Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer made a deal on Feb. 7 to prevent yet another government shutdown. If the rest of Congress votes for their new spending agreement, the American people will ultimately foot a much larger tax bill.
“In order to reach a ‘bipartisan’ deal, McConnell granted the Democrats their wish list and Schumer granted the Republicans their wish list,” said Libertarian National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark. “We get stuck with the credit card debt.”
The Republicans want $165 billion more in defense spending over the next two years. The Democrats want $131 billion in extra domestic spending. Both parties want another $90 billion in disaster aid funding.
“The ‘bipartisan deal’ means that the politicians get what they want,” Sarwark said. “We, as taxpayers, will pay an extra $400 billion according to the Washington Post. More precisely, ecause nearly all this extra spending will be funded by borrowing more money, our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will pay. In individual terms, this means that every man, woman, and child in the United States will have $1,238 added to their federal tab. When we combine that with the GOP tax cut of $1.5 trillion, which was not accompanied by reduced spending, our additional federal credit charge adds up to $5,880 per person.”
Although Republicans often pretend to be the party of fiscal responsibility, their enthusiasm for funding endless military adventurism is a deadly waste of both money and lives.
“Libertarians favor actual defense,” Sarwark said. “According to Forbes, though, the United States spent $611 billion on military spending in 2016. That’s more than the combined defense budgets of the next nine largest countries: China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, France, the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, and South Korea. Many of those countries are our allies. There is simply no need to bust the budget caps to increase military spending by more than 25 percent. It’s not the safety of the American people that’s being protected, but the security of defense contractor profits.”
The grab bag of goodies for the Democratic Party includes billions in infrastructure spending and a raft of medical expenditures, including opioid treatment programs, community health centers, a 10-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), extra funding for the National Institutes of Health, and more Medicare drug coverage.
“Per capita health care spending in the United States is already more than double that of the average country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD),” Sarwark said. “What we need in the health care delivery system is not more government spending, but more competition. As just one example, Certificate of Need laws in 35 states effectively prevent opening new competitive hospitals in a community unless the state consents — and only after it has sought the advice of existing hospitals. This process explicitly reduces competition and results in higher hospital bills.”
The recent government shutdown occurred largely because Democrats wanted to prevent the deportation of Dreamers, who had previously been protected by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The McConnell/Schumer deal does not address these concerns, and House Speaker Paul Ryan has not yet agreed to a vote on allowing children of undocumented immigrants, brought here by their families, to remain in the country with a path to citizenship.
“Not dealing with DACA is deplorable,” Sarwark concluded. “Both parties should be ashamed.”
Libertarians want to end the political brinkmanship that benefits politicians and bureaucrats at the expense of taxpayers. To that end, the Libertarian Party plans to run more than 2,000 candidates for local, state, and federal office in 2018.
Editor’s note: The original version of this press release referred incorrectly to “American-born children of undocumented immigrants.” The children in question were those brought to the U.S. by their undocumented-immigrant families. This post was corrected accordingly, on Feb. 14, 2018.