That’s what former Reagan Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director David Stockman called Paul Ryan’s budget agreement with Senate Democrat Patty Murray. The fiscally irascible Stockman should not be the only one unnerved by Ryan’s duplicity. The fait accompli debt deal eliminates sequestration driven defense cuts, lifts spending caps, and promises to make up for it somewhere down the road? The silver lining—no new taxes—another poorly conceived tactical defeat where we get nothing for something, courtesy of your Republican Party.
Sometimes the line between compromise and capitulation is narrow, but not this time. Reeling from the unpopular Tea Party forced government shutdown in October, the GOP leadership has officially turned its back on the Movement that put them in power. They have shown their true colors (certainly not red) and surrendered to the spend today damn tomorrow Libs.
The significance is clear as day. There will be no more budget showdowns, no more fanged initiatives for real cuts, no more attempts at meaningful reform, at least not from the GOP. A defensive House Speaker admonishes us, “Listen, if you are for deficit reduction, you are for this agreement.” Representative Tom Cole (R-OK) added further, “You can’t spend your time making perfect the enemy of good.” Translation, we have given up and so should you.
I guess they forgot telling’s not selling. In the big picture we all know how this ends: fiscal collapse, bankruptcy, default, Greece, or any other synonym for catastrophe that comes to mind. We have all heard the cynical phrase, “Kick the can down the road.” But, for how much longer can we “extend and pretend” before we run out of road.
The answer is fast approaching. The real economy, local and global, is in poor condition, and things are getting worse despite empty euphoria about soaring stock prices. Former banker Satyajit Das conveys the unpopular truth:
“There is a growing gap between financial markets and real economic activity, between the 1% who continue to gain from the current environment and the 99% whose economic fortunes have declined, and between the promises of policy makers and the economic reality.”
When small gaps between real and perceived become chasms disaster strikes. Eventually, the short term is overtaken by the long term and reality destroys fantasy. This phenomenon is already working against Obama, once the inspiring icon to the gullible, now a Potemkin to the disillusioned. It will soon act against the GOP, whom, like the Left, now conflates doing what is popular with doing what is right.
The entitlement state is dying. Instead of broadcasting that message and advocating reforms to confront its inevitability, Republicans have opted to rejoin the party on the Titanic. They will not be rewarded for doing so.
For those steadfastly opposed to building a new party, it is time to rethink that position. Over 60% of Americans now say there is a need for a third party because both major parties are out of touch, the most ever according to Gallup. For those already in the Tea Party Movement, it is time to think bigger and aim higher.
Cameron Macgregor is a former Naval Officer and USNA graduate. He is currently a graduate student at George Mason University.