Who’s going to cut spending?

A listener takes me to task over America’s “energy independence”. OK, so the picture isn’t quite as rosy as I made it sound. Thanks, Mark!

Are both the Democrats and Republicans to blame for the latest bloated budget agreement? Yes. But can they be blamed the same? No. And which side has more representatives pushing for fiscal responsibility? It’s not even close.

Mentioned links:

The Conservative Zone

House Democrats Pass Trump-supported Budget Agreement, Freedom Caucus Objects

Trump will sign budget deal, Mulvaney says

FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 511 (votes on the budget agreement)

What is the House Freedom Caucus, and who’s in it?

United States Gross Federal Debt to GDP

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Show transcript

I got an email from listener Mark, who blogs at the website TheConservativeZone.com. The link to his site is in the show notes, just in case you’re in the car and can’t write that down at the moment. He had some comments about something I said in episode 258. I suggested that, even if OPEC raised the price of oil by reducing their supply, we might not feel it as bad here because states here (and not the federal government) have been expanding drilling so that we are a net exporter of oil these days. Mark explained that it’s not quite as simple as that.

This is for your comments on being “energy independent.” Yes, the good news is we are a “net energy exporter.” The bad news is we still buy a lot of oil from OPEC. There are multiple grades of crude oil, from “Light Sweet,” to “Heavy Sour.” Refineries are built to accommodate certain grades of crude oil to maximize the efficient extraction thereof. For example, a refinery built to handle Heavy Sour might get 1 gallon of gasoline (among the 20+ different petroleum distillates in crude) from a barrel of Heavy Sour crude. Feed that same refinery Light Sweet and you may only get a couple of pints of gasoline from that barrel.

Our refineries are set to the type of oil that comes from the Middle East. I do not know how much it would cost to change a refinery to process a different grade of crude, or if any new ones have been built to process domestic crude.

Thanks, Mark. I didn’t quite get why we still import oil from countries that hate us, and this is great information on why that is. No, we’re not truly energy independent, but the oil we put on the global market would, I imagine, help to lower prices all over the world, against what OPEC is trying to do. This information does somewhat dull the rosy picture I was painting, so thanks for keeping me honest. I also wanted to highlight, in that original episode, that the policies that the Left disdained have made us some measure better off, and that this outcome was then trumpeted by the Left. We do need to … consider this.


Another bloated budget was passed recently, and I want to say that I’m very disappointed that with a Republican in the White House, it looks like this is going to get signed. Trump has kept many of his promises since being President – something you don’t see often – but this one, saying he was going to balance the budget, was just not going to happen, and we’re instead hurling headlong in the opposite direction. Not only that but it lifts the debt ceiling until 2021, which makes that credit limit even more of a sham. We should be paying our own way, not forcing future generations to do that.

A friend of mine and I were discussing this on Facebook. (I know he’s listening; he was one of the first.) His comment was that both wing, the Left and the Right, were just the same when it came to fiscal responsibility. To him, this was a bad thing. OK then, I want to work from that premise and look a little deeper at who voted in what way.

For this budget deal, of the 235 Democrats in the House, 219 voted for it. That’s 93%. Of the 197 Republicans, 65 voted for it. That’s just 33%. And here’s another thing. If every Republican had voted No, the bill would still have passed just with the votes from the Democrats. If fiscal responsibility is one of your criteria when voting, what does that suggest about who you should vote for?

And then there’s this. There is a group of Representatives that call themselves the Freedom Caucus. It’s a small but vocal group of Republicans that push for much more fiscal responsibility from their party. They all voted No on this agreement, and lobbied for other Republicans to do so, against the wishes of the party apparatus. Yes, they didn’t get their way, but they have been, and continue to be, a group dedicated to this more conservative approach to the budget, among other things.

My question is, what group is there among Democrats that are doing something similar?

[crickets]

Yeah, that’s what I thought. So again I have to ask; if out-of-control government spending is a big issue for you, why would you vote for those who have no group trying to put the brakes on what you see as a big problem? I agree that this issue – the mounting debt – is one of the critical issues we face, now that the total debt is higher than all the money in the country, and in these days (since 2012) where our total national economic output, the Gross Domestic Product or GDP, is less that our debt? This is completely unsustainable, and a crash from this would kill the economy for everyone, rich and poor alike.

Sure, maybe you can’t personally bring financial responsibility to Congress, but you know what you can do? Vote. Vote for someone to add to the group that is pushing for the same position on this major issue that you have. And if this means you might have to vote for someone that you would otherwise never have thought of voting for, maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it’s time to try some solutions to this problem that aren’t just the same old tired ideas. Because as I believe I’ve demonstrated, the Left Wing and the Right Wing do have some differences.

Oh, and when these people try to actually cut spending, please don’t feed the demagogues with their bluster about how cutting $1 from this or that program will kill people, or plunge us into anarchy, or let the terrorists win. If we’re going to expect the government to do what the rest of us have to do – live within our means – it’s going to take some guts and some hard decisions. Are you willing to go there? If so, I’ll be right there with you. If not, I’m not quite sure why you’re complaining.

Filed under: Budget & SpendingEnergyGovernmentUncategorized