Expectation versus reality. It’s the divide that drives a stake in the heart of the liberal ideology, a worldview which seems so ideal and obvious when discussed over chai tea in a dusty, smoke-filled faculty lounge in nearly any institution of learning throughout the United States, yet so woefully and dangerously inadequate when tested by the problems and pitfalls of the real, outside world.
Liberals, for example, expect that their detente-at-all-costs approach to foreign policy will be enough to establish good faith and bring nothing but peace and conciliatory dialogue from those who wake up every morning from dreams of our destruction. It’s why former President Jimmy “Dhimmi” Carter feels so comfortable in the warm embrace of Hamas leadership. It’s why President Barack Obama can justify sending $900 million to rebuild the lives and infrastructure of people who, just months before, were lobbing rockets at innocent Israeli women and children. But the reality is quite different — the divide between good and evil dwarfs, by far, the divide between expectation and reality and, in the end, evil is still evil and will always manifest itself as such.
Of course, the same divide between expectation and reality can be seen in the Democratic party’s approach to our current economic downturn, a bona-fide crisis brought about by the complete and total abandonment of fiscal restraint, responsibility and accountability by everyone from the back hallways and closed offices of Capitol Hill to the kitchen tables of Main Street America. Liberals expect that, somehow, we can spend our way out of a crisis of debt and encumbrance, but in reality similar Keynesian approaches to economic difficulty have never worked in the past.
Today, we learned that the American gross domestic product decreased much more than had been originally projected, and the same divide has presented itself once again. The government expected that the GDP would drop by about 3.8 percent when, in reality, it dropped by 6.2 percent.
This calls into question the very foundation of the plan for our economic recovery put forth by President Obama and the Democratic party leadership. How will that vast divide between expectation and reality affect the assumed numbers figured into the 2009 budget, the next bill, the next move made by an already over-bloated federal government? We already see, after all, that Obama has accounted for the aftereffects of increased taxes on the wealthiest Americans as savings rather than revenue, and that the president’s budget flunkies expect the Iraq War to be fought in perpetuity at the cost of $170 billion per year in their claims to save money by drawing down forces, when in reality the forces would be drawn down anyway due to the success of the Petraeus surge, and that much of the money no longer spent in Iraq will be needed in Afghanistan.
The president’s numbers are wrong, his math is fuzzy, and it all comes back to that divide between expectation and reality. Until we face reality first rather than acting on idyllic liberal expectation, those ideas carefully crafted over the past four decades and honed during the last 14 years, we will be doomed to fail as a nation. Until we face reality first, any expectations are as uncertain as the changing winds.
The reality, North Carolina Congressman Walter Jones told America’s Right yesterday, is that “this government has a spending problem.” We have a crisis of fiscal restraint and responsibility which, left unchecked, could present large problems for future generations of Americans.
“Unless and until this administration and this Congress rein in their ravenous appetite for borrowing money from the Chinese in order to fund their pet programs,” Jones said, “this nation’s fiscal situation will continue to spiral out of control.”
As of today, however, there is no sign of any such sea change on Capitol Hill. Three days ago, despite promises of earmark reform by presidential candidate Barack Obama and promises by President-elect Barack Obama to “hold . . . leaders accountable for wasteful spending,” the House of Representatives approved a $410 billion appropriations bill loaded with more than 9,000 earmarks totaling $7.3 billion. In fact, in the past two weeks alone, our elected officials in Washington, D.C. have spent or committed to spend more than two trillion dollars.
And this isn’t a Democrat problem. This isn’t a Republican problem. This is an American problem. This is a problem because the vast majority of Americans have lost touch with, taken for granted, forgotten or simply ignored the ideas and ideals and values and principles from which our founders built this representative republic. Limited government. Fiscal restraint. Accountable leadership. It’s all been forgotten.
Instead, we have a culture more comfortable opening their palms for a handout rather than rolling up their sleeves and getting to work — and we have a power-hungry federal government more than happy to accommodate the growing addiction to the appurtenances of the growing welfare state. Over and beyond the problems inherent to a country on the dole, one problem is that our government may be willing to exponentially expand its scope, but it is not able. That’s where nations like China and the United Arab Emirates come in.
We are mortgaging the futures of our children and grandchildren under the false and fraudulent pretense that we can somehow borrow and print our way out of trouble, said Congressman Jones at one point during his first conversation, about a month ago, with America’s Right. “This mentality of ‘throw money at it’ — it won’t work,” he said. “You cannot buy your way into prosperity. It just cannot happen. And at some point in time, the severity of the problems facing America will get so bad that we’ll understand that we shouldn’t be taking care of the world. Sending jobs overseas, free trade stuff, it needs to stop.”
“It’s not fair to younger generations of Americans,” Jones said. “Jeff, you sound like a young guy, many of the people on my staff are younger — well, this money is going to have to be paid back eventually, or else China and the U.A.E. may end up saying ‘no,’ saying that they don’t want our paper anymore. We’re saddling our future generations with the consequences of bad decisions made today.”
Those bad decisions, of course, inevitably include the idea that we can raise taxes on the wealthiest two percent of Americans without downhill, adverse consequences affecting everyone else, that somehow the middle and lower class will be immune to the aftereffects of an increased tax burden on those who develop businesses, create jobs, invest in industry, and drive the American economy. In 2006, the wealthiest two percent of Americans shouldered a whopping 62 percent of the total tax burden, while the top one percent accounted for 40 percent of the total federal income tax revenue. Going by numbers for fiscal year 2007, Barack Obama’s new budget works out to be about $25,500 per taxpayer.
We simply cannot sustain that, and raising taxes is no way to foster economic growth. Rather than fight the liberal expectation that, somehow, further burdening the engine of the American economy will somehow allow for forward progress, we need to confront the reality that the heart of the problem is our addiction to maintaining a lifestyle far beyond our means. Alabama Congressman [and fellow Auburn University alum] Spencer Bachus, in a statement made yesterday to America’s Right, seems to agree.
“Raising taxes is the worst thing to do in a recession,” Bachus said. “It’s the private sector, not the government, that will ultimately drive our economic recovery. What the government should do is stop the borrowing and spending that got us into this problem in the first place, and let families and businesses keep more of their hard-earned money so they can spend it as they see fit.”
If there is any good news, it’s that liberals also expect that the rest of us will see the wisdom in their misdeeds, that we will capitulate and succumb to the idea that government really does know best. They expect that their monopoly on the mainstream media and the effusiveness of the president will be enough to ensure power in perpetuity. The reality, however, is that we are going to prove them wrong.
So long as we can “get our act together,” said former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton at CPAC yesterday, “[Obama] will be a one-termer.” I agree, and I’m going to take it a step further:
As the current leadership in Washington continues to take America down this path to socialism, mediocrity and collective misery, conservatives from coast to coast will awaken and realize once again the merits of the movement. So long as we continue to focus our efforts on honing and disseminating the message of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, so long as we revert to the principles of limited government with which our founders established this nation, we will begin the resurgence in 2010, not 2012.
The reality for conservatives is that we are the underdog. Those on the left are better organized, more efficient, and have only begun to undermine our freedom and countermand our principles. There’s a reason, after all, that they have a community organizer for a president. As of right now, they’re better in the streets than we are, better with a megaphone, better at a microphone. If we can turn the tables, however, if we can learn from the mistakes we’ve made and understand how we were beaten, the expectations for conservatives–and for America–are immeasurable.