Paul A. Ibbetson
Intervention failure in Washington: budgets, addicts and enablers
By Paul A. Ibbetson
April 14, 2011

I feel two percent happier today, as that is the amount of the 2011 federal budget that has been trimmed by the recent political negotiations that averted a government shutdown. Here are the numbers: the CBO estimates that our spending for 2011 will be $3.7 trillion. Congressional leaders have just taken the nation through a gut-wrenching, televised mini-drama over the last few weeks and after all the wrangling and tough talk, $38.5 billion in spending cuts, a meager two percent reduction of the projected budget, were agreed upon. Really? That's the best they could do? Let's get real about our country's spending situation.

Washington has an addiction to spending today that is not unlike an alcohol or crack addiction. The failure to reduce spending by any noticeable amount simply places a magnifying glass on a problem that Americans have been opposing for some time. The most unfortunate part of this destructive government spiral is that you and I, the American people, are having the flip the bill for the spending "monkey" that resides on the backs of our politicians in Washington. Both parties are to blame here but the parts they played in this recent budget cutting debacle are different. Let's call them out.

The Barack Obama-backed Democratic Party is on a terminal spending bender. There is no desire to cut spending; there is no acknowledgment that the country is drowning in debt, nothing. Like the addict, liberals are in full denial of their addiction and unless stopped, they are going to ride the "American Money Train" until the wheels fall off. And yes, the wheels will eventually fall off. The Republican Party is in a different position. Their recent ascent back to political relevancy following the 2010 midterm was on a pledge to the American people to reduce government spending.

The recent budget deadline was the golden opportunity for Republicans to take a stand for the American people and truly reduce government spending. If it were to be done, it would have to be accomplished against the vehement opposition of the Democratic Party. This was truly an intervention moment. Republicans had the opportunity to corner Democrats and pull the government spending "bottle" from their lips. It wasn't going to be pretty; interventions never are. Like the addict, Democrats in Washington don't want to give up their addiction and it was not a surprise to see them lashing out verbally at the sight of a potential intervention. Terrible statements such as Democrat Harry Reid's rant that "Republicans want to shut down the government because they think there's nothing more important than keeping women from getting cancer screenings," or the words of Democrat Eleanor Holmes Norton who said that a government shutdown was the "functional equivalent of bombing innocent civilians," or Democrat Louise Slaughter who said that the GOP was here to "kill women," and that Republicans were like "Nazis," were common rebukes from the money-addicted left. These statements were vile and untrue but they were to be expected. You might say it was the "drugs" (money) talking. The idea of cutting spending to any degree literally gives liberals the shakes but that is standard fare for interventions.

No one wanted to see a government shutdown but it was exactly what should have happened when Democrats refused to make meaningful cuts to the budget. The GOP would have been respected by the American people for taking a hard stand for the country's future. Again, reducing government spending is one of the fundamental reasons voters placed Republicans into control of the House of Representatives. Now the GOP looks more like an enabler that buckled under the pressure and handed the bottle back to the addict. We are told that this miniscule budget reduction will be followed by more substantial cuts in the near future. It's hard to feel optimistic about these promises when a golden opportunity for Republicans to take a promised stand for the American people netted only a two percent reduction of an out-of-control budget. Republicans are going to have to step up their game. They made a promise to the American people, and voters are watching closely and taking names for the elections in 2012. It's time for Washington to "dry out" and start spending responsibly.

© Paul A. Ibbetson


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Paul A. Ibbetson

Dr. Paul A. Ibbetson is a former Chief of Police of Cherryvale, Kansas, and member of the Montgomery County Drug Task Force. Paul received his Bachelor's and Master's degree in Criminal Justice at Wichita State University, and his PhD. in sociology at Kansas State University. Paul is the author of several books and is also the radio host of the Kansas Broadcasting Association's 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 award winning, Conscience of Kansas airing across the state. Visit his website at For interviews or questions, please contact


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