Quote of the Day–Marco Rubio debt ceiling edition
Write it off to me being cynical about what any politician says, but while I like what I hear from Rubio in this WSJ op/ed, I wonder if, in fact, he’ll end up sticking to his guns:
Americans have built the single greatest nation in all of human history. But America’s exceptionalism was not preordained. Every generation has had to confront and solve serious challenges and, because they did, each has left the next better off. Until now.
Our generation’s greatest challenge is an economy that isn’t growing, alongside a national debt that is. If we fail to confront this, our children will be the first Americans ever to inherit a country worse off than the one their parents were given.
Current federal policies make it harder for job creators to start and grow businesses. Taxes on individuals are complicated and set to rise in less than two years. Corporate taxes will soon be the highest in the industrialized world. Federal agencies torment job creators with an endless string of rules and regulations.
So to summarize, Rubio sees a need to find ways to help the economy grow and to keep the national debt from not growing. Okay, sold. Next he sees existing federal policies – those, one assumes, include taxes and regulations – as one of the main obstacles to economic growth and one of the main contributors to national debt. Again, check. I think, in the main, he’s right.
Here’s the QotD:
We’re therefore at a defining moment in American history. In a few weeks, we will once again reach our legal limit for borrowing, the so-called debt ceiling. The president and others want to raise this limit. They say it is the mature, responsible thing to do.
In fact, it’s nothing more than putting off the tough decisions until after the next election. We cannot afford to continue waiting. This may be our last chance to force Washington to tackle the central economic issue of our time.
Well yes and no. The defining moment in American history seems to arrive every couple of years when Congress routinely raises the limit again and again. We’re now at a level that almost matches the yearly GDP with no end in sight if you look at the projected budgets for the next 10 years. So is this particular vote on the debt ceiling really a “defining moment in American history”? Only if Congress refuses to raise it. Otherwise, it is business as usual.
Wit ill it be business as usual or a “defining moment in American history”? I agree with Rubio that as it stands Congress and the president have obviously decided covertly that they’re not going to “tackle the central economic issue of our time” at the moment. So where does that leave Rubio?
Well, here’s his position:
I will vote to defeat an increase in the debt limit unless it is the last one we ever authorize and is accompanied by a plan for fundamental tax reform, an overhaul of our regulatory structure, a cut to discretionary spending, a balanced-budget amendment, and reforms to save Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
No tax reform, regulatory overhaul, cuts to discretionary spending, balanced budget amendment as well as reforms to save Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, no Rubio “yes” vote?
That’s what his statement says to me and anyone familiar with the “goings on” in Congress know -given Rubio’s list of “must haves” before he’d vote “yes” – it is a virtual impossibility. Not going to happen – at least not anytime soon.
I would then deduce that Rubio is a permanent “no” on any legislation coming along in oh, the next 20 years, that raises the debt ceiling. Because, watching politics in Washington for all these years has convinced me that until it all crashes and burns, those folks aren’t going to really do a thing.
And I think Rubio knows it too:
Whether they admit it or not, everyone in Washington knows how to solve these problems. What is missing is the political will to do it.
I’ve seen no indicator that there is now a real will to do it, even after the wave election washed over 60 Republican freshmen into the House and upped the minority numbers for the GOP in the Senate. Oh there’s talk, of course, but I see the usual turf protection and re-election concerns already beginning to cloud the once clear mandate that said “fix this mess”. I see knees becoming weak and spines beginning to buckle.
Rubio stakes out a pretty unambiguous position here – not that I think he’s going to be able to stop the debt ceiling from being raised. On the contrary, I think we’ll see it raised many more times in the coming years. But I’m wondering how true Rubio will remain to his pledge here. It will be an interesting exercise to watch a supposedly principle driven and incorruptible Tea Party candidate work in the atmosphere of Washington DC that almost demands “team play” and compromise to “get along” or advance. He and Rand Paul, along with Allen West (R-FL) in the House are my “white mice” in this Tea Party experiment. I want to see how true they stay to their pledges, how well they resist the Washington gravitational pull and resultant sell-out that usually occurs.
I, for once, hope my cynicism isn’t rewarded as it usually is.