“I hope the Indiana Congressional Delegation will support Speaker Boehner’s proposal. The terrifying, nation-threatening debt levels caused by past and present overspending and future overpromising will not be solved by any one action or in any one year. But the Boehner plan begins in the right place, with real spending restraint and would show Americans and world markets that we do not intend to commit financial suicide. I hope Congress passes it and then begins work immediately on step two of our long march back to national solvency and economic prosperity.”
It’s not much of a surprise that Gov. Daniels would support the Boehner budget proposal. Daniels is a serious limited-government advocate, but he’s acutely aware of what is politically possible, which is what made him so successful at obtaining serious reforms in Indiana.
The reality is, there’s no way we’re going to get a real budget-cutting law with the current Congress and President, and the GOP is at huge risk of taking the blame for anything that happens bad economically if the debt ceiling is not raised. It won’t count for anything that smart people would know that the bad events are either not a consequence of the debt ceiling being raised or, if they are, are the fault of the big spenders who racked up huge budget hikes in 2008 and after—meaning, the Democrat majorities in Congress and Presidents Bush and especially Obama. Smart people have not been listened to about this thus far, and that would not suddenly change if the economy should dip further. No, it would be blamed on Republicans’ failure to raise the debt ceiling.
What Daniels is advocating is not to worry about what’s most perfectly right to do today but about what needs to happen for real cuts to be instituted over the long term. Since the budget is a long-term problem, that’s the right way to look at the situation, in my view. Our economic analysis should surely test every proposal against the ideal, but our policy analysis should incorporate an understanding of the political ramifications of political decisions.