TAMPA, December 19, 2013 – `Take some more tea,’ the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
`I’ve had nothing yet,’ Alice replied in an offended tone, `so I can’t take more.’
`You mean you can’t take LESS,’ said the Hatter: `it’s very easy to take MORE than nothing.’
– Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
The March Hare was right. It’s very easy to take more. Congress proved that Wednesday when they passed a two-year budget deal that eliminated the miniscule cuts imposed by sequestration. Alice would have the good sense to object to calling them “cuts” in the first place, since they were actually increases in spending over the previous year. All sequestration did was force Congress to increase spending less than it wanted to.
Nothing the March Hare ever said compares to the nonsense that is spouted in Congress.
The new budget deal purports to trade off reneging on previous promises to cut spending in 2014 and 2015 for future cuts in spending and tax increases in 2016 and beyond.
That means the new budget deal exposes itself as a fraud. What possible validity could an agreement have that cuts spending two years hence in exchange for breaking the same promise made two years ago?
Congress has no authority to bind future Congresses to spending or tax policies. That’s the whole reason the Constitution stipulates elections every two years for the House of Representatives, to ensure that policies can be changed that often. It also stipulates that all bills for raising revenue originate in the House, which intentionally gave the people the power to eliminate any new taxes every two years.
It’s also no accident that Congress is only given the power to raise armies for two years at a time. The founders were suspicious of standing armies in peacetime and ensured that the people could elect representatives who would disband the army before it became a permanent institution. They did just that during the Adams administration after the Quasi War with France.
How times have changed. Today, merely telling the Pentagon that it won’t be getting as big a raise as it wants is considered “gutting the military.” This is the military that currently spends more annually than the next ten nations combined.
It is not hard to predict how this will play out. The new spending increases will be implemented and Washington, D.C. will go on kicking the debt can down the road for another two years. When the time comes for the promised cuts, the special interests that benefit from the largesse will howl.
Liberals will predict millions of new homeless. Neoconservatives will warn of dire threats to national security. Paul Krugman will predict another depression, as if the present one ever ended.
Then, Congress will renege on the spending cuts and leave the new taxes in place.
The victims of this charade – net taxpayers – have only one tool at their disposal. They can vote out any incumbent who perpetrated this fraud by voting for it. That assumes there are enough left who aren’t on the dole. Otherwise, the problem will eventually solve itself amidst a debt or dollar crisis.
That day may come sooner than we think.
Tom Mullen is the author of A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.