“If there’s ever been a time for Republicans to have a leader step up above the rest, it is now. To be specific, now is Paul Ryan’s time.”
Eric Stubben is a mechanical engineering sophomore and Mustang News conservative columnist. These views do not necessarily reflect the opinion or editorial coverage of Mustang News.
“We have our government back!”
After the 16-day government shutdown, those are probably the last five words any American citizen wants to hear. Although the shutdown caused hundreds of thousands of government employees to go on furlough for two weeks, it was mostly just a nuisance. The shutdown closed national parks and monuments, created fear and — heaven forbid — almost cost us the Army-Navy college football game.
But what good did it do? Absolutely none. We still don’t have a reduced budget, we still have a dysfunctional Congress and in the thick of things, our debt soared past $17 trillion.
The new budget deal allows government spending through Jan. 15. If a new budget isn’t passed by that point, we’ll fall right back into another shutdown. And let’s face it, Congress hasn’t passed a long-term budget since President Barack Obama took office. A deal is highly unlikely.
The last shutdown America had during the Clinton administration saw a primary shutdown in November 1995, then another one just a month later. The second shutdown was nastier than the first, lasting 21 days, but resulted in a long term debt-reduction deal between the Republican Congress and Democratic President Clinton.
Because of Congressional division and Obama’s failure to lead aggressively, matters will only become worse. After the recent deal was passed, Obama outlined that he will focus on immigration, farm legislation and the budget as his main priorities for the rest of the year.
Obama’s new goals will likely not enhance the chances of getting a long-term budget deal done either. As I explained last week, the farm bill has a long way to go before approval from both sides, and immigration is far too large of an issue to be finished within three months. As divided as Congress is, debating two hotly controversial topics will only further separate both sides. A budget must be passed before any other issues are pressed. Distractions from the budget crisis will not only inflame Republicans, but it will be consistent with Obama’s past as well.
The Obama administration is doing everything they can to hide their spending problem from the American people. President Obama created real fear amongst the public when he began talking about the possibility of an economic default on loans.
So what if a deal hadn’t been reached before the default date? Most likely, Congress would have made some deal, no matter how short term, to cut enough funds to allow bills to be paid. Drastic budget cuts would ensue, but we’d avert a default. Short-term budget cuts are much better than a long-term, credit-reducing debt default.
What might be the most curious part of the whole shutdown ordeal is Obama’s adamant demand to raise the debt ceiling. In 2006, then-senator Obama told the Senate floor, “America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”
Keep in mind that in 2006, America’s debt was less than $9 trillion. If it’s more than $17 trillion today, it’s safe to say President Obama has a failure of leadership himself.
If there’s ever been a time for Republicans to have a leader step up above the rest, it is now. To be specific, now is Paul Ryan’s time. The former vice presidential candidate is not only a debt reduction guru, he’s also a young star within the Republican Party. Ryan has based most of his political career off his ability to balance a budget and bolster the economy. Ryan had a relatively quiet year until his recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. In the op-ed, Ryan cited bipartisan Medicaid and Medicare reform, tax code simplification and other entitlement reforms as budget-reducing tactics. This is Paul Ryan’s opportunity to step up and prove that he has real potential to be the next Republican presidential candidate.
Another key for Republicans in this debt crisis is to suppress party division. Although hardline conservatives, such as Ted Cruz, are very strict on the budget, their antics do not help Republicans in the light of the American public. In order to construct and pass a budget bill and deficit reduction plan, far-right conservatives must work with and vote with the rest of the Republican Party.
These crazy times will define not only the future of America, but the future of America’s politicians as well. Will President Obama step up and craft a budget plan, or will he continue to deflect and distract as usual? Will the Republicans have a leader step up and deliver a feasible budget bill? There are many questions that need to be answered, but in the end, Americans deserve a budget plan. Our citizens’ futures rely on it, as does the future of the United States.