Guest Writer Thomas Del Beccaro: Never Let a Good Shutdown Go To Waste
President Obama’s man, Rahm Emanuel, was famous for saying never let a good crisis go to waste. Sadly, that was their cue to increase the size of government. Republicans should take the opportunity this government shutdown presents to truly become the reform party while they still have the chance.
Like few other times in our history, Americans today are focused on Big Government and the problems it presents. ObamaCare is already an irretrievable failure – the ultimate government bait and switch. It is not free. It is not universal and people are losing their existing plans. That’s not all of the bad news. Reality is setting in: higher premiums, higher deductibles, less service and extensive job loss.
Keep in mind that, when Congress enacted Social Security and the War on Poverty, those programs paid benefits to remarkably few numbers of Americans at the start. As a result, they garnered less opposition then if they affected every American at the start. ObamaCare, by contrast, is not some start-up program affecting just a few Americans. ObamaCare is having an impact on every American from day one. For most of Americans, ObamaCare either is costing you a job, pushing your job to part-time status, taking away your existing healthcare plan or raising your premiums. True, there are those who are getting coverage for the first time or perhaps lower cost coverage, but the number of those people is far outweighed by those suffering a negative impact.
The problems of big government far exceed ObamaCare. This week, Bloomberg.com reported that the amount of long-term debt of the federal government is $222 trillion dollars. Much of that money has been or will be earmarked for continuing that War on Poverty started in the 1960’s under President Johnson. Of course, poverty is higher now than when the War on Poverty started making what would become trillions in social welfare transfers to date – not to mention that the percentage of people with a job is at a 35 year low.
Simply stated, big government can’t grow the economy and only growing the economy can alleviate poverty and pay down debt. While Americans are focused on the problems of ObamaCare and big government, Republicans should make their case about just that: how to grow the economy, which necessarily includes slimming down the federal government.
Republicans should pass a raft of reform bills between now and the end of this Congressional year. Each bill should target some aspect of government waste or government roadblocks to a growing economy. Passing the bill, however, is only step one.
Once Republicans pass the bill and send it on to Harry Reid and his Big Government Band, Republicans need to take the case for their reforms to the American people. That can’t be done from Washington, D.C. It can only be done where Americans actually live, in their small towns, their assembly halls, on the radio and on their cable TV.
The single biggest mistake Congressional Republicans have made in the last 3 years is not to use their control of the House to control the national agenda. Obama, the inexperienced non-legislator, has no legislative agenda. He is still fighting for a piece of legislation that passed early in his first term. There is a leadership void like few times in Presidential history.
The Republican House should fill that leadership void. They need to take this opportunity and build momentum ahead of the 2014 Congressional elections and the 2016 Presidential election. As they say, “time’s awastin’” and Republicans cannot afford to waste this opportunity.
from the desk of Thomas G. Del Beccaro