If we don't reduce spending and reform our three biggest entitlement programs - Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security - then we will strangle economic growth, destroy jobs and reduce our standard of living. With the national debt above $16 trillion, and with more than $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities hanging over us, our toughest fiscal decisions cannot be postponed any longer.As I wrote yesterday, Cornyn might get what he wants, but it won't be because he forced Democrats into it. It doesn't matter whether he's bluffing or he's serious: In either case, Democrats couldn't ask for a bigger political gift than the prospect of the opposition party threatening to wreck our government and economy unless they get cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. And not only does Cornyn's threat give him absolutely no leverage, it actually could encourage some Democrats who would otherwise support the cuts he's seeking to let Republicans walk into the political nightmare of following through on their threats.
Republicans are more determined than ever to implement the spending cuts and structural entitlement reforms that are needed to secure the long-term fiscal integrity of our country.
The coming deadlines will be the next flashpoints in our ongoing fight to bring fiscal sanity to Washington. It may be necessary to partially shut down the government in order to secure the long-term fiscal well being of our country, rather than plod along the path of Greece, Italy and Spain. President Obama needs to take note of this reality and put forward a plan to avoid it immediately.
Again, I'm not saying Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will be safe from spending cuts. President Obama and congressional Democrats have repeatedly made it clear they would be willing to make such cuts in exchange for additional revenue. And even if Republicans refuse to offer more revenue, there's no guarantee that the president or congressional Democrats will stick by their pledge to oppose any cuts without an equal amount of revenue. But whatever Republicans end up doing, the only way these cuts will happen is if Democrats decide they want them to.
Elections have consequences, and one of those consequences is that President Obama will be in office for another four years and Democrats will control the Senate for at least the next two years. As long as they keep their promises, the only thing Republicans can send over the cliff is their political future.