As President Barack Obama lectured us with foolish notions -- such as attempting to reduce America's $14.4 trillion deficit by focusing carefully
poll-tested, repetitive threats -- it is clear that, as the debt ceiling issue reaches a stage of urgency, the positions staked out by Republicans
and Democrats are on different planets.
Just as six presidential candidates, 12 U.S. senators, 26 House members and more than 100,000 citizens have signed onto a pledge requiring a debt-ceiling-increase limitation to be tied to serious budgetary cuts and a balanced budget constitutional amendment, it appears that the Republican leadership is working to undermine the proposal.
The MSM and bloggers are reporting that certain members of the Republican establishment are not willing to do the heavy lifting demanded by movement the conservative movement which is responsible for their reclaiming of the House majority. Article after article has been written, with gentle nudging by unnamed Republican operatives, that this is just another meaningless promise and Americans have so-called "pledge fatigue."
And while it is true that pledges are often used by politicians as a way to avoid going to war against liberal Democrats, the proposals put forward in the Cut, Cap and Balance pledge are so fiscally conservative, they would have been considered impossible in any previous Congress.
Instead of "pledge fatigue," fellow patriots and I have "backroom deal fatigue." Republicans have shown themselves too quick to take aim at small, controversial budgetary matters while settling for a few billion dollars of cuts and caving to President Obama. This is unacceptable.
As the Congressional Budget Office conservatively reports, America's debt will steadily increase to a prosperity-killing 100 percent of GDP by 2021. This number underestimates the seriousness of the deficit, as the CBO does not use standard accounting rules involving future liabilities, cannot calculate the true economic cost of Obamacare, nor can it account for the negative effects that additional debt would have on the economy.
Therefore, the first and most important part of the pledge involves drastic but necessary cuts in spending, which will reduce the deficit today and into the future.
Then, the pledge requires signers to incorporate serious, unbreakable spending caps into the budget, which will put America on a path to a balanced budget.
Finally, as my co-author Ken Klukowski and I discuss in our new book, Resurgent: How Constitutional Conservatism can Save America, the Balanced Budget Amendment must have the type of guidelines set forth by Sen. Orrin Hatch and Sen. Mike Lee of Utah. Not only will it require expenditures to equal revenues, spending would be capped at an approximately historical 18 percent of GDP, and all future tax increases would require a two-thirds super-majority vote for approval.
This is no time for punch lines such as "eliminate waste, fraud and abuse." Politicians of both parties have shown themselves to be untrustworthy with your money, and to get results, we need clear, unbreakable covenants with a concrete, objective goal.
Polling data show that such a proposal has overwhelming, bipartisan support, and the American people are generally concerned about enslaving future generations with insurmountable obligations. But it is the Tea Party that can provide the necessary pressure legislators need to feel to pass the amendment and send it to the states for ratification. Tea Party members should take a copy of the pledge, from CutCapBalancePledge.com, and distribute a copy to every county party meeting and town hall event, making sure every candidate for Congress and every gubernatorial candidate is on board.
Investment capital always follows the path of least resistance and greatest opportunity. And after decades of ballooning deficits, only if America sets itself on a corrective course for responsible governance will risk-averse entrepreneurs again use their talents to create jobs and generate prosperity.
It has been almost 800 days since the Democrat-controlled Senate has passed a budget. Since politics is once again forcing discussions to the 11th hour, conservatives and Republicans need to be unified behind the Cut, Cap and Balance proposal before sitting down at the negotiating table.
Ken Blackwell is chairman of Pass the Balanced Budget and the best selling author of Resurgent: How Constitutional Conservatism Can Save America, coauthored with Ken Klukowski and published by Simon and Schuster.