Hart: GOP LEVERAGE: Debt ceiling only curb on spending

Hart: GOP LEVERAGE: Debt ceiling only curb on spending

October 18th, 2013 By Ron Hart in Opinion Columns

In dysfunctional and ideologically-driven Washington, it seems the only way to slow out-of-control spending is with the debt ceiling votes. Republicans control only one-half of one-third of the government. The only leverage they had in imposing some form of fiscal sanity is their debt ceiling votes.

All the posturing and rhetoric of Democrats and Republicans leading up to this week's "deal" remind me of a WWF wrestling match: lots of pre-match bluster with a predetermined outcome.

Obama said he would negotiate after he got his way, with full funding - hardly a genuine proposal. Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o got more serious proposals from imaginary women on the Internet.

It has been said that negotiating with Obama is like playing chess with pigeons. They fly in with great ceremony but won't make a move when it's their turn. Then they leave, come back and knock over all the pieces, mess on the chess board, and strut around like they won.

The country is looking for down-the-road spending restraint that would cut the deficit. We borrow 40 cents on every dollar we spend. We cannot keep borrowing money and just printing more. When you peer through the fog of political war going on in D.C., you see it is all about spending and the role of government in our lives.

Obama is a diminished man; his approval numbers are low. Republicans took him on, but Obama's political calculus says he can blame the shutdown on them. This conflict is more about his ego than what is best for our country.

This type of governmental dysfunction might make it hard to maintain Washington's lofty 12 percent approval rating. Americans are tiring of the punitive nature of government and starting to realize just how little they miss government when it shuts down.

Sen. Bob Corker again distinguished himself. But in general, Republicans seem disorganized. They should have tried to secure for taxpayers a reprieve from the 3.8 percent Obamacare tax instead of attempting to delay the medical device tax. They should have better tied to the spending bill Obama exempting unions, big business and congressional staffers from Obamacare.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has proven again that he can do what he wants with his lapdog, lemming-like liberals. They vote as he directs and are more about power and politics than original thought. Reid's reign over them is like Weekend at Bernie's; he puts a hat and sunglasses on them and drags them where he wants, for any reason he wants.

Part of the problem is that, when we have debt ceiling issues and shutdowns, spending priorities are pushed to the president and away from Congress. Congress needed to regain control of funding priorities.

I say we put Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democrat Oprah Winfrey in a room and let them hammer out the next deal. With his widow's peak that is sharper than a scalpel, Ryan could cut the budget. And Oprah, who decided to cancel shows and fire people at her Oprah Winfrey Network, has shown that she will not deficit spend forever in hopes of spurring growth that does not materialize.

In an attempt to slither out of this problem of their own making, the two sides kicked the can down the road and decided to fund government through the holidays. That way members of the Obama administration can get in a holiday mood and draw names for their "Secret Santa" gift exchanges. There is a $20 spending limit on gifts, but they are likely to go $7 trillion over budget.

Ron Hart is a libertarian syndicated op-ed humorist.