Democrats often mistake government spending for kind-heartedness

Clay Olsen

The idea is pushed and pushed and pushed. If you have not succumbed to the message, you are thought of as ignorant, and if you have not heard it yet, you must have just been born or currently reside under a rock. The idea is this: The Republican Party is filled with selfish Americans who despise progress. The Democratic Party, on the other hand, is the party for those who are “progressive” and wish to selflessly help others in need. In this week’s column I will destroy the former notion and question the latter.

This is a popular view, but common sense and reality will give it the lie. First, consider our country’s debt of approximately $18 trillion. Last year we went over the “fiscal cliff” because Republicans would not agree to raise the debt ceiling. When Republicans run for office or propose budgets, some people ask why they will not expand government programs or why they insist on making cuts to these programs. Democrats run and champion their plans to spend more and more on these programs. Why are Republicans so mean and selfish?

The United States currently holds unfunded liabilities of over $115 trillion. Unfunded liabilities are the difference between future government spending and future tax revenue. Most of these unfunded liabilities are a result of Medicare and Social Security. These programs are unsustainable, and whenever Paul Ryan or any other Republican proposes reform, critics say the Republicans don’t care about the poor and elderly. One television ad even shows a Paul Ryan-looking man rolling an elderly lady in a wheelchair off a cliff. Regardless of the reform’s effects, the trimming of these programs is said to be selfish.

Will the debt ever have to be repaid? If not, then we essentially have access to blank checks and should increase our annual deficits. However, if we eventually have to pay back the money we spend on these programs, I can think of no act more selfish than to continue unsustainable spending and push the burden onto the next generation and to those who have not even been born yet. College students, you are getting screwed. You are told that Republicans are immoral, while the politicians telling you these lies are confident that they will have lived a great life of power and luxury and will be dead by the time you get around to figuring out that you must be held responsible for their actions.

Democrats mistakenly believe that the act of spending money that is not theirs is charity. In this sense, they refuse to reflect on how their actions affect future generations, whereas Republicans are forward-looking and conscious of the future. Yet Democrats are said to be “progressive”? There is no creativity or innovation in the Democratic Party. Their game plan is to recognize problems, blame “the rich” and throw money at these problems.

This is what Democrats have done with poverty. Former President Lyndon B. Johnson declared the war on poverty 50 years ago. $22 trillion has been spent on this crusade, but little has changed. This crusade has failed because politicians thought by simply creating centralized, federal programs and increasing spending, the problem would just disappear. Among other things, we need to increase the control the state has over the money spent on welfare. We can also create incentives, through grants, for states that are able to actually lift people out of poverty and generate self-sustainability rather than government dependence.

I am tired of Democrats claiming to be more generous than Republicans simply because they are willing to spend more money. We cannot accept that the only solution to problems that arise is to increase spending. We are smarter than that. It is time for progressives to actually support progress.

Olsen is a finance senior from Argyle. Follow Olsen on Twitter @olsen_clay.