The debt ceiling will soon become a crisis by any definition. Too many people are under the misconception that raising the debt ceiling gives way to new spending – it does not. Raising the debt ceiling simply allows the U.S. government to continue to function, to pay the debts and obligations it has already incurred. Full stop. The ‘House Freedom Caucus’, a group of some of the most radical Republicans, claims to be ‘conservative’ in nature, but they are not. The definition of ‘conservative’ is “averse to change or innovation and holding traditional values.” Seems to me that paying your debts is a traditional value. As Taegan Goddard of Political Wire tells us, the intention to stall the process of raising the debt ceiling, thereby throwing the U.S. government into chaos and destroying our alliances, is anything but conservative.
There’s Nothing ‘Conservative’ About the Freedom Caucus
17 January 2023
If you pay strict attention to what House Freedom Caucus members say they want, you might see why they’re so angry.
Over the last 40 years, the Republican Party has completely failed in its promise to make government smaller.
David Hopkins explains:
“There is a simple reason why there aren’t large-scale spending reductions or the permanent closure of multiple federal departments and agencies when Republicans take power: The votes to do it are never there. The public’s fondness for small government in the abstract seldom translates into support for eliminating specific benefits or programs.
Incumbents in competitive seats are understandably reluctant to cut popular services. Moreover, the fact that appropriations legislation is subject to the Senate filibuster ensures that yearly spending bills are always the product of bipartisan compromise in at least one chamber of Congress.”
To overcome this political reality, the Freedom Caucus is now setting up a dangerous showdown over the nation’s debt ceiling in an effort to force spending cuts.
The problem with this argument is that the debt limit doesn’t authorize any new spending. Congress does that with its annual appropriations bills.
What the debt ceiling does is allow the federal government to pay off existing obligations that past Congresses have already passed and funded.
So in the name of “conservatism,” the Freedom Caucus is suggesting the government renege on those promises. That’s hardly conservative.
Of course, these same “conservatives” voted for massive tax cuts during the Trump administration — when the Republicans controlled both the House and Senate — without offsetting them with spending cuts. That’s not conservative either.
As Charlie Sykes writes:
“Indeed, it’s hard to imagine anything less conservative than defaulting on the debt you are obligated to pay and shutting down the government you are entrusted to run.”
There must be a better word to describe them.
I can think of a few better words to describe them, but I’ll just bite my tongue … for now.