Establishment in Panic
by Patrick J. Buchanan: Is
a U.S. Default Inevitable?
to accept tax increases in a deal to raise the debt ceiling, Republicans
are behaving like "fanatics," writes David Brooks of The New
"have no sense of moral decency," he adds.
They are "willing
to stain their nation's honor" to "worship their idol." If this
"deal of the century" goes down, as he calls the Barack Obama offer,
"Republican fanaticism" will be the cause.
"The GOP has
become a cult" that has replaced reason with "feverish" and "cockamamie
beliefs," writes Richard Cohen of The Washington Post. The
Republican "presidential field (is) a virtual political Jonestown,"
the Guyana site where more than 900 followers of the Peoples Temple
drank the Kool-Aid that Rev. Jim Jones mixed for them.
think this an appropriate description of such mild-mannered men
as Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman?
Hezbollah Wing Is Now Fully in Control," screams The New Republic
over a recent lead editorial.
charge the GOP with holding America "hostage" by refusing to accept
tax hikes to avert a default on the debt.
What to make
of this hysteria?
is in a panic. It has been jolted awake to the realization that
the GOP House, if it can summon the courage to use it, is holding
a weapon that could enable it to bridle forever the federal monster
that consumes 25 percent of gross domestic product.
To bully and
blackmail the GOP into surrendering the weapon and betraying its
principles and signing on to new taxes, that establishment has unleashed
rhetoric more befitting a war on terror than a political dispute.
For how, exactly,
are Republicans threatening the republic?
The House has
not said it will not raise the debt ceiling. It must and will. It
has not said it will not accept budget cuts. It has indicated a
willingness to accept the budget cuts agreed to in the Biden negotiations.
Where the GOP
has stood its ground is on tax increases.
behind this stance? Does this manifest insanity? How does this imperil
the nation's honor and future?
GOP opposition to tax hikes is the party's word given to the country
that elected it in 2010, its political principles, its traditional
view of what not to do when the nation is in a slump, and party
Fully 235 Republican
House members signed a 2010 pledge not to raise taxes. And by giving
their word they were rewarded with victory.
now dishonor that pledge, what would differentiate them from George
H.W. Bush, who famously promised in 1988: "Read my lips! No new
taxes!" then went back on his word and took the party down to defeat
GOP is the party of small government and low taxes.
Why would it
agree to raise taxes on the private productive sector when federal
spending, now at a peacetime record of 25 percent of GDP, is the
is in a slump, with 9 percent of the workforce unemployed, another
7 percent underemployed and the economy growing at a tepid 1.8 percent.
of economic thought – Keynesian, supply-side or monetarist – says
raising taxes in a slumping economy is the recipe for a return to
prosperity? There is no such school.
Why, when the
whole country is talking about the need to create jobs, would Congress
raise taxes on a private productive sector that employs six in seven
Americans and is the creator of real jobs?
In 1982, President
Reagan agreed to the same deal being offered the party today: three
dollars in spending cuts for every dollar in tax increases to which
he assented. As he ruefully told this writer more than once, he
was lied to. He got one dollar in spending cuts for every three
in tax increases.
What of the
charge that the Republican House is holding America hostage, blackmailing
the nation with a suicidal threat to throw us all into national
default if it does not get its way?
is the precise opposite of the truth.
Party has not said it will refuse to raise the debt ceiling. It
has an obligation to do so, and will.
The House has
simply said it will not accept new taxes on a nation whose fiscal
crisis comes from overspending.
the GOP keeps its word, raises the debt ceiling and accepts budget
cuts agreed to in the Biden negotiations, the only people who can
prevent the debt ceiling's being raised are Senate Democrats or
Obama, in which case, they, not the GOP, will have thrown the nation
It is the establishment
that is resorting to extortion, saying, in effect, to the House
GOP: Give us the new taxes we demand, or Obama will veto the debt
ceiling and we will all blame you for the default.
The GOP should
stand its ground – and fix bayonets.
J. Buchanan [send
him mail] is co-founder and editor of The
American Conservative. He is also the author of seven books,
the Right Went Wrong, and A
Republic Not An Empire. His latest book is Churchill,
Hitler, and the Unnecessary War. See his
© 2011 Creators Syndicate
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