“Bipartisanship” Means Only One Thing

by | Feb 26, 2012

Bipartisanship? I don't think so. In Washington-speak "bipartisanship" means only one thing: When small government and deficit-cutting advocates give in to Big Government advocates.

Associated Press reports, “Congress has passed legislation renewing a payroll tax cut for 160 million workers and jobless benefits for millions more, backing the main items on President Barack Obama’s jobs agenda in a rare burst of Washington bipartisanship.”

Bipartisanship? I don’t think so. In Washington-speak “bipartisanship” means only one thing: When small government and deficit-cutting advocates give in to Big Government advocates.

Unfortunately, the Big Government advocates — none the least of which, Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner — have again carried the day.

Let’s examine what actually passed. A.P. reports, “Under Friday’s measure, workers would continue to receive a 2 percentage point increase in their paychecks and people out of work for more than six months would keep jobless benefits averaging about $300 a week. It would also head off a steep cut in reimbursements for physicians who treat Medicare patients.”

Payroll tax reductions are fine — but they were not paid for by any spending cuts. Jobless benefits are not part of what’s provided for in the Constitution, but they have become commonplace and have validity in the minds of most people. Traditionally, they have been considered valid only as temporary components of government programs, not permanent. They have, in effect, become permanent — and are in no way paid for by this budget. Medicare spending cuts averted? It’s certainly good news for doctors and patients, but what about the fact that the preservation of this program requires more and more government debt? Obama could get three times the tax increases he’s demanding, and he knows full well Medicare can still not be sustained. The only way to “sustain” it is through more deficit spending, way more than the trillions in debt we currently have since the population is aging. Medicare would have been in bankruptcy court by now, and its officials fined or jailed, if it were a private entity.

What was the point of the Tea Party? What was the point of kicking Democrats out of Congress? The reason for doing so was out of control government spending. But the deficit and national debt continue to grow.

The rationalization is clear. When the economy is doing well, government must increase spending because — well, it’s not right for some to do well and government to leave others behind. When the economy is not doing well — then, of course, government must intervene. No matter what’s happening with the economy, government will intervene and increase spending either way. No matter who’s in charge, Republicans or Democrats, the trend is the same. Nothing has changed, and nothing is going to change in the political status quo. Neither party has credibility on this issue, and there’s nothing to expect but further growth of government, as far as the eye can see.

I would love to see a “bipartisan consensus” which involved plans to privatize Medicare and Social Security. I would love to see a “bipartisan consensus” to cut (if not eliminate) capital gains and income taxes, across the board. I would love to see a “bipartisan consensus” to start defunding government agencies that do nothing but violate individual rights, undermine economic growth and serve the political interests of the powerful. I would love to see a “bipartisan consensus” of even small steps in that direction (although I fear it’s too late for small steps).

Why does “bipartisan” only mean one thing — preserving and expanding Big Government as we know it? Why do the media and the elites celebrate bipartisanship when they know full well it can only mean one thing — Obama and the Big Government advocates who still dominate Congress got what they wanted?

Democrats and Republicans who support Big Government were outraged by the Tea Party. They won the first round of battles and probably feel they won the war. Obama is poised for reelection and it’s possible Republicans will lose some of the Congress. But what kind of victory do they really have? The victory of presiding over a nation whose citizens feed off the government and each other? Governments that seek to do unlimited things will sooner or later need the means for putting their plans into action. Obama is already calling for more taxes and more government regulation and redistribution than this country has ever known. Until more people rebel against the idea of government doing so much and becoming so big, the Obamas and Boehners of the world are doing to keep winning. And they’ll have the “pleasure” of presiding over a once great nation in decline.


Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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