nothing constructive gets done. Schiff writes:
For much of the past few generations, the debate over balancing the federal budget has been a central feature of every presidential campaign. But over time, the goalposts have moved. As the amount of red ink has grown steadily larger, the suggested time frames to restore balance have gotten increasingly longer, while the suggested cuts in government spending have gotten increasingly shallower. In recent years, talk of balancing the budget gave way to vague promises such as “cutting the deficit in half in five years.” In the current campaign, however, it appears as if the goalposts have been moved so far that they are no longer in the field of play. I would argue that they are completely out of the stadium.
It says a great deal about where we are that the symbolic budget plan proposed last year by Congressman Paul Ryan, the newly minted vice presidential nominee, has created such outrage among democrats and caution among republicans. The Obama campaign warns that the Ryan budget is a recipe for national disaster that will pad the coffers of the wealthy while damning the majority of Americans to perpetual poverty. The plan is apparently so radical that even the Romney campaign, while embracing the messenger, is distancing itself from the message (it appears that Romney wants to bathe himself in the aura of fresh thinking without actually offering any fresh thoughts). In interview after interview, both Romney and Ryan refuse to discuss the details of Ryan’s budget while slamming Obama for his callous “cuts” in Medicare spending.
Schiff’s point is valid. Not only does the GOP fail to offer a real solution to the budget problems of the Federal Government, its foreign policy agenda drives the US further into debt by pushing wars of choice overseas that are covered with more borrowing from Asia. Though some Republicans may be reluctant to admit it, their party (especially at the leadership level) is part of the problem. Given the facts that 1) neither party really wishes to cut the size and power of the Federal Government and 2) the demographic transition of the US into a largely Third World country will continue to put more pressure on social spending and bring about a one-party government at the Federal level in the near future, it is logical to conclude that nothing will be done about the debt problem. We can expect larger budgets in the coming years, not spending cuts. We can eventually expect either significant tax increases or juiced up money-printing and inflation as a more politically viable alternative. And, if we take a look at what such policies have led to in places like Latin America and Europe, the results we can expect are clear as well.