The Corner

Republicans Must Not Cave

We just can’t cave.

After months of posturing and failed leadership from President Obama and politicians of both parties, the debate on the debt limit is finally coming to a head. 

I honestly believe we have reached a moment in history when the fate of our country is at a crossroads.

Down one road is an uncertain future marked by reckless spending that deepens the debt and deficits that are killing jobs and holding American prosperity hostage. The elites and experts tell us we have no choice but to accept the path of higher taxes and new borrowing. And naturally, they prophesize disaster if we don’t continue down the only path the rest of us know America can’t afford.

But this is the same argument we’ve heard before. Trillions of dollars in spending later and trillions more in the hole, it is time to change course and chart a new direction.

The world will not end if Washington learns to control its spending addiction. In fact, if we can find the courage to curb trillions in reckless spending and slow the runaway growth of government, we can send nations around the globe a simple signal: There is a way to avoid a Greece-like day of reckoning. Spend less. Cut more. And stop making promises government can’t keep. 

Politicians in both parties don’t want to hear this. Too many are willing to compromise. Cut another deal. And kick the can down the road to another Congress, another election, and ultimately another generation.

And this is absolutely unacceptable.

As usual, Washington may not know which way to go, but the American people do. They want the brighter future, and they know it won’t come from Washington spending money we don’t have, on wasteful government we don’t need, and can’t afford

Americans don’t want the debt limit raised, period. And they certainly don’t want it raised unless we make absolutely sure that this is the last time. Ever. And that means trillions in real spending reductions, strict spending caps, and a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.

We want a fiscal policy that instills confidence in the market, and helps our economy grow. And we want leaders with the backbone to make it happen.

That’s why Republicans must not cave.

This is what the election of 2010 was about. We didn’t send conservatives to Washington to flirt with Democrat proposals for higher taxes and more debt. We sent leaders to stop them.

And we must do it by offering clear, honest alternatives. We must stand up to Obama, Pelosi, and Reid and explain to Americans that cutting spending, balancing the budget, and reforming entitlements won’t be easy. But these reforms also represent an historic opportunity to make the kind of changes that will reinvigorate our economy and keep the miracle that is American exceptionalism alive for another generation.

Conservatives like Jim DeMint, Paul Ryan, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, and others get it. They’re moving us in the right direction, but it’s all too clear that they desperately need reinforcements. 

The truth is that if Republicans blink, and cut a deal on the debt limit out of fear of an artificial deadline created by this administration, not only will we risk losing the next election. We will risk losing our country. 

Raising the debt limit without fundamental reforms will tell the world our government has become so corrupted by spending that we are beyond redemption. Our allies will grow more anxious about what a diminished America means for their future. And our enemies will grow more emboldened.

Despite the history of spending abuse by both parties, America remains the greatest nation in the world. Who will step forward now to keep it that way?

Republican leaders have an opportunity to prove that they are the true heirs to those who guided our country through the great challenges of our past. If they cave, this fiscal crisis may mark the beginning of America’s decline. Future generations will know ours as the one that lost America.

But if conservatives rally, hold true to time-tested principles, and stand firm for real spending cuts and budget reforms, this fiscal crisis will become another chapter in America’s amazing story of perseverance, and another example of Americans answering the call.

— Adam Hasner is a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Florida.

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