The debate over federal budgeting and debt doesn’t fall within the mission of the Texas Freedom Network, but we admit to being a bit puzzled when we read Texas Sen. John Cornyn’s Houston Chronicle op-ed column about the urgent need to rein in government spending. From his column (emphasis added):
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.
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.
We wonder: where was Sen. Cornyn’s concern about entitlement spending when he voted for President George W. Bush’s Medicare drug prescription program in 2003? That bill, with a 10-year cost estimated in 2009 at more than a half-trillion dollars, was funded through deficit spending. In fact, just a few months before voting for the Medicare drug plan, Sen. Cornyn voted for a second installment of President Bush’s tax cuts, which lowered tax rates on capital gains and dividend income (among other cuts). And, of course, 2003 was the year the United States invaded Iraq — another federal expense funded entirely by deficit spending on Sen. Cornyn’s watch.
Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve noted that Sen. Cornyn’s words don’t always appear to match his actions. During the 2012 election campaign, Sen. Cornyn — who chaired the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) — called Missouri Senate candidate Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin’s shocking comments about rape “wrong, offensive and indefensible” and declared that the NRSC wouldn’t back the religious-righter’s campaign. Then after the election Politico reported that the NRSC sent $760,000 to the Missouri GOP just as the state party was buying TV ads supporting Akin in the final days of the campaign.