Finally, you might point out that things are still in flux. The final deal could come in one phase or two, and we don’t know the exact numbers. My point is, it does not matter that much. A deal will incorporate your — our — fiscally conservative principles, and set us on the right path for our country’s long, necessary journey.
There is only so much you can do in this deal. Put it into perspective. Right now we are on a path to a $26 trillion debt in ten years, and this is using bogus assumptions about growth and interest payments. The federal government spends over $10 billion a day. We have over $70 trillion in unfunded Medicare liabilities. A problem of this size can be dealt with only by persuading the American people what must be done on a consistent basis over a long period of time. It can’t be done with fits and starts and silver bullets. The issue is not where we will be when the debt-ceiling bill is done, it is where we will be in ten years.
We will never achieve entitlement or tax reform with a doctrinaire liberal in the White House. Any agreements to do so in “out years” would probably be unenforceable even if agreement were achieved. And we can only do so much while controlling one half of one branch of government. Ladies and Gentlemen of the House Republicans, you have laid some great groundwork to rectify both of those situations. Now it is the time to accept a well-won victory and move on.
— Fred Thompson, who represented Tennessee in the U.S. Senate from 1994 to 2003, is an actor, lawyer, and political commentator.