The debate over raising the debt ceiling and the subsequent downgrade of the credit rating of the United States has given rise to certain commentary that, while interesting, is fallacious.
I have heard and read what essentially amounts to blaming both political parties. If one argues that both political parties contributed to the creating of the unsustainable debt, it is a fair argument. Both parties spent money like a sailor on shore leave. However, I believe it is not accurate to claim all members of the current congress are responsible for our current financial meltdown.
An election was held in 2010 and a large number of congressional candidates campaigned on the promise to cut spending and not raise taxes. For those persons to fail to honor their pledge to their voters would be a breach of faith with the public. That it is almost a given that things said during campaigns are known lies that will never be adhered to does not give elected officials a pass to continue to so do.
So now we come to 2011. The House Republicans offer a budget that would reduce spending in all areas and would have, if adopted, met the standards required by Standard & Poor's to avoid a credit downgrade. The response by the Democratic Senate was DOA; dead on arrival. The response by our President, insults and mockery directed towards the author of the bill, Paul Ryan. Subsequently the House Republicans submit a second proposal. Cut, Cap & Balance. Cut the spending, cap the spending and pass a balanced budget amendment. The response by the Democratic Senate was DOA. Finally the House passes a bill that, after being massaged by the Senate, is adopted and signed by the President. Many of those congressmen that campaigned on fiscal responsibility voted against the bill. Their standing on principle is being portrayed as "holding a gun to the head of the American public." One can query as to what refusing to act on bills submitted to the Democratic Senate is if not "holding a gun to the head of the American public?"
If it wasn't for the principled stand by those members of the House of Representatives that hold the fiscally responsible views espoused by the Tea Party there never would have been any discussion about controlling the spending. Washington would have gone merrily along as in years past building more and more debt until one day the entire financial world came crashing down.
Congressional Tea Party members are not to blame. They are to be congratulated on what they have accomplished which is to awaken the public to the danger of the unrestrained spending appetite of the President and his cohorts. They are to be congratulated for their efforts in making the first small step towards turning this ship around and getting it headed towards fiscal sanity. They are to be congratulated for making the national debt a national issue. What is the response of President Obama? He blames George Bush. He blames the tsunami tragedy in Japan. He blames the economic crisis in Europe. He blames the Tea Party. He blames the Arab Spring. He blames ATMs. He blames democracy. He blames everyone and everything...but he is blameless.
It seems clear that the Obama model, that of massive federal government with its fingers into every facet of American life, huge federal spending and stifling regulation, is not working. It is time to try a little capitalism and free market principles. However I don't believe the president is capable of doing this. He is a committed ideologue with a near socialist viewpoint and cannot bring himself to act in a way contrary to his beliefs irrespective that his method has proven to be a failure.
The Tea Party, and likeminded persons, are our hope in the coming election and coming years. We must be diligent and elect financially conservative persons, be they Democrat or Republican, and then hold their feet to the fire so as to assure they live up to the promises they make. Only by a reduction of the tax rates, elimination of regulatory abuses and spending less than we take in will we be able to get this nation back on a sound financial track. The Tea Party and its members are the foundation upon which these changes can be built.
—John L. Lengemann