(This article was
written as the debt ceiling debate was occurring in Congress in October,
2013. The rancor and confrontation that was being directed at the
conservatives in Congress was offered not as substance but to deflect
substantive actions and debate from taking place. These intentional diversions, in
order to remove effective and honest debate, were masking the real issues.)
Reagan noted, “I am not worried about the deficit—it is big enough to
take care of itself.” Reagan,
with his usual wit, made his meaning clear; if we do not address the debt
and keep it within our control, outside forces (the market where our debt is
sold and that will not loan money it does not feel will be repaid) will
control our world and our destiny. In
2011 we had a glimpse of the path towards insolvency in the first-ever
lowering of the U.S.’s credit rating.
Another downgrade is again in the news.
the liberals espouse that government can and should spend unendingly, while
hoping they will be the political beneficiaries of these actions (true thus
far), a belief that government is the answer to all circumstances is
fostered in those who now rely on handouts instead of themselves. These
emotional and dystopian actions rule the airwaves as the liberal class fails
to exercise any fiscal integrity, or even voice any limits on involuntary
charity paid by citizens to citizens.
see two things: first, that the political battle is about helping people, this is the very foundation of American
values; that duty is sacrosanct. They
also recognize the responsibility of those being helped; that without their
participation beyond receiving, a destructive culture of dependency becomes
the only possible result. Second,
the conservatives understand what the markets finally stated in 2011: we
have pushed the payment for what we spend today onto the backs of our
children and grandchildren, and we have pushed too far.
basic question, of how to pay for our cultural foundation, begins as a
Constitutional issue—the House of Representatives is square one, where all
spending bills begin. When
Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S. credit rating in 2011 they
noted: “The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as
America's governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective,
and less predictable…The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default
have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy.”
S&P was chided for their honesty.
surrounding these matters when the next manufactured crisis arrives in
January, 2014 should finally be as honest and lofty as the arguments in
We should not allow the liberals and their sycophant media partners
to invoke bluster about how high-minded they supposedly are, and how low and
mean-spirited they consider conservatives to be because the latter observe
principle and the former see only political opportunity.
If we allow today’s debates to devolve into political righteousness
and gamesmanship, the can of debt, which obviously gets bigger every time
Congress fails to deal with the substance, will roll on down the highway,
all by itself, until it and the nation fall permanently into the sewer of
It is an ultimate act of democracy to deal with the Constitutional
foundation that connects the financing issue with the actual people who pay
for everything. What the public
can do is allow the House of Representatives to advance the debate from its
Constitutional foundation toward solutions that will preserve the long-term
solvency of our country.
The conservatives are beaten up by the press for alleged
obstruction, but their actions are founded in principles that the liberals
and media are doing their best to stop them from voicing. The debt
crisis isn't about just the Affordable Care Act, it is about debt that is
too big to be repaid without changing what
This article first appeared on Townhall.com. It later appeared on other Internet websites.
Tripp is the author of First
Principles: Self-governance in an Open Society and formerly a board
member and officer of the American Conservative Union Foundation.