Thursday, December 12, 2013

"A Step Backward"

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Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Republican Representative Paul Ryan congratulated and complimented each other for a job well done as they presented what is being called "The Bi-Partisan Budget Act of 2013."

A USA op-ed written by Michael Needham, CEO of Heritage Action for America, isn't as celebratory.

He says, "Unfortunately, the budget agreement struck by Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray is a step backward."

While some are heralding the deal as an indication politicians can put aside their petty differences and achieve something, Needham says, "In coming days, members of Congress will have to explain to their constituents what exactly they have achieved by increasing spending, increasing fees [taxes except in the mind of the politician] and offering up another round of promises waiting to be broken."

These are not "petty differences." Mike Flynn explains why and how the promises of this deal will be broken.

Some are asking if there are any true conservatives left in American politics, except those few who are being skewered by their own Republican Party for being "too conservative."

Ryan said he was "proud of the deal" and Patty Murray said, "I'm very proud to stand here today with Chairman Ryan, to announce we have broken through the partisanship and the gridlock, and reached a bi-partisan compromise that will prevent a government shut down in January."

While partisan beliefs and so-called gridlock may be the ultimate enemy for some, and petty differences for others, there are still some who believe values and principles are more important than bi-partisan politics to keep the government doing what it does.

Mike Flynn with Breitbart News says there are 4 things every one should know about this "deal."

The details of his analysis is in the link above. I recommend you read it. Here's the summary:

1. The Deal increases federal spending.

2. The Deal increases federal revenue through "user fees" rather than taxes. This is a distinction without a difference.

3. Spending cuts will fuel more spending.

4. The pomised deficit reduction will never happen.

There are those, you know their names, who will disagree with this deal, and not vote for it. There will also be those who will make a lot of noise, creating sound bytes for future use back home, then quietly vote for the deal in the spirit of bi-partisanship.

Flynn says:

The budget document says these savings will be achieved by "requiring the President to sequester the same percentage of mandatory budgetary resources in 2022 and 2023 as will be sequestered in 2021 under current law." In other words, the sum total of all the deficit savings in the Ryan budget deal will come about if a future President extends part of the sequester cuts two years past they are set to expire. Does anyone think a President a decade from now will feel bound by the words of Ryan and Murray?

Looking at just the outlines of the deal reminds one of those late-night ads hawking reverse mortgages. Having spent available income and exhausted traditional lines of credit, the homeowner borrows and spends against the value in his home. The Ryan budget deal employs a lot of gimmicks and a small amount of sound fiscal policy. Unfortunately, all of these tricks are used to fuel additional spending, rather than cut the deficit.

Like someone tapping a reverse mortgage, the US will eventually lose its home.

This budget matter will simmer for a while and generally be seen as a liberal/progressive-conservative issue.

That's the way politics work in America.

Here's something to think about.

The late Chuck Colson wrote a column in 2008 titled, "Dwarves On The Shoulders of Giants." 

It's an excellent article and should challenge and affirm Christians.

Here's a quick overview:

  • Ideology are the man-made formulations and doctrines of both the right and the left in modern American politics.
  • Ideologies are enemies of true conservatism as they are of the Gospel, which rests on revealed truth.
  • Liberal or progressive ideology is utopian and usually serves the interests of power seekers more than the people they claim to want to serve.
  • Conservatism is not a set of doctrines, but a state of mind, a type of character, a way of looking at the civil social order.
  • Conservatism relates to an enduring moral order. Christians believe that moral order is revealed in Scripture. It's unchanging.
  • This order includes human dignity, tradition and absolute values.
  • Colson quotes philosopher and thinker Russell Kirk who said that conservatives sense that "modern people are dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, able to see further than their ancestors only because of the great stature of those who have preceded us in time."
  • Colson says Christians need to remember that most issues being debated arise from conflicting ideologies of the two parties.
  • Colson says Christians should be taken in by nobody's ideology.
  • We should look to the "enduring moral order"---the revealed Word of God, for guidance.

Be Informed. Be Encouraged. Be Bold. Be Discerning. Be Blessed.