Lame-duck, Belt­way-elite abom­i­na­tion

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

Con­ser­vatism and re­spon­si­ble govern­ment won a re­sound­ing vic­tory in Novem­ber’s elec­tions, and yet just a month later, we’re wit­ness­ing leg­isla­tive ar­ro­gance on a scale you wouldn’t ex­pect if vot­ers had rat­i­fied the rul­ing class’ sprint to­ward na­tional bank­ruptcy. Can you imag­ine how it would be act­ing if it hadn’t re­ceived a “shel­lack­ing”?

It seems that Washington is em­brac­ing all the prin­ci­ples and prac­tices the vot­ers soundly re­jected, with­out the slight­est in­di­ca­tion it ei­ther re­ceived the mes­sage or cares. Are we see­ing any ev­i­dence of greater trans­parency, a re­jec­tion of ear­marks, bud­getary re­straint or leg­isla­tive de­lib­er­a­tion?

To me, it looks more like de­fi­ance from lame-duck Belt­way elites who have again cre­ated a false cli­mate of ur­gency to pres­sure dis­united and dis­or­ga­nized op­po­nents to make dam­ag­ing con­ces­sions that are not worth what they’re re­ceiv­ing in re­turn.

There is no real ur­gency here, and those say­ing oth­er­wise are cry­ing wolf. This is the first Congress in the his­tory of the bud­get process that failed even to vote on a bud­get for the next year.

They’ve known all along this moment was com­ing.

On the om­nibus spend­ing bill, they can still pass a con­tin­u­ing res­o­lu­tion for an­other three months and avert a govern­ment shut­down.

There is no ex­cuse for them to be leg­is­lat­ing from the po­lit­i­cal grave a full year be­yond the date con­gres­sional con­trol changes hands.

It’s out­ra­geous they would even try it, and it’s dis­cour­ag­ing that Repub­li­cans are con­sid­er­ing be­ing rolled like this.

This bill vi­o­lates ev­ery con­ceiv­able man­date the vot­ers is­sued in Novem­ber, in­clud­ing a bill too long and com­plex even to read, let alone di­gest, in this ar­ti­fi­cially ac­cel­er­ated time frame. It con­tains al­most 7,000 ear­marks, to­tal­ing some $8 bil­lion, and in­cludes egre­gious new spend­ing pro­vi­sions that con­sti­tute an­other mon­u­men­tal slap in the face to an elec­torate that em­phat­i­cally said “no” to fur­ther deficit spend­ing.

And it’s not just the spend­ing bill. Just con­sider the other im­por­tant bills they are also try­ing to shove through in cri­sis mode, which has now been firmly es­tab­lished as the de­fault leg­isla­tive mode. We’re told they had to pass the fol­low­ing mea­sures quickly, lest the world come to an end:

A so-called tax bill full of ex­tra­ne­ous pro­vi­sions that is be­ing mar­keted as a tax cut for the wealthy when it is not a cut at all, but an ex­ten­sion of ex­ist­ing rates, and is not just for the “wealthy” (who aren’t all wealthy), but for all in­come groups. Not be­ing a “cut,” but a con­tin­u­a­tion of ex­ist­ing rates, it would not “cost” a dime.

But if the lin­guis­tic dis­torters in­sist on say­ing it would “cost,” then they must ac­knowl­edge that the bulk of the cost would come from con­tin­u­ing the rates for all other in­come groups, a fact that’s too in­con­ve­nient for the left to con­cede be­cause it doesn’t fit their tem­plate of de­mo­niz­ing the “wealthy.” Plus, the rate ex­ten­sions would only con­tinue for two years, in­ject­ing great un­cer­tainty into an al­ready un­sta­ble econ­omy and work­ing against en­tre­pre­neur­ial in­vest­ment and eco­nomic growth. The bill also would re­in­state the es­tate tax and fur­ther ex­tend un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits in the name of com­pas­sion, with no one mak­ing the case that it’s not com­pas­sion­ate to im­ple­ment poli­cies that do more harm than good by ex­ac­er­bat­ing un­em­ploy­ment and re­tard­ing eco­nomic growth.

An enor­mously im­por­tant arms deal with the Rus­sians known as New START, which they rushed through with­out full and thor­ough hear­ings. De­spite sup­port for the treaty, many trou­bling is­sues re­main, such as ver­i­fi­a­bil­ity and im­pli­ca­tions for con­ven­tional war­fare.

Also, the dan­ger­ously volatile North Korean and Ira­nian regimes are not af­fected, and there is am­bi­gu­ity over the treaty’s lan­guage con­cern­ing mis­sile de­fense.

There are dis­crep­an­cies be­tween the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s and Rus­sia’s in­ter­pre­ta­tions, and the ad­min­is­tra­tion re­fuses to clear those up by re­leas­ing its ne­go­ti­at­ing records. Some have pointed out that the pro­posed treaty is a prod­uct of this ad­min­is­tra­tion’s fun­da­men­tally flawed ap­proach to arms con­trol, in that it is based on the goal of global nu­clear dis­ar­ma­ment when even the Con­gres­sional Com­mis­sion on the Strate­gic Pos­ture of the United States says the global elim­i­na­tion of nukes is not presently pos­si­ble.

This is no way to con­duct the nation’s busi­ness, ever, but es­pe­cially not when the over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of the peo­ple sent a clear sig­nal they’d had enough of such reck­less­ness. Those who fear back­lash to the GOP from an­other per­ceived GOP-caused govern­ment shut­down are mis­read­ing the elec­torate’s mood.

This process is out of con­trol, and it’s time for Repub­li­cans to slam on the brakes. Now. Enough is enough.

David Lim­baugh’s new book is “Crimes Against Lib­erty”.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.