• Freedom
  • Innovation
  • Growth

Senator Murphy Needs a Lesson in Family Decisions

Republicans, who at least claim to be fiscally conservative, have thus far failed to stop President Biden and the Democrats’ big-spending agenda.  But now that Republicans control the House, they intend to use their leverage in the coming fight over increasing the federal debt ceiling to push for federal spending cuts.
Democrats say they aren’t negotiating—at all.
The Wall Street Journal quotes Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), “We’re not negotiating, we’re giving them [i.e., Republicans] nothing. It is their responsibility as members of Congress to pay the bills of the federal government just like they pay their bills for their home.”
Murphy apparently thought his reference to families paying their bills was a clever analogy. Actually, it reveals a real ignorance of how many families approach their bills and spending decisions.
It is true that Congress, like families, has to pay the bills it incurs.
But when families are spending too much, one spouse may assert that, considering the family’s income and obligations, it needs to drastically reduce its spending. And that fiscally prudent spouse may use all of the available leverage he or she has to force those spending cuts.
That doesn’t mean the family won’t pay its bills. It just means that future spending will have to be reduced, at least for a while.
That’s all Republicans are demanding, and they are absolutely right.
Team Biden and the Democrats have been on a spending spree of historic proportions. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, “We estimate the Biden Administration has enacted policies through legislation and executive actions that will add more than $4.8 trillion to deficits between 2021 and 2031, or nearly $2.5 trillion when excluding the effects of the American Rescue Plan.” (Note: The CRFB estimate includes $500 billion for student debt cancelation, which is currently on hold.)
The current federal debt is at $31.4 trillion and rising quickly, according to the National Debt Clock. Only 10 years ago, the federal debt was about half that amount: $16 trillion. And most fiscally responsible people thought that amount of debt was egregious.
Of course, federal debt would be even larger had Biden and most Democrats gotten their way, but a few Senate Democrats balked. They were more than willing to spend outrageous amounts of taxpayer money, just not as much as Biden wanted.
Now Republicans say they will step up as the fiscally prudent members of the congressional family. Spendthrift Democrats, like that spendthrift spouse, won’t like it.
But the challenge for Republicans will be living up to their stated convictions. When it comes to controlling spending, they often aren’t much better than Democrats.