Hornberger's Blog

Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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Debt-Ceiling Charade


Since the debt-ceiling deadline is now only a month away, I thought I should repeat the prediction I made several months ago: The Republicans are going to cave. They will vote to lift the debt ceiling once again, confirming what a fraud the debt-ceiling is. If it’s continually lifted, then it really isn’t a ceiling. Federal spending will continue soaring and increasing loads of debt will be thrown on the backs of the American people. Let us constantly keep in mind that that’s the point of raising the debt ceiling — to enable these people to continue their massive spending, borrowing, and taxing binge.

Why am I so certain that the Republicans are going to cave? Because they are as committed to the preservation, maintenance, and growth of the welfare-warfare state as Democrats are. The last thing either Republicans or Democrats are going to do is jeopardize the massive spending and borrowing that is necessary to keep the welfare-warfare programs going.

Consider the domestic biggies: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, the top three crown jewels of the welfare state. Everyone acknowledges that they are threatening the economic well-being of our nation. But no one except libertarians is proposing repeal — abolishment — elimination. Instead, most everyone, at most, is calling for minor reforms, such as extending the eligibility age, or at worst, actually calling for increases in spending for these socialistic programs.

Okay, if they won’t abolish the three biggies, how about all the other domestic welfare-state programs. No luck there either because whenever someone focuses on one particular program, the statists respond, “Oh, that’s just a tiny part of federal spending and so eliminating that program isn’t going to do much good anyway.” So, each program is protected from repeal because it involves only a small amount of federal spending. Never mind, of course, that all those tiny parts add up collectively to a very large percentage.

Then there’s the warfare state, which is as near and dear to Republicans as the Cold War was. “Even though military spending is sending our government into bankruptcy, we have to keep going because our national security is at stake,” Republicans exclaim. They’re convinced that without a worldwide military empire with some 1000 military bases in some 130 countries, America would quickly be conquered by the communists, illegal aliens, terrorists, and drug dealers.

For decades, Americans have been able to avoid confronting the impending disaster, much as the people of Greece have. But today, reality is mugging people in the face. Americans are now having to confront the reality of what the welfare-warfare state way of life has brought them — a way of life in which Americans are warring against other Americans, desperately using the government to seize money that belongs to others in order to feather their own nest with it — a way of life in which Americans live in perpetual fear of those people overseas who are threatening to retaliate for what the U.S. government is doing to them over there — a way of life involving legalized plunder, looting, assassination, torture, wars of aggression, invasions, undeclared wars, and kangaroo tribunals.

Ultimately, the solution to all this does not lie in Washington. It lies within the American people. Americans need to confront the welfare-warfare state directly, not only on pragmatic grounds — that it’s sending the nation into bankruptcy but also on moral grounds — that welfare-state programs and warfare-state programs are morally wrong.

That solution inevitably leads to libertarianism, the philosophy that entails a consistent defense of freedom in all aspects.

We libertarians are not like liberals, who argue that the warfare state should be reined in a bit so that the welfare state can be preserved and expanded.

And we’re not like conservatives, who argue that the welfare state should be reined in a bit so that the warfare state can be preserved and expanded.

Hewing to moral principles and sound economic principles, we libertarians hold that all welfare-state and all warfare-state programs, departments, and agencies should be dismantled, repealed, and abolished. It is the only way to place our nation back on a sound moral foundation while, at the same time, restoring freedom, peace, prosperity, and harmony to our land.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.