With the Federal Reserve now monetizing our $14T debt, it is clear we are on the morning of a major economic downtown with high probabilities of hyperinflation, a downgraded of our bond rating, and/or removal of the dollar as being the world's reserve currency. Any one of these three threats would cause a greater financial disaster than the current recession we have; all three are well on their way to becoming reality. This crisis was caused by individual members and leaders of both parties in Congress over decades of undisciplined spending and earmarks, and of recent note includes signatures on bills from both Presidents Bush and Obama.
Spending Cuts: The Only Solution to Our Debt Crisis
No longer is terrorism my foremost concern for the defense of our country: it is instead the defense of our economic system which can ONLY be resolved through massive spending reduction. Democrats might agree on principles that the debt is a threat, but more often than not their solution is to raise taxes. My counter is that the population is already overtaxed and historically governments have been overthrown for less taxation than we are already suffering. Additionally, both Republicans and Democrats have proved time after time that increased taxation is a "green light" for them to increase spending. This would only exacerbate the problem.
So we must cut. We have to cut everything if we are to have any chance late in this fourth quarter of avoiding looming economic disaster. Entitlements including Social Security and Medicare, defense spending, earmarks, and even petty things like Obama's staff and innumerable czars have to take net hits. Fresh-faced Republicans in the 112th Congress get it and have proposed $2.5T in cuts over 10 years. This is a superb start and so much better than the spending spree of the Democrats, yet hardly enough to balance the budget or avert financialgeddon. I support these cuts, but demand more--much more. We must balance the budget within four years like McCain promised during the 2008 debates (NY Times transcript).
While the House is on to the gig, the Senate is way behind. And the finger must be pointed at fiscal liberals who have helped create this disaster--and that includes our current Senator Orrin Hatch. I have already documented that Hatch has contributed to the problem through his prolific earmarking (see "Hatch Opposes His Own Earmarks", "Hatch Proposes UTOPIA Bailout", Dec 2010).
Hatch's FCINO Record
When Hatch was sworn into office in January 1977, our entire national debt was a mere $0.6T (publicdebt.treas.gov, Wikipedia)--less that the widely-unsuccessful spending aka "stimulus" bill passed in 2009 to defibrillate our economy. Currently the national debt stands over 20 times greater at $14T. By no means is Hatch singlehandedly responsible for this debt, yet the impression of many a Republican in Utah is that Hatch has tried to stem the inevitable tide of Democratic Big Government. If that were true, I'd argue that given 34 years, Hatch has been pretty ineffective in averting economic disaster and we should pass the reigns to another.
Instead of being the chief scissors-operator some GOP Utahns believe he his, Hatch has been hiding his spending ways to his constituency behind his FCINO Demon Sheep clothing (Campaign Ad, Carly Fiorina 2010). Take as evidence the Political Courage Test sponsored by the non-partisan, non-profit Project Vote Smart (PVS): Hatch refuses to participate to let us know where he stands.
"Senator Orrin G. Hatch repeatedly refused to provide any responses to citizens on issues through the 2006 National Political Awareness Test." (PVS, Issues Positions)
If Hatch were a fiscal conservative, then to a Utah electorate he should be unafraid to tout his fiscal conservancy and ideas for cutting the budget to reduce the deficit. Hatch's problem is that he's a fiscal liberal who won't find major areas of the budget to cut. This is evidenced by Hatch's response to the PVS "Presidential Election 2000 National Political Awareness Test" where he did reveal his fiscal preferences.
The 2000 PVS Test1 questioned candidates on 13 areas of the budget asking them to identify on a five-point scale from "greatly decrease" to "greatly increase" where they stood with funding. Hatch's revealing answers to this test precluded a single area of the budget for cuts. (Orrin Hatch, 2000 PVS Test Responses) Indeed, coupled with areas of desired fiscal expansion, Hatch's responses would be indicative of an expansion of the budget, not a retraction. In further support of this claim, the PVS Test gave Hatch an opportunity to list "Other" areas of the budget he could elaborate on response and Hatch declined to do so, thus leaving the foregone conclusion that Hatch wanted to increase the budget, a tenant of fiscal liberalism.
The Balanced Budget Amendment: Hatch's Signature Sheep's Cloth
Hatch's signature sheep's cloth is his longstanding support for a Balanced Budget Amendment. While such is a commendable good start and one I support, as evidenced above Hatch has long ignored his own constitutional budget duties to walk the talk and pass responsible budgets within the current scope of the constitution. If the answer to Congressional spending relies uniquely upon a Balanced Budget Amendment as Hatch's record points to, I predict fiscal failure for our country before we get around to it. Hatch has been trying fairly unabatedly for the past three decades to get it through Congress--including a time when Republicans held majorities in both houses. Were even Congressional passage to occur, 3/4 of the states would still have to pass--a process historically taking years at best.
Hatch's support for the Amendment provides what he thinks is cover for his well-documented spending spree and fiscal liberalism. I believe Hatch's sheepskin is rapidly falling off revealing a FCINO to his Utah constituency rightfully panicked by an inescapable debt.
1 As background, in 2000 our national debt stood at a breathtaking $5T: to any professed fiscal conservative this is a massive, multi-bell alarm to cut spending, a firestorm out of control.