Wake up, Bob!
Dear Socially Liberal Fiscally Conservative Friend,
That's pretty toothy, so I'm going to call you Bob.
Bob, you're the sort of person who says to his conservative friends or co-workers something like, “I would totally vote for Republicans if they could just give up on these crazy social issues.”
When you explain your votes for Barack Obama, you talk about how Republicans used to be much more moderate and focused on important things such as low taxes, fiscal discipline and balanced budgets.
When Colin Powell was on “Meet the Press” the other day, you nodded along as he lamented how the GOP has lost its way since the days when it was all about fiscal responsibility.
And, Bob, you think Republicans are acting crazy-pants on the debt ceiling. You don't really follow all of the details, but you can just tell that the GOP is being “extreme,” thanks to those wacky tea partyers.
So, Bob, as a “fiscal conservative,” what was so outrageous about trying to cut pork — Fisheries in Alaska! Massive subsidies for Amtrak! — from the Sandy disaster-relief bill? What was so nuts about looking for offsets to pay for it?
You're still spouting this nonsense about being fiscally conservative while insisting the GOP is the problem. You buy into media's anti-Republican hysteria no matter what the facts are. Heck, you even believe it when Obama suggests he's like an Eisenhower Republican.
Well, let's talk about Eisenhower. Did you know that in his famous farewell address he warned about the debt? “We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage,” he said. “We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.”
Bob, we are that insolvent phantom. The year Eisenhower delivered that speech, U.S. debt was roughly half our GDP. Now, the debt is bigger than our GDP. Gross domestic product is barely $15 trillion. The national debt is over $16 trillion and climbing. The country isn't going broke, Bob. It is broke.
Yet when Republicans actually have the courage of Obama's own convictions, you condemn them.
You nodded sagely when Obama said we needed a “balanced approach” to cut the deficit. He said he couldn't rein in entitlements without also raising taxes on “millionaires and billionaires.”
Well, he won that fight. We raised taxes on millionaires and billionaires exactly as much as he wanted. We also raised the payroll tax on everyone.
Obama's response to getting the tax hikes he wanted? He says we still need a “balanced approach” — i.e., even more tax hikes.
Anyone who calls himself a fiscal conservative understands we have a spending problem. Do the math. A two-earner couple that retired in 2011 after making $89,000 per year will pay about $114,000 into Medicare over their lifetimes but will receive $355,000.
And you think Paul Ryan's budget was “extreme.” Do you know when it balanced the budget? 2040. What's a non-extreme date to balance the budget? 2113?
Look, Bob, I don't know why you think you're a fiscal conservative. You're not. I don't expect you to vote Republican. But please stop preening about your fiscal conservatism, particularly as you condemn the GOP for not being fiscal conservatives, even when they are the only fiscal conservatives in town.
Jonah Goldberg is the author of the new book “The Tyranny of Clichés.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Meteor lights up night sky above eastern U.S.
- Pirates analyst Kent Tekulve recovering after heart transplant
- Dorfman: Pluses and minuses in America’s 20 largest stocks
- New approach on offense has Pirates in playoff contention this season
- Pitt football coach Chryst refutes analyst Wannstedt’s opinion
- Wheel separation incidents occasionally prove deadly; NTSB doesn’t track them
- Classical music crisis: Author says schools today aren’t building audiences
- Fracking not the problem, Ohio State scientist finds
- Steelers veteran defenders want young teammates to step up
- Kittanning high school roundup: Freeport volleyball topples North Allegheny
- Pa. Education Department attempts to block release of emails to Tomalis