The Debt Commission and Government Excess
6:30 AM, Dec 2, 2010 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
The debt commission's report, to be voted upon tomorrow by the commission's members, is a provocative proposal that should help to jump-start serious discussions about paying off (or at least not continuing to add to) our $13.8 trillion debt. In truth, the commission's report is the best that one could realistically hope for from an administration that has added to our debt in unprecedented fashion – even without counting the looming costs that Obamacare, should it manage to escape repeal, would spawn.
On this date just two years ago, when then-President-elect Obama was assembling his team to take office, our debt was $10.6 trillion – or $3.2 trillion less than today. So, our national debt has increased a staggering 30 percent during just the first two years of his watch.
While the debt commission's efforts are laudable, however, its basic premise that we have both a spending and a revenue problem is mistaken. And its notion that 75 percent of our debt-reducing efforts need to come from spending cuts, while the other 25 percent need to come from tax increases, is only 75 percent right. What we have is not a spending and revenue problem, but merely a spending problem, and the way to address it is to limit the government's power to spend. One proposal that would do just that is the Limited Government Amendment, which I have explained here and have updated here – by adding a provision to set spending levels based on 2008 figures, rather than on the bloated figures of 2010.