Mr. Speaker, listening to the claims of the opponents of this budget, one would think it represented a full-frontal assault on the welfare state and the entitlements system. However, in fact--with all respect to Shakespeare-- the sound and fury over this budget ultimately signifies nothing. Under this budget, the federal government will spend $3.5 trillion next year, while under President Obama's budget the federal government will spend $3.8 trillion. The small difference between the congressional budget and the President's hardly seem to justify the over-heated rhetoric we hear emanating from both sides of the aisle.
Even under the most optimistic scenario, this supposedly radical plan does not balance the federal budget until my one-year old great-granddaughter will be in college. Under less optimistic assumptions, my great granddaughter will be almost 30 before she sees a balanced federal budget. This assumes that Congress will adhere to this year's budget in future years, a dubious assumption since we cannot bind future Congresses to abide by our spending plans.
The only budget this Congress controls is this year's budget. So why aren't we making substantial spending cuts this year, instead of putting off the hard choices?
Critics of this budget do have a point when they criticize this budget for misplaced priorities, since this plan calls for the federal government to continue to waste trillions of dollars in a future attempt to police the world. Mr. Speaker, through my years in public life I have explained the folly of our hyper-interventionist foreign policy; I will not rehash those arguments here. Instead, I will simply point out to my colleagues that we can no longer afford to spend trillions overseas.
Also, many of those who share my goal of unwinding the federal welfare and entitlement system understand the need to do so without harming Americans currently reliant on the system. That task will be much easier if we begin by eliminating overseas militarism, foreign aid, and corporate welfare. Yet this so called radical budget treats the Pentagon as a sacred cow, as if closing one overseas base or canceling one contract for Lockheed-Martin will render America defenseless.
This budget bill not only fails to reduce spending by changing our foreign policy, it also fails to make any meaningful changes in domestic spending. While the bill does repeal the President's misguided national health care plan, and a few other federal programs, it leaves the vast majority of the federal welfare-regulatory leviathan intact. Despite the claims of both proponents and opponents that this budget dramatically downsizes the federal government, it does not repeal one unconstitutional cabinet department, not even the Department of Education, which has no constitutional authority and if anything has diminished the quality of American education.
Mr. Speaker, the problem facing the federal government is at root not a fiscal problem but a philosophical problem. Too many people in both parties have bought into the idea that the federal government should run the economy, run our lives, and run the world. Until that idea is repudiated and we once again embrace the principles of liberty and constitutional government we will not be able to address our fiscal problems. This budget does little to advance the goal of moving us toward a free society; therefore I urge my colleagues to reject it.