Tea Party Is Not Enough: The Budget Insanity

At the Open Market blog, Wayne Crews quotes a statement from the Huffington Post that deserves some contemplation:

In the lead-up to the State of the Union…a briefing theme was that President Barack Obama has little appetite for a debt reduction deal and no plans to further tackle deficit reduction.

Sounds plain enough, but it is an immense change from the days when he was promising to cut the deficit in half.

Crews launches an on-target critique of both Democrats and Republicans in Congress:

They reinforce one another in inflating what is already the largest government on earth.

Before every spending or regulatory action, Congress should ask, “How is this ‘necessary and proper’ to carry out an enumerated or delegated power,” as the Cato Institute‘s Bob Levy would say.

Instead, the budget agreement broadly affirms a modern American spending and regulatory state no longer constitutionally barred from whatever intervention it fancies. The “silken bands of limited government” established by the founders are illegal.

Of course, as far as a balanced budget is concerned, it’s important not to rally around philosophically marginal virtues: Washington could consume 100% of the nation’s wealth and still technically retain budget balance; but liberty would have long since departed.

So one can’t call for a balanced budget without emphasizing an effective one’s prerequisite: a considerably smaller government constitutionally limited to a few tasks bound by the recognition that a government’s core function is force.

That recognition is absent. Republicans, despite their reputation as the party of smaller government and free markets, embrace the same redistributionist and regulatory ethic of the Democrats. They insist that federal funding is essential for “basic science” and for big assets like supercolliders, space stations, computer security, energy programs, infrastructure and nanotechnology. Republicans applaud the corporate welfare of antitrust regulation.

Tea Partly, not Tea Party, is the rule.

Crews is absolutely correct. The Republicans, at a time when the Democrats have never been weaker since Obama took office, are giving up the fight. They have endorsed a major spending bill that pretends we are omnipotent. They are enabling Obama.