Conservatives hold fiscal key

July 20, 2011


If your disgust over America’s crushing debt and the irresponsible leaders who refuse to reduce unnecessary spending has reached the fed-up point, there is an easy solution beyond whatever compromise might be reached in the current standoff between President Obama and congressional Republicans. Vote Republican in 2012.

But don’t vote for just any Republican, rather vote for conservatives who believe the foundational principles of America still work and can rescue us from default, placing the country back on a track that leads to prosperity and greater liberty.

Last week, I was one in a series of speakers (Justice Stephen Breyer speaks next week) at the new Calvin Coolidge Museum and Education Center. My subject was “What the Past Can Teach the Present, Ensuring the Future.”

There are no new ideas, only old ideas that either worked or failed. There is “nothing new under the sun,” as Ecclesiastes reminds us.

Some excerpts from my address:

• Not knowing how to solve a problem is forgivable. You would expect our representatives to press on until they find a solution. Knowing how to solve a problem, but refusing to solve it because you would rather have the issue run on than to offer a solution that benefits the country, is more obscene to my mind than receiving a tweet from Anthony Weiner.

• Quoting Coolidge: “There is no salvation in a narrow and bigoted partisanship. But if there is to be responsible party government, the party label must be something more than a mere device for securing office. Unless those who are elected under the same party designation are willing to assume sufficient responsibility and exhibit sufficient loyalty and coherence, so that they can cooperate with each other in the support of the broad general principles, of the party platform, the election is merely a mockery, no decision is made at the polls, and there is no representation of the popular will.”

The election last November was an expression of the popular will. It was a repudiation of the direction in which President Obama and congressional Democrats are taking the country. Instead of moderating their far-left views, Democrats have doubled down and are behaving as if liberalism is on the rise rather than on the decline. The attitude of these elected dictators seems to be “the public be damned.”

President Obama talks about “shared sacrifice,” but why should people who are not responsible for the deficit pay more to irresponsible politicians who can’t live within the means we provide them? Let them “sacrifice” by cutting spending. Taxpayers have sacrificed enough.

Abraham Lincoln had a little something to say on how expanding government suffocates individual freedom: “The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do at all in their separate and individual capacities. In all that the people can individually do as well for themselves, government ought not to interfere.”

There may never have been a better case made for the federal government’s limited role and the limitless role and responsibility of the individual citizen.

These separate yet complimentary functions of state and citizen should be at the center of the 2012 campaign. It will be a difficult debate because of the number of people liberals have managed to addict to government, but it is a debate we must have. Its proper resolution will determine whether America can continue to prosper and protect and defend liberty without which the America we have known will be a subject for future historians, as they study the reasons for our decline.

We don’t live in the past, but we can learn from it. Will we? Coolidge did. The presidential and congressional candidates should make a pilgrimage to this tiny hamlet to see what their education left out, or they have forgotten.

The principles by which Calvin Coolidge lived and governed are as relevant for our time as they were for his.

— Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services. His email is tmseditors@tribune.com.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 11 months ago

Did Cal just call for a massive reduction in military/imperial spending? No, he didn't, which means that he's completely FOS in his call to reduce federal spending.

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

His Coolidge quote doesn't support his argument.

The quote is urging members of a party to be loyal to the party's ideals. Democrats remaining true to the liberal ideals of the Democratic party are in fact an example of that.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 11 months ago

Grab your Bibles because Cal wants to support the theocracy that is being initiated in the State of Kansas by Brownbackwards and his cronies. You will need to know your Buble verses to explain why the alleged "conservatives" are acting like a bunch of elitist and holier-than-thou jerks.

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

One doesn't have to hate Christianity to be opposed to a Christian theocracy.

gudpoynt 6 years, 11 months ago

"President Obama talks about 'shared sacrifice,' but why should people who are not responsible for the deficit pay more to irresponsible politicians who can’t live within the means we provide them? Let them “sacrifice” by cutting spending. Taxpayers have sacrificed enough."

No individual, or small group of individuals, is at fault, Cal. Blame cannot be concentrated on a handful of scapegoats. However, there are many, many responsible parties.

I assume that by "people who are not responsible" Cal is referring to taxpayers for whom the expiration of tax breaks are being proposed.

Who is more responsible for the deficit? Those who have taken advantage of tax breaks? Or those who have taken advantage or their Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits?

Why should either of these be made to sacrifice more than the other?

beatrice 6 years, 11 months ago

It will take both cuts and allowing the Bush era tax cuts to end. We can't fight wars without asking the American people to foot the bill. We all need to sacrifice.

Given the debt record under the previous Republican administration, obviously voting for Republicans is not the answer. Fool us once ...

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

Included in that figure are some very rich folks.

And, even people who don't pay federal income tax do in fact pay FICA, and other taxes.

beatrice 6 years, 11 months ago

How many of those non-tax paying households are wealthy individuals paid primarily through low-taxed stock dividends who then use write-offs and loopholes to avoid paying taxes at all?

As I said, I think we ALL need to sacrifice.

gudpoynt 6 years, 11 months ago

"The election last November was an expression of the popular will"

... so we should all....

"Vote Republican in 2012"

.... because apparently they can...

"assume sufficient responsibility and exhibit sufficient loyalty and coherence, so that they can cooperate with each other in the support of the broad general principles, of the party platform"

So Cal, let me get this straight... sticking hardcore to the Republican party line in 2012 in an attempt to continue a political movement fueled by the popular will, as you suggest we do, will result in greater cooperation and responsibility?

Will this cooperation in 2012 look anything like the virtually seamless cooperation between Boehner, Cantor, Bachmann and McConnell, that has easily been able to wrangle the stark disparities among their party, and come forth with a single, eloquent Republican vision?

Will this responsibility include such thoughtful proposals such as drastically cutting social programs with no plan to address the fallout of doing so, threatening to shut the government down, putting tens of thousands of federal employees on furlough and creating a tremendous backlog of work for an indefinite amount of time, or threatening to cause the U.S. to default on it's payment obligations thus shaking confidence in U.S. treasury bonds and causing interest rates to rise, instantaneously saddling us with billions in additional debt, all in the name of holding on tightly to continued tax relief for those hurt least by the economic crisis -- indeed even for those who have made record profits?

Will this responsibility include the GOP senate leader expending significant political effort to absolve the GOP of any responsibility for raising the debt ceiling, when an overwhelming consensus of non-partisan economists from around the world all agree that to do anything less would likely have a drastic effect on economies world wide, if not plunge global economies into a crisis at least as bad as the one from which we're trying to recover?

Because if so.. I'll pass.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 11 months ago

Consevatives can be fiscally responsible, but you have to hand out checks to them first.

Video of Speaker of the House, John Boehner, admitting to handing out tobacco industry checks right before Republicans voted to extend tobacco industry subsidies using taxpayer money.


Crazy_Larry 6 years, 11 months ago

Stand Up!


Stand up We shall not be moved Except By a child with no socks and shoes If you've got more to give then you've got to prove Put your hands up and I'll copy you Stand up We shall not be moved Except by a woman dying from a loss of food If you've got more to give then you've got to prove Put your hands up and I'll copy you

Richard Heckler 6 years, 11 months ago

Cal may I remind you that your friends are the tax dollar thieves and bank robbers...

Don't tell me you sweep this crap under the rugs...

After spending so so many decades in Washington D.C on tax dollar payrolls republicans are sure they learned all they needed to know about OUR money and founding reckless economies. Republicans have much experience under their belts and they never quit sharing.

For openers...

  1. TABOR is Coming by Grover Norquist and Koch Bros. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0705rebne.html

  2. The Reagan/Bush Savings and Loan Heist(Cost taxpayers $1.4 trillion) http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

  3. Wall Street Bank Fraud on Consumers under Bush/Cheney http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2009/0709macewan.html

  4. Bush and Henry Paulson blew the $700 billion of bail out money? http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/10/good_billions_after_bad_one_year

And that tax cuts do nothing to make an economy strong or produce jobs.

  1. Still A Bad Idea – Bush Tax Cuts - The ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2001/0301miller.html

In the end big debt and super duper bailouts were the results which does not seem to bother Republicans, as long as they are in power.

In fact, by the time the second Bush left office, the national debt had grown to $12.1 trillion:

  • Over half of that amount had been created by Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy.

  • Another 30% of the national debt had been created by the tax cuts for the wealthy under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

• Fully 81% of the national debt was created by just these three Republican Presidents. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0111orr.html

Richard Heckler 6 years, 11 months ago

Hey the debt limit must be increased. There is no reason not to raise the debt limit. If repubs were in the white house it would be done in a flash with or without one single democrat vote.

IF the debt limit IS NOT increased there WILL BE a lot of very smart and very rich people plus many countries which have invested in the USA that WILL BE quite angry..... simple as that.

Not only that many many other important financial aspects would feel the impact in a huge way such as:

  • Wall Street investments up in smoke (better get out now until this matter is resolved)

  • Wall Street Banks gone

  • retirement plans gone
  • millions upon millions upon millions of jobs lost
  • medical insurance up in smoke
  • homes by the millions would be lost
  • soldiers could not be paid
  • military industrial complex down the tubes
  • millions of financial institutions up in smoke
  • what's left of USA industry gone
  • elected officials would not get paid
  • in essence the USA economy is history

Who in the hell would loan the USA money for recovery?

Richard Heckler 6 years, 11 months ago

Social Security adds to the deficit ?

Reality: It's not just wrong—it's impossible! By law, Social Security's funds are separate from the budget, and it must pay its own way. That means that Social Security can't add one penny to the deficit.

This is one program that actually does pay for itself ...... unlike corp welfare for wealthy industry.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 11 months ago

"Conservatives hold fiscal key"

Maybe, but too bad modern republicans and their ideas about the economy are not conservative.

Modern republicans are activist populists who want to quickly install a series of draconian and ill-considered actions that will drastically change for the worse the economy for middle and lower class Americans.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 11 months ago

All of these platitudes rely on the assumption that asking anything of the wealthy in terms of increased taxes is "assaulting the wealthy".

This is a ridiculous assumption.

Try this platitude: You cannot become wealthy in an anarchic, crumbling, dangerous, and uneducated society.

beatrice 6 years, 11 months ago

There are currently 130 Republicans still in congress that voted to raise the debt ceiling under Bush (a debt ceiling that was voted for an astonishing 19 times during the previous administration). When raising the ceiling by $4 trilliion, they never insisted on equal cuts to balance the budget. I guess Cal wants you to save the country by voting those Republicans out of office.

jayhawxrok 6 years, 11 months ago

What a funny article, as if America is stupid enough to vote for the very morons that put us in this mess. Reps are deficit friendly when a Rep is President, but when a Dem is they get all indignant all of a sudden, what a farse. Reps are irresponsible and total hypocrites.

mloburgio 6 years, 11 months ago

Nearly 10 Years Ago Today, The U.S. Began Borrowing Billions To Pay For The Bush Tax Cuts

As debates about deficit reduction continued to be heavily tilted toward cutting spending, which threatens to undermine a fragile recovery, rather than raising revenue from those who can afford it, it’s important to remember the budgetary impact of the Bush tax cuts.

Nearly 10 years ago today, on August 1, 2001, the Associated Press reported that the Treasury Department was tapping $51 billion of credit in order to pay for the budgetary cost of the first round of Bush tax cuts’ rebate checks. The AP reported at the time that Democratic Party opponents of the tax cuts worried that they’d return government budgets to “red ink“:

The opponents of the tax cut turned out to be right. The 2001 and 2003 tax cuts combined have blown a $2.5 trillion hole in America’s budget and created deficits stretching on for years. http://thinkprogress.org/special/2011/07/20/273795/ten-years-ago-bush-tax-cuts/

JohnBrown 6 years, 11 months ago

What is the debt limit? It's an artificial lid that is not coupled to monies congress has already authorized to be spent. The reason the debt limit needs to rise is because congress has spent the money and now it's time to pay the bill and there's not enough money in the coffers to pay it.

Imagine five businessmen at lunch. The meal is eaten and the check arrives. Each looks in their wallet and says "I don't have the cash for this and i'm not putting this on my credit card...so, I'm not gonna pay."

This is exactly what the tea partiers want: for the US to reneg on payment for stuff that has already happened. This is not honorable, and does not respect the Constitution. But it is ignorant. "No more spending" they say. Fine, but at least pay the bills you've already incurred. Equating future 'spending' with past spending is ignorant.

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

They shouldn't have gone out to lunch if they can't afford to pay for it.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 11 months ago

jayhawxrok (anonymous) says… What a funny article, as if America is stupid enough to vote for the very morons that put us in this mess. Reps are deficit friendly when a Rep is President, but when a Dem is they get all indignant all of a sudden, what a farse (sic). Reps are irresponsible and total hypocrits (sic). ==== I agree, JHR, up to a point. I would add the citizens are also hypocrites, as we won't vote for anyone of either party who speaks the truth: We want more than we will pay for up front and we need to change our ways. All taxes and fees will have to go up; deductions and credits will have to go away; everyone will have to take less in payments and we'll just have to suck it up. Neither party has the answer, but the sheeple do, if they will actually vote, learn a bit about the new reality and learn to carry on.

jayhawxrok 6 years, 11 months ago

As a nation we should have been sacrificing from 9/12/2001, not told to go shopping and start stockpiling duct tape.

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