Korobov: Neither party is "fiscally responsible"


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Those eagerly awaiting the presidential debates in the fall were provided with a preview last week. The Senate floor was transformed into a political boxing ring with several notable candidates trying to score points.

Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Lindsey Graham divided themselves into two camps regarding a proposal by Rubio to increase defense spending by tens of billions of dollars. Paul lambasted the idea because the spending was not offset by complementary budget cuts. Contrarily, the others endorsed the amendment.

With a public debt of more than $18 trillion, every American carries nearly $57,000 on their heads. The federal budget is bloated and impossible to sustain. It’s inconceivable to imagine how “fiscal conservatives” could propose any spending without at least identifying offsets. Paul expressed his frustration to Politico in saying, “I think it was irresponsible and dangerous … and an inconsistent theme for anybody who wants to say that they are concerned about debt.”

Paul failed to persuade both parties as Democrats and Republicans voted almost unanimously against his attempt to balance the defense hike.

While the sentiment of making “tough choices” is one expressed by virtually every politician, it is hardly ever fulfilled. In the age of career politicians, the first thought after securing a position is thinking about how to hold on to it. They have become remarkably successful at doing this. Members of Congress have a 90 percent re-election rate.

It is flash that wins elections, not moral responsibility. The Republicans criticize the Democrats for baiting Americans with attractive social programs. This divide, however, highlights that conservatives are also tempted to use the same tactics with issues that appeal to their base, such as defense. Building jets and tanks fires up crowds. Cutting spending isn’t sexy. Paul touched on this best when he said, “They went the easy way.”

This lack of fiscal consciousness is the reason both parties have contributed to the colossal amount of debt and social programs with obligations that will never be paid off. 

Perhaps a solution to this problem lies in term limits. The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution placed a two-term limit on the executive branch, yet this does not exist for Congress. An individual cannot remain president for more than two terms. If members of Congress were limited to two terms as well, they might have more of an incentivize to act on the big picture interests of the country rather than using their position to strengthen their next re-election campaign. While this solution has been postulated several times, members of Congress are not keen to place limits on their political careers for obvious reasons.

Rubio is accurate in that “the national security of our country is the predominant obligation of the federal branch of the government.” With the rise of radical Islamic extremists, the necessity for military dominance couldn’t be greater. Despite this, borrowing more money, given the country’s financial situation, is irresponsible. As the 2016 election approaches, we must consider which of the candidates will truly practice what they preach and look out for American’s long-term interests.

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