Having been focused on recent events in the Middle East, apart from a couple of pieces on ObamaCare (here and here), I haven't written much on domestic policy over the last few weeks.
Time to correct that situation!
Watching the shutdown debate play out, I've found it amusing to see liberals claim that Republicans are delusional on the deficit/debt. That somehow, as Nancy Pelosi argues, there are ''no more cuts to make''. In specific terms, many liberal commentators are suggesting that because the CBO has projected that the deficit will decrease over the next ten years, the fiscal crisis is therefore over.
For a start, the CBO is only saying that things are looking less bad than they once did. And even then, only over the next 10-13 years. More importantly, the deficit-elation crowd conveniently ignores the fact that CBO assumptions reside on current law and present expectations of future growth. In this regard, although the near-term deficit figures are indeed looking better, they're far from perfect. At a basic level, these numbers rest on the assumption that there will be sustained growth over the next ten years (very optimistic). But they also assume a stable track on low interest rates - if interest rates rise significantly (which they almost certainly will), the exacerbating impact for the deficit will also be substantial.
Of course, this is not to say that spending cuts should be applied as a blunt instrument. In my opinion, the correct approach is sensible austerity over the near term and comprehensive entitlement reform over the longer term. Still, the facts are also unassailable in their flowing message - debt denial is the fiscal brother to birtherism. Liberals might claim that conservatives are embracing a callous idiocy in their deficit reduction plans, but in actuality the opposite is true. Left unchallenged in their big government pursuit, liberals would saddle America's young with an insurmountable mountain of debt. That's morally inexcusable.
Correspondingly, conservatives are right to oppose that avoidable future.