Saturday, July 30, 2011

Friday's Summary

Briefly, here's where things stand...

Boehner got his compromise deal, but just barely:

Speaker John Boehner pushed his debt-ceiling bill through the House Friday night with the support of 218 Republicans. Here are the 22 no votes:

Justin Amash (Mich.)
Michele Bachmann (Minn.)
Chip Cravaack (Minn.)

Jason Chaffetz (Utah)
Scott Desjarlais (Tenn.)
Tom Graves (Ga.)
Tim Huelskamp (Kans.)
Steve King (Iowa)
Tim Johnson (Ill.)
Tom McClintock (Calif.)
Mick Mulvaney (S.C.)
Ron Paul (Texas)
Connie Mack (Fla.)
Jim Jordan (Ohio)
Tim Scott (S.C.)
Paul Broun (Ga.)
Tom Latham (Iowa)
Jeff Duncan (S.C.)
Trey Gowdy (S.C.)
Steve Southerland (Fla.)
Joe Walsh (Ill.)
Joe Wilson (S.C.)

CORRECTED: Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) voted YES on the Boehner bill. That was incorrect in the initial list. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) has been added to the list.


Note to self: these people are the serious conservatives. I'm very disappointed in a lot of other Reps who I know are solid but went along with Boehner's stupid plan anyway. I'm going to be very interested in hearing how my Rep, Sam Graves, justified his vote.

Anyway, once the House passed it, the bill went over to the Senate...where it was promptly killed:
Well, that was a brief victory for the speaker of the House. As expected, the Senate rejected the Boehner plan by a 59-41 vote. All Democrats voted no. Six Republican senators -- Lindsey Graham, Jim DeMint, David Vitter, Mike Lee, Orrin Hatch, and Rand Paul -- voted against Boehner, opposing the plan from the right. (Note that Hatch must really be worried about a primary challenge.)

So, the question remains: will Harry Reid and the Senate Dems substitute a bunch of their junk and send the formerly Boehner bill back to the House as we discussed yesterday? We'll find out soon enough what the final compromise will be.

Of course, in a beautiful example of just how much compromise there is when elected Dems talk about compromising (emphasis mine):
"Obvious what is being done in the House is not compromise. It is being jammed through with all kinds of non-transparent dealings, people shuffling in and out of the Republican Leader's office. We're recognizing that the only compromise that there is, is mine," Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) said.

Nice. And what was that saying from just a few weeks ago? Oh yeah, that's right: Republicans should sit in the back seat. Sounds very bipartisanshipish and compromisey to me.

Anyway, if Reid does what's expected, what can we expect from his version of the Boehner bill? Higher taxes, gutting the military, fake savings and accounting gimmicks, and the largest debt increase in history, among other things. Basically, everything that Obama and the Dems wanted in the first place, and everything that will continue to damage the American economy. And, of course, if the Senate passes such a garbage bill with just a few hours left before the (artificial) deadline, then the House will have to either go along with it or be left holding the hot potato when the clock runs out.

Nice work, House Republicans. Could you be any more stupid and naive?

In the backdrop to all of this, we see new economic reports showing that the second quarter was awful, the first quarter was revised down from awful to abysmal, and now they're going back to re-calculate everything from 2007 forward because they've been jiggering the numbers since then. In fact, things are getting so bad that illegal aliens are flocking back to Mexico, where the unemployment rate is less than 5%. If that doesn't say it all, nothing does.

But it's still the Republicans who are the economic terrorists, of course.

But at least Americans are starting to see and acknowledge who's really the problem here. A recent Gallup polls shows Obama losing 10 points in favorability over just the past week, dropping to the lowest level since he took office.

It truly boggles the mind how the Republicans failed to see that they are the ones with all the leverage in this situation, and acted like the losers they apparently are.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Morning Debt Battle Update

Well, well, well...are conservatives in the House causing such a ruckus that they're finally getting through to the GOP leadership? Maybe so...



More details from Jennifer Rubin here:

A House aide just e-mailed me: “Buckets of crazy.” That’s as good an explanation as any as to why Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) won’t be able to hold a vote tonight on his debt-ceiling bill. The burn-the-building-down set is weakening, but the speaker is still short on votes.

A more optimistic take came from a senior House leadership advisor, who told me that some key members had asked to sleep on it. There is sometimes a point in a negotiation (which is what this is) when it is counterproductive to push on. As the advisor explained: “The speaker was not going to force a midnight vote. We’re not going to do that on something this big.”

...

There are a couple of benefits to drawing this out (although I have no indication whatsover from conversations with half a dozen House Republican offices this evening that the delay is attributable to anything other than difficulty in rounding up the votes). First, Boehner will certainly have a strong argument that nothing OTHER than this bill can get through the House before August 2. And second, as time slips away, there is less and less time for the Senate to come up with an alternative that can pass both houses by August 2.

The smart money is still on the eventual passage of the Boehner bill. But it’s not going to happen without extracting every last drop of patience from the American people, not to mention the media covering one of the most agonizing votes in recent memory.


I find this update later to be veeeeery interesting:

A House aide who was present for much of the wrangling tonight said “we were a number of votes short.” Five? Twenty? “Somewhere in there,” he answered.

He said the opponents were “a mix of freshmen and others.” In particular, South Carolina representatives were “a problem.” He spoke derisively of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who has been working with the House delegation: “These guys now have a new leader -- this guy Jim.”

Jim DeMint, if you don't know, is one of the staunchest, most steadfast conservatives in Washington, and has shown over and over again that he will stand for his principles no matter what the opposition says or does. If he is working with a bunch of 'freshmen' -- many of whom were elected precisely because they pledged to get in there and shake up Washington while cutting back the size of government -- this is good, good news to me.

Still, much remains to be done, and that includes you. Have you called yet? If not, today may be your last chance. If you have, call again. Trust me, the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Here are a few points to consider on the subject:

(1) House Republicans are walking into an enormous trap. The Boehner plan is sufficiently similar to the Reid plan, in virtually all important respects, that its passage will lead to the following compromise:

  • The adoption of Boehner’s ten years of sham cuts,which will be ephemeral beyond fiscal year 2012. Even John McCain said tonight that Gramm-Rudman (whose “sequestration” provisions are the enforcement mechanism for Boehner) became worthless because Congress just started declaring emergencies.
  • A commission which will report out large tax increases which cannot be filibustered. The “deciders” on the commission will be six Pelosi/Reid people and one squish Republican, who will be corralled into submission by:
  • A “trigger” which will make the pressure currently being applied to Congress seem small by comparison.

(2) Unless you can guarantee that it will go to the states, a guarantee of a losing vote on the balanced budget amendment is worthless.

(3) Dick Morris is correct that if Tuesday comes and goes, with only a shut-down of unessential government agencies, the American people will see Obama’s fear-mongering for what it is.

(4) Furthermore, as 2008 taught us, the GOP can sell all of its principles and spend the better part of a trillion dollars and the stock market will still continue to fall –- particularly since Standard & Poor’s is about to downgrade the U.S. for being too timid in debt reduction.

(5) Finally, Obama is currently reeling from his poor stewardship. For Republicans to capitulate and give him a “compromise” will reset him on a glide path to reelection. The liberal media is currently “spinning” that Republicans have won, but, after they lose, their surrender will be reported for what it was.


I heard a radio interview this afternoon that explained another plan that I really like. It's called the Mack Penny plan, proposed by Rep. Connie Mack out of Florida. Here's the nutshell:

Presently the Mack Penny plan enjoys the support of over 40 co-sponsors in the U.S House; the backing of the Republican Study Committee’s 103 Members, three key U.S. Senators, and two grassroots organizations .

The Penny Plan balances the budget by:

· Cutting total federal spending by one percent each year for six consecutive years,

· Setting an overall spending cap of 18 percent of gross domestic product in 2018, and

· Reducing overall spending by $7.5 trillion over 10 years.

If Congress and the President are unable to make the necessary cuts, the bill’s fail-safe triggers automatic, across-the-board cuts to ensure the one percent reductions are achieved.

It's hard to get much more simple than that. And it plays nicely with common sense. Just think about it - how much does it hurt to cut your expenses by 1% (the name of the plan comes from the idea of cutting one penny from every dollar)? Not much. If you make $50k a year, this would mean spending $500 less, or roughly $42 a month. If you were facing bankruptcy and the repossession of your home and everything you owned, would you think about cutting back from your 1000-channel cable package to basic cable with 100 stations to save that money? Would you consider cutting the minutes on your cell phone plan to save that money? Would you consider eating out one or two less meals a month to save that money? Sure, you would. In the fact of impending financial disaster, it's an easy sacrifice to make.

Well, America is staring into the face of a monstrous financial disaster, and cutting one percent of its spending every year should be easy to do. I like Cut, Cap, and Balance, but I like the Penny plan, too. Might be worth mentioning to your Rep when you call.

Now let's look at the other side of the house. There's nothing responsible, bipartisan, or leader-like about the Democrats right now. On top of the absolute refusal to do anything to resolve this financial mess we're in (other than making it worse), the Dems are doing everything they can to ratchet up the hysteria. The top Democrat in the House, Nancy Pelosi, laid this wonderful gem yesterday:
Nancy Pelosi on today’s vote: “What we’re trying to do is save the world from the Republican budget. We’re trying to save life on this planet as we know it today.”
Really? That's what you have to contribute here? Thanks for being so, so helpful.

But it doesn't get much better from the top Dem himself. It appears that if a deal isn't struck, Obama is considering invoking the 14th Amendment to deal with it on his own. This will be a legal and political maelstrom, and Obama's decisiveness is something that has been rarely seen over the past two years, so this is obviously something they'd rather avoid. It should also be noted that this kind of dangerous unilateral action is what's so undesirable about a monarchy, and the kind of thing that should never happen in a representative republic like America. But, they're using the threat of this action as a club to beat down Republican opposition:
If there is no clear path out of this morass by tomorrow, sources say that administration officials will likely brief the public on how the Treasury Department will try to handle the bills Congress mandates that the government pay given a situation where Congress has not given them a way to do so.

Look for that briefing to come no earlier than Friday after the markets close at 4 p.m. ET, sources say.

Officials are most concerned about paying the interest on the existing debt, since failure to do so would result in default and almost certain immediate market panic, as well as questions about how Treasury would be able to roll over a pre-existing $87 billion in debt that comes due next week.

After that — a list of priorities, not all of which that can be met. Social Security checks? Medicare? Government workers? Pentagon contractors? Troops’ salaries? The FBI?

Why the fear-mongering? Do we really believe that if push came to shove Obama would release hardcore criminals from prison? Would he really cut off Medicare or Social Security checks? Not a chance. I could see him hammering the military, which would be shameful, but any one of these things is going to cause such a massive blowback from the American public that I'm not sure he'd be able to get away with pointing the finger at the Republicans. Yeah, he'll argue that they forced him into it, but the reality is that the question of which checks get paid first rests on him alone. If someone gets screwed, it happens because Obama doesn't think they're important enough to be at the top of the list.

Here are a few more things to keep in mind.

Why August 2nd? What's so special about that date that a deal has to be struck by then? The answer is: nothing. The only significance to that date is that it's when Congress usually goes home for the August recess. That's right, Obama and the Democrats have established August 2nd as some mythical drop-dead date to avert a crisis...but in reality, the date of a theoretical default is in September. The only thing they're trying to avoid by using August 2nd is having to put up with angry constituents throughout the month of August - they had enough when Obamacare was the hot topic, and they don't want to deal with that again.

We're going to be downgraded anyway. I hate to break it to you, but it's pretty much a foregone conclusion. The big debate right now over the debt limit really isn't even the key point. The key point is the spending. Moody's and Standard&Poor's are saying that even if the Boehner bill passes, it will really have no effect on the decision to downgrade us because it doesn't fundamentally change how much spending is going on. They're saying that immediate spending cuts of $4 trillion minimum are necessary for them to consider keeping America at a 'AAA' rating. Like I said yesterday, at this point Congress is just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Baseline budgeting. Even if the Boehner plan goes through, and even if these promised $1 trillion in cuts occur over the next decade (and it's a virtual certainty that they won't), the bloated U.S. government will be trillions of dollars bigger anyway. The dirty little secret is called baseline budgeting, and it's how Congress has operated things for decades. The core idea is that there is an automatic increase of 7.5% in operating costs from year to year. So, this year the budget was something like $3.7 trillion. Even if Congress doesn't increase spending at all, next year's budget will be in the neighborhood of $3.9 trillion. The year after that it will be roughly $4.3 trillion. The year after that it will be $4.6 trillion. Get the picture? It's an automatic increase. All of these 'cuts' that are being debated in the Boehner plan are not actually cuts - they're reductions in the amount of increase. So, instead of the 7.5% automatic annual increase, it might be only a 7% annual increase. Or whatever, I don't know the actual number. The point is that government will still grow.

The Penny plan I mentioned above would be an actual cut. If this year's budget is $3.7 trillion, next year's would be $3.6 trillion, and so on. This is how a tiny 1% cut each year will save us $7.5 trillion and bring the budget into complete balance in about just years.

Finally, let's remember who put us in this position. Yeah, it took both parties decades to build the foundation of our massive debt and reckless spending habits. But, starting with the Democrat-controlled Congress in 2007, spending has skyrocketed out of control, and Obama's spending binge starting in 2009 has thrown fuel on the fire. Recall the deficit picture over the past decade or so:


The big deficits that threw Dems into hissy fits back when George W. Bush was President were on the order of $200-300 billion. Now Obama and the Dems have racked up $1.6 trillion deficits for the indefinite future. In terms of the overall debt, look at the indisputable historical facts:

Date Dollar Amount
09/30/2010 13,561,623,030,891.79
09/30/2009 11,909,829,003,511.75
09/30/2008 10,024,724,896,912.49
09/30/2007 9,007,653,372,262.48
09/30/2006 8,506,973,899,215.23
09/30/2005 7,932,709,661,723.50
09/30/2004 7,379,052,696,330.32
09/30/2003 6,783,231,062,743.62
09/30/2002 6,228,235,965,597.16
09/30/2001 5,807,463,412,200.06
09/30/2000 5,674,178,209,886.86

It took 235 years to rack up $8 trillion in debt. Since 2007 -- just four years -- Democrats have almost doubled that amount. Can you imagine what this chart will look like after another four years of Obama running the show?

America can't afford Democrat leadership any longer. America also can't afford Republican squishiness like what we're seeing from Boehner and the other compromisers. It's absolutely critical that we make a distinct course change NOW before it's too late.

That changes starts with killing every plan currently on the table. Congress needs to pass Cut, Cap, and Balance or the Penny plan, but they won't do it without immense pressure from American citizens who understand what this country faces better than our elected representatives.

PICK. UP. THE. PHONE.

-------------------------------------

"But with respect to future debt; would it not be wise and just for that nation to declare in the constitution they are forming that neither the legislature, nor the nation itself can validly contract more debt, than they may pay within their own age, or within the term of 19 years." -- Thomas Jefferson, 1789

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sadly Accurate


Unfortunately, the Republican leadership appear to be occupying the co-pilot seat. Doubly unfortunate is the fact that you and I and the rest of America is locked in the back of the cabin, pounding on the door and shouting at the idiots up front...but being ignored.

Debt Battle Mid-Day Update

Just a couple things to update you on what's going on.

The American public is pessimistic that any significant spending cuts will actually materialize.  That's probably because Americans aren't stupid, and know that they never have in the past.  What remains a mystery to me is the fact that GOPers in Washington are either too stupid to figure this out on their own, or are so arrogant that they think we're too stupid to figure out that what they're doing is merely rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

But, as per their usual playbook, the Democrats have -- in lieu of making an actual proposal of their own -- resorted to mocking and slandering the GOP.  This time the Republicans are trying to ruin Christmas.  It would be humorously silly, if there's weren't so many mind-numbed robots out there listening and believing that tripe rather than open their eyes to see that the Dems are obviously content to let the economy run itself into the ground as long as they're controlling the crash (while blaming Republicans, of course).  It's pretty astounding, really.

Anyway, there's apparently a war in the GOP, as the leadership is trying to whip the numbers into shape, but conservative members of the House -- fueled by continued rage from constituents -- are resisting the transparent and destined-to-fail Boehner two-step plan and insisting on Cut, Cap and Balance instead.  Which side will win?  That remains to be seen, and you can have some influence on that if you're willing to make a call or two.

The bottom line is that the current Boehner plan is still a non-starter.  This quote from an anonymous Democrat is just more proof it's a trap:

"The press will obsess about [today's House] vote [on the Boehner Two-Step], but at best it is an exercise in political machismo, at worst it is the beginning of the most irresponsible act in Congressional history. The House bill is dead on arrival in the Senate — at least 58 senators are on record saying they won't support it. That's worse than Ryan and cut, cap and balance. Once the vote is over, Speaker Boehner needs to begin immediately working on a way out of the mess Cantor created. If he doesn't, we could be in big trouble. There are dozens of possible compromises — he just has to take one. Reid, McConnell and the White House have plenty of options. The question is: Will he choose compromise for the sake of the country, or political grandstanding for the sake of his caucus?"

Okay, so the current line is that this is the best deal the Republicans are going to get.  Really?  The Cut, Cap and Balance bill got more votes in the Senate than that, so if the interest really is in getting the 'best deal we can get', then why not go with what GOP constituents want anyway?

From what I'm seeing, it appears that this is the likely scenario that will play out if no further major changes are introduced.  The House will pass the Boehner bill, sending it to the Senate.  The Dems in the Senate will take that bill, pull out what they don't like, throw in some new tax increases, and pass it right back.  That would force Boehner and the House to either pass what the Dems wanted all along or kill his own bill (or the skeleton of it), and it wouldn't be a surprise if the Senate passes it back literally at the last minute - this would prevent Boehner from having time to come up with yet another alternative, and he would be the one left holding the ball when the clock runs out of time.  Either way, Obama gets his tax increases and immediate debt limit increase, and Boehner loses.

As does America.

It sounds like the House is going to have a vote on the Boehner two-step plan this evening, so you have just a few hours left to call in and demand they stand firm for Cut, Cap, and Balance.

More updates as new developments occur.

Crunch Time

All right, it's crunch time, and this update will be short and sweet. If you have yet to call your House Rep, now's the time to do it. A vote is imminent, and Boehner thinks he's got the votes to pass his newly revised plan despite a freshly printed letter from all 53 Democrats in the Senate declaring his bill is DOA.

Not only do I think Erick Erickson at RedState is dead-on right, but he also uses a Star Wars metaphor ("it's our Admiral Ackbar moment"), so I'll quote his latest here:

As you wake up, here is what you need to know.

John Boehner thinks he has the votes to pass his third plan out of the House. Work to make sure he does not by going to http://www.redstate.com/action and calling your member of Congress. Tell them to oppose Boehner’s plan.

Even if you are sympathetic to Boehner’s plan, here is why it must be killed — it is a trap.

Pay attention please.

Harry Reid and all the Senate Democrats have sent John Boehner a letter saying they will oppose his plan in the Senate. In other words, Boehner’s plan, given the GOP votes in the Senate pledged to vote against it, will get less votes in both the House and in the Senate than Cut, Cap, and Balance.

Here, though, is why it is important to kill John Boehner’s plan this very morning before today’s vote.

John Boehner’s plan will get to the Senate. Harry Reid’s plan isn’t even in final form and has not even started making its way through the Senate’s arcane processes. It is a trap.

Harry Reid will amend John Boehner’s plan and include parts of Reid’s own plan that make tax increases even more likely than Boehner’s already does.

Senate Democrats last night were beginning to talk about adding the Gang of Six’s very bad plan to it as well — a trigger that would be engaged should the Democrats then refuse to reform entitlements, i.e. a trigger the Democrats will gladly engage because the Gang of Six plan raises taxes, including getting rid of the employer credit for active duty military reservists and raising the capital gains tax from 15% to 28%.

Then the Senate Democrats will send John Boehner back his own plan and dare John Boehner to kill his very own proposal. Should he try, the GOP will look as hardline and unwilling to compromise as John Boehner’s acolytes have been accusing conservatives of being this week.

In other words, John Boehner, once he sends his plan to the Senate, will yet again get played and the GOP will be forced to either accept Harry Reid’s awful changes or be blamed for causing the nation’s default — the very thing the GOP has sought to avoid.

Oh, and should the GOP fold and pass the modified Boehner plan, they’ll still get blamed for us losing our credit rating. Even with Boehner’s revisions, the Congressional Budget Office says the plan doesn’t cut even $1 trillion. It doesn’t meet S&P’s requirements.

Well done, Republicans.

The only thing we can do is call our congressmen and prevent them from voting for this suicide pact. Go here now.


From another post yesterday, this sums up the boiling frustration and rage at the GOP from its own base (emphasis mine):

One week ago the entire conservative movement was unified behind Cut, Cap, and Balance as was both House and Senate GOP caucus — no small feat to be sure.

Then, because Harry Reid denied CCB a vote through a procedural motion, John Boehner produces a crackpot plan that rips the conservative movement apart at the seams and after taking two stabs at it, still can’t get to the promised $1.2 trillion in cuts he initially claimed it would have.

The bill is being whipped against by Pelosi (which CCB was not) and will likely draw less Dem support than CCB. The bill is said by Reid to be DOA in the Senate.

But Boehner believes that it is strategically smarter to die on this hill and force it down Senate Dems throats rather than try to do that on a bill in which he has the support of all his members, all the movement, and 66 percent of the American people.


These people apparently can't figure that last part out.

*sigh*



Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Beating The Dead Horse

Another day, another compromise. Another day, more political gamesmanship. Another day, more lies. It's Washington business as usual, so let's take a look. Once again, we'll focus on both sides of the issue - Obama and the Democrats, and Boehner and the Republicans.

First, the GOP.

The new plan is not good enough. While it does accomplish a couple of things (forcing the debt limit issue again prior to the 2012 election, no explicit raising of taxes, etc.), it lacks the real punch needed to change course:

We have asserted ad nauseam that any proposed budget plan that fails to countermand the current prodigal spending levels, including the modestly reduced spending levels of 2011, is not worth the paper it is printed on. The CBO estimates that Boehner’s $1.2 trillion in discretionary spending cuts will only save us $850 billion over ten years. This means that Obama’s credit card increase will be higher than the concurrent spending cuts, thus voiding the promise of the dollar-for-dollar agreement. Moreover, the CBO estimates that all the cuts will be backloaded, as the estimated savings for next year – the only enforceable year – will be a negligible $1 billion! It turns out that an extra $4 billion in mandatory spending for Pell Grants will ostensibly wipe out any savings from the paltry discretionary cuts.

This plan is worse than a strikeout; it’s a ground ball into a double play.

A mere lousy plan would have destroyed our leverage over the debt ceiling fight; Boehner’s plan obviates our future leverage over the FY 2012 budget fight in late September as well. The House-passed budget resolution, known as the Paul Ryan budget, authorized $1.019 trillion in non-emergency discretionary spending for FY 2012. Boehner’s bill authorizes $1.043 trillion.

Additionally, all the reforms in entitlement and welfare spending that were adopted in the Ryan budget (including reforms of Pell Grants) will be jettisoned and exchanged for a grand bargain formulated by the Super Commission.
And we discussed yesterday how every previous commission has worked out: FAILURE. Upon hearing the news from the CBO, Boehner has committed to re-write his bill to cover the difference, but it is fundamentally lacking. Even conservatives who find much to like about the plan are saying it's a non-starter.

Isn't there a real solution out there?

Why yes, yes there is: Cut, Cap, and Balance. Many conservative members of the House are clamoring for it, even to the point of rebelling against Boehner's plan. I don't know if you were trying to call or e-mail your representatives yesterday, but if you were, you probably didn't get through. Most (if not all) of their contact websites were down, and the switchboards were at capacity trying to handle the angry calls from people demanding fiscal responsibility. CCB would have a real and tangible effect on the economy, and show the world that our leaders are serious about getting the reckless spending under control and preventing a default (
in fact, three smaller ratings agencies have already downgraded America). Boehner needs to get this through his thick skull and rally the troops under this flag, forcing the Democrats and Obama to either get on board for America or defend why they wouldn't. It would be quite easy, in fact, because most of the troops are already rallying...they just need him to be the leader and push the issue forward.

We'll come back to the GOP in a moment, but let's now turn to Obama and the Democrats.

It must be very taxing for the Perpetual-Campaigner-In-Chief to have to actually deal with being held accountable for his policies and decisions. For example, in 2008 his final campaign ad asked whether or not Americans were better off than they were four years ago. Ironically, the same question can now be asked of him, and the answer isn't to his liking. That probably goes a long way in explaining why his approval rating on his handling of the economy has plummeting to a new low - under 40%. His overall approval rating is just slightly higher - 43%. He's even losing his own base:
The Post-ABC poll found that the number of liberal Democrats who strongly support Obama’s record on jobs plunged 22 points from 53 percent last year to 31 percent. The number of African Americans who believe the president’s actions have helped the economy has dropped from 77 percent in October to just over half of those surveyed.
It doesn't take Karl Rove to figure out that means big trouble for him in 2012.

Oh, and in case you're keeping track, there is still no plan from the White House. Obama has gotten so ridiculous with his incessant wailing about needing a plan from Congress while putting forward no plan of his own that even the White House reporters are starting to heckle his spokesman. Watch (the whole thing is entertaining, but the first 2 minutes are sufficient to get the point):



While publicly threatening to veto essentially anything with Boehner's name on it, it's an empty threat. Not only does Obama not have any better option, but he is also quietly reassuring banks that no default will occur. In short, it looks like any deal that can make it through Congress will get the President's signature out of sheer desperation because Obama knows he will not survive being the only one to prevent any deal from going through, especially after ratcheting up the armageddon-like rhetoric and blustering he's been throwing around if Congress can't come up with a deal. He's stuck.

And so, this should be the perfect opportunity for the GOP to both drive a stake in the heart of reckless liberal spending policies, as well as forcing the Dems to do something to benefit America for a change. Instead, we can see the cave coming in slow motion. Erick Erickson at RedState is one of the few stalwarts that I've seen who has been tireless in demanding the GOP pick this fight. Here he is again, verbally pummeling those who are caving for compromise. This is long, but absolutely dead-on:

People want a deal. People want John Boehner’s deal. People are upset with me for not liking John Boehner’s deal. People are telling me, “They only have one house, Erick. You can’t expect them to not compromise. They control nothing.”

I’ve said all along I expect a deal and a compromise. Here’s the problem and I need you to understand this from perspective, whether you agree with me or not.

See, I worked to send people to Washington, DC to solve problems, to make things right, to fix the things that were broken, and to send power back to the states. They are not doing that.

We all saw Democrats go to Washington in 2008 and take the whole thing. They controlled everything and they made everything worse. They passed a stimulus bill that killed or ruined hundreds of thousands of jobs in the private sector while growing the government. They increased dependency on the federal government. And then they passed Obamacare and socialized American healthcare. But it doesn’t fully take effect until 2014. We saw Democrats willing to lose their positions to lurch the nation left.

So we sent to Washington an army of conservatives to Washington to defund Obamacare and stop the White House. And now they’ve gotten there and have refused to fight. They promised and put in writing that they’d cut $100 billion from the federal government budget in 2011 and they ultimately cut only $38 billion. The Congressional Budget Office, when it was done scoring it, said they really were only cutting about $500 million and it would cost more money that it was worth it to actually cut those dollars.

So they said, “But we”ll stand firm on the debt ceiling. We’ll hold the line.” Everybody gave them a pass and said, “Okay, hold the line on the debt ceiling.”

Now here we are the week before the deadline. John Boehner laments they should have done it sooner, but he refused to do it sooner. The Speaker has prevented the Republicans from submitting legislation to ensure we would not default so that he would have leverage over his own members to force them to take a deal. And now they are dealing.What is their deal?

Their deal creates another committee to look at spending — the 18th in the past 30 years. These 18 committees have never done anything except raise taxes. Their spending cuts are put off a decade and future congresses ignore them.

Boehner’s spending caps are easily waived as they’ll be rules, not laws. And they punt.

A lot of you are emailing and getting on twitter saying to take the deal. Take the compromise. Why should we compromise? That’s what we always do. Even when in the majority we compromise. The Democrats didn’t compromise on healthcare. But you people want to compromise. Republicans, whether in the majority or minority, are always compromising in favor of bigger government and imaginary spending cuts.

To make matters worse, why the hell are the Republicans the ones coming up with the plans if they only control one house of one branch of the federal government? Why are they doing it? We’re on the third damn plan. They aren’t even compromising with the Democrats. They are compromising with themselves.

The Democrats are holding their line. The GOP is splitting conservatives. The Democrats are saying “Raise the debt ceiling. Don’t cut anything.” And Boehner is saying okay and putting in cuts that take affect in year eight of ten so none of them will be around to be held accountable. Why?

The GOP came up with Paul Ryan’s plan. They passed it. They took bullets. The GOP put him in a witness protection program and dropped it like a hot potato.

So then the GOP passed Cut, Cap, and Balance and the Democrats beat them up and again accused the GOP of killing grandma. The leadership was lukewarm to it and never fought for it. And immediately after voting for it, the leadership said, “Now, let’s move on to the third plan.”

Are these all just symbolic votes? If so, I’d rather some substance. This symbolism is getting the GOP killed with nothing to show for it.

Why the hell are we on our third plan when the Democrats haven’t even come up with one plan? They haven’t even passed a budget in over 800 days. We’re in this mess because Harry Reid, in December of 2010, refused the raise the debt ceiling so the GOP could own the problem. The GOP fell into the trap with eyes wide open.

And the Republicans are falling for it yet again.

And now I’m being accused of thinking this is all a game even by long time RedState readers. I do not think this is all a game.

I know the credit rating is going to be downgraded and I don’t want it to happen. You people who want the deal are so worked up in emotion that you are ignoring all the facts. Here are the facts:

1. S&P says we need a deal of at least $4 trillion in cuts to avoid a credit rating drop.

2. Neither Boehner nor Reid get us there.

3. The only plan that gets us there is Cut, Cap, and Balance and the GOP is running away from it as fast as they can. The GOP already passed it and it just four votes shy of a majority in the Senate.

No one wants to fight. “No, we’ve already had that vote. It can’t pass the Senate,” they say.

There will be no default on August 2nd. We know it will not happen. How do we know? Because we have more money coming in each month than is needed to pay principle and interest on our national debt. And we have had multiple prior occasions where we have gone passed the deadline and the world did not suddenly end. It is all political rhetoric. Shame on you for succumbing to fear.

Barack Obama does not want to be remembered as the President on whose watch the nation defaulted. His leverage goes away on August 3rd and the GOP holds all the cards. We won’t default. We can improve our negotiating position.

The GOP could hold the line. And because they won’t hold the line, they are tanking our credit behind a bunch of smoke and mirrors. If the Democrats blame the GOP when the credit rating drops, the GOP will damn well deserve the blame if they stick with Boehner’s plan.

They could at least fight to turn the tide. They could at least hold the line.

I couldn't agree more.

Here's where you come in. The more people call and email their elected representatives and demand Cut, Cap, and Balance, the more likely it will be that the GOP grows a spine. Without that...compromise is essentially guaranteed, and that means Obama and the Democrats win both the PR battle and the battle over whether or not spending is reigned in. So, you need to pick up the phone (if the national number is busy, call a local office) and send an email. Demand CCB, and demand no compromise.

On a completely *cough cough* unrelated note, Congressional approval has reached a new record low for the second month in a row at a whopping 6% approval.

In the meantime, all we're likely to get from Empty-Speechifier-In-Chief Obama is more of this:


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Where It Stands Today

Okay, here's the short version. The White House beclowned itself on the issue, transparently demanding that Congress give him a blank check until after the 2012 election, a move that even one of his own former economics advisers calls "a political argument wrapped in economic clothing". Any real work at this point will come from Congress.

Speaking of which, there's a new deal on the table now:

At the Corner, the plan goes like this:

1. $ 1 T in new debt limit ceiiing.

2. $ 1.2 T in cuts... but over ten years, and via caps, which I'm always thinking will be ignored.

3. A twelve man congressional panel formulates ways of saving another $1.6-$1.8 trillion... there are some gimmicks here to get these measures to a vote in Congress, but of course that doesn't mean they'll pass.

Plus, you need seven of 12 to get them to a vote at all.

4. Obama gets to come begging for another $1.5 trillion later.

Good plan? No. For one thing, it makes Obama come back and beg for the rest of his debt limit. I don't mind that part at all, but to Obama, that's the only thing he cares about, so it seems a nonstarter there.

There are no cuts to entitlements -- which is the Congressional Democrats' absolute-must.

There are no tax hikes -- the Republicans' must-have.

But then, it also doesn't do very much to reduce the deficit, either.

The bottom line is that even this new plan will eventually lead to tax increases. The math is really pretty simple. Our deficits are projected at $1.6 trillion per year. This plan would implement $400 billion cuts each year. That would leave us with $1.2 trillion per year in deficits.

Sounds much better, right?


No, not really.
It's still unsustainable. I'm reading that a lot of the debt rating agencies are saying that the U.S. economy will be downgraded for anything short of $4 trillion in real cuts in the near future. Anything else is too little to get us back on solid footing anytime soon. This new plan fails that test, and shows that the entirety of the leadership in Washington (both parties) isn't yet serious about tackling the debt crisis. Oh sure, they're talking a good game, but when it comes time to hammer out legislation, they all back away from real solutions.

But let's look at that commission idea to see if it could work.
Not being a liberal, I have a tendency to want to look at history to see if things have worked in the past, so let's look at the history of these debt commissions:

January 1982 – Commission on Fiscal Accountability of the Nation’s Energy Resources — Debt at $1.14 Trillion

January 1983 – National Commission on Social Security Reform – - Debt at $1.20 Trillion

January 1984 – Executive Committee of the President’s Private Sector Survey on Cost Control in the Federal Government aka – Grace Commission — Debt at $1.43 Trillion

July 1993 – National Commission on Financial Institution Reform, Recovery and Enforcement – Debt at $4.35 Trillion

September 1993 – From Red Tape to Results: Creating a Government that Works Better and Costs Less (Gore Commission) – Debt at $4.41 Trillion

October 1997 – National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare – Debt at $5.42 Trillion

February 1999 – Commission to Study Capital Budgeting – Debt at $5.62 Trillion

December 2001 – The President’s Commission to Strength Social Security – Debt at $5.94 Trillion

August 2005 – National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission – Debt at $7.92 Trillion

November 2005 – President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform – Debt at $8.09 Trillion

October 2008 – Congressional Oversight Panel (Emergency Economic Stabilization Act) – Debt at $10.57 Trillion

February 2009 – President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board – Debt at $10.87 Trillion

May 2009 – Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission – Debt at $11.32 Trillion

September 2010 -The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) comprehensive report titled The Future is Now: A Balanced Approach to Stabilize the Public Debt and Promote Economic Growth – Debt at $13.56 Trillion

November 2010 – Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform – Getting Back in the Black – Debt at $13.86 Trillion

November 2010 – Bipartisan Policy Center (Domenici / Rivlin) – Restoring America’s Future – Debt at $13.86 Trillion

December 2010 – National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (Fiscal Commission) – Debt at $14.02 Trillion

Call me crazy, but I'm pretty sure another commission is doomed to failure.

And yet, we see continued polling supporting leaders who will be fiscally responsible. Why are the Republicans failing to see this?

I think this opinion piece from Ben Howe is dead on:

Late last year, I posted a memo of sorts to anyone who might have listened. At the time, the issue at stake was the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts. As I thought back on that post, I saw editors from the NY Times offering their insights on Obama offering the “truth” while Boehner “did not.” I saw the buildup in the mainstream media as the left, hiding behind their bogus claims of objectivity, used words like “reason” to describe Obama, and “attack” to describe Boehner’s reaction. It is clear that we are at a cross-roads of sorts again, and unfortunately, it is not clear that our own Republican Party is aware of what is expected of them. More than ever, the need to stand firm and reject an inch of movement is what is called for.

I considered writing a new memo espousing the same reasons as before as to why compromise is not always the answer and in fact, is being used as a tool by the progressives to slowly encroach on our lives by chipping away at our liberty, bit by bit.

In the end, I decided I did well enough before and that it bears repeating.

I have grown weary of hearing the calls for bi-partisanship. The calls for “reaching across the aisle” and “bucking your party.” And yes, I’m even tired of that sacred word that hushes the most stubborn of partisans: Compromise. Compromise in terms of leadership or lack thereof. Compromise with ulterior motives and double-speak. Compromise that hurts our country, indeed our world.

To some this is counter-intuitive and in stark contrast to the common wisdom put forth by much of the media. But the truth is, moderation & compromise have a dark and sordid past when it comes to governing nations. It gave us “The Great Society,” which ensured generations of poor on welfare and the end of the need for a father. It gave us the “New Deal” & Medicare, which are quickly bankrupting our country. It gave us the Munich Pact and the Gaza Strip. It empowered North Korea to acquire nuclear weapons and is on a steady path to do the same with Iran.

Some would say it gave us the Constitution and the Emancipation Proclamation, but that is only partially correct. In order for the founders to compromise with one another they had first to establish that they were immovable in their stance against King George. For him there would be no compromise.

In order for Lincoln to bring the States back into Union, he had to stand his ground firmly and go to war with his own countrymen rather than “negotiate” or be “bi-partisan.”

It is not compromise in and of itself that has begun to wear on me. It’s the misuse of it’s purpose. Compromise does not exist for the purpose of mindless moderation. It does not exist to create friends that would otherwise be enemies.

Compromise is a tool for coming to a common understanding, but there must be foundational common interests first. If there is not, then there is nothing to negotiate if your interests are too much in contrast with one another.

Compromise presupposes that there is something you are capable of or willing to give up, which at times needs to not be the case. It assumes that you can get what you want out of the other side without giving up so much that it destroys that which you were trying to protect.

At times, it is best not to compromise at all — to look at the opposition and determine that, not only do they not have anything to offer, but you don’t have anything you’re willing to give up.

In point of fact, you can’t have compromise if you don’t have some aspects of your position that cannot be compromised. To paraphrase Etienne Gilson, there cannot be tolerance without dogmatism. To put it another way, if I’m offered by a murderer to be killed with either a gun or a knife, I’ll choose to not be murdered.

Take note GOP leadership: This is not time to think about the political ramifications. This is not the time to balance against what others might say about you in a campaign speech or television commercial. In short, this is not the time to think about yourselves.

This is the time where you show us why we haven’t given up on you. The time where you force the Obama administration to own the crisis that they have made. Any claims to an inheritance of this problem have completely lost credibility. It’s time for the rude awakening that the left is trying to delay, to finally and at long last happen.

It is time for you to do the right thing. It is time for you to stand up for us.

Stand your ground.

Hold the line.

No compromise.

And since our elected leaders -- even Boehner -- seem completely incapable of that, it's up to us to hammer them with phone calls and emails demanding they do so. They have to be more intimidated by the American people than by the liberals in the Democrat party and the media in order to develop a spine.

Get busy...time is running out, and compromise is near.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Another Update On The Budget Battle GOP Cave-In-Progress

Wow. A lot happened over the weekend on this debt debate. The short version is that Boehner and the GOP managed to hold the line -- so far -- causing Obama to get snitty and back out of the talks. It's probably just as well, as he hasn't really added anything to the process other than throwing fuel on the fire, and he has yet to show even an iota of ability to bring two sides together on anything. Still, the two sides remain -- as of this writing -- deadlocked in opposition.

So, after Obama voted present and left the negotiations to the top Dems and Reps in Congress, it seems there is a new compromise plan in the works.

*sigh*


And, as one can guess, it's not exactly a great deal for our side:

A House Republican who is in leadership called me tonight. He said what we are hearing about — the two tier plan — is “sh*t” and he’s blaming Boehner. He agrees that Boehner is getting nervous and wants a deal.

But this two tier plan seems to be the Republicans’ initial offer. Harry Reid is headed that way. Many Democrats want more.

So keep in mind for purposes of negotiations, House Republican leadership members are already referring to the starting point as “sh*t” and it will only get worse from here.

The details? Only read if you're in a masochistic mood.

One of the ways they’ll claim they are cutting $1 trillion is by pretending the Iraq and Afghan wars no longer exist. They’ll also do another deficit commission.

There have been 17 such deficit commissions in the past 30 years. The net result? Taxes have gone up with just about each one and spending has never actually been reduced. We’ve gone from $1 trillion in national debt to $14 trillion.

Also, the GOP leadership seems to want another debt ceiling vote before the election. This would be political suicide for the GOP. They’d vote to increase the debt ceiling and Barack Obama would get a definite PR win by looking bipartisan right before an election.

I think the congressman is right. This is sh*t.

Dan Perrin at RedState asks how this is a good thing:

It it irrational to expect different results from promising cuts in the future and raising the debt limit immediately.

The Dem trap is simple, wait out and refuse any real cuts, and then use Wall Street and the Federal Reserve and others to force Congress into granting new debt immediately, with promises of cuts in ten years.

The new deal sounds like the same old formula, it will change nothing. This is not serious reform.

No cuts ever stick — USG deficit spending always increases — especially now with the super spending catalyst of ObamaCare — that the Dems refused to amend or change.

With the debt limit gun to their heads and screaming that the GOP is behaving irresponsibility, the Dems refuse serious cuts — you know “automatic” cuts to entitlements or a balanced budget amendment.

With their new found debt limit in hand, under this new deal, they will rejoice and spend, spend, spend and never cut because they can borrow, borrow, borrow.

Here is a newsflash: no one believes the Dems or the Rs will cut — and an immediate debt limit increase coupled with “we promise to cut, really, we promise” just like every other debt limit increase, is not believable or credible.

Trust us, it’s different this time, uh, no.
Here is what it will take to really force change:

The only way to force the Dems to accept a balanced budget amendment or any serious cuts that will bring us into balance, is to vote against an immediate increase in the debt limit.

Stopping their access to the cash is the only thing they understand — once that happens, serious cutting will start, not the let’s-pretend-and-promise, check-in-the-mail, business as usual stuff.

Somehow, the GOP expects Americans to believe “we will cut future spending without a balanced budget amendment” when they say it, but to disbelieve it when the Dems say it.

Really?

And as far as the world's concerns of an American default...
The financial markets may want the stability of a debt limit increase, but the economy will hate the new debt, and it will not react well to new debt now, with promises, promises, promises of “serious” cuts and “reform” later.
More of the same madness that put us into this mess isn't going to get us out of it now.

So let's turn to the broader perspective. Obama has made it plain that he's more interested in working out a deal that doesn't hurt him for his 2012 re-election bid than in actually doing something to help the American economy. Of course, if push comes to shove, the White House has also more or less admitted that they will sign anything Congress puts in front of him.

So, in that context, this sh*t deal is looking even worse. Here's the real infuriating thing about it:

With lawmakers haggling over government debt and consumer confidence at a two-year low, voter confidence in Republicans to handle the economy is growing.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Voters shows that 45% trust Republicans more when it comes to handling economic issues, while 35% put more trust in Democrats. Nineteen percent (19%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

The gap was the closest in years in May when the GOP held just a 46% to 42% lead on the economy, which voters have consistently regarded as the most important of 10 issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports.

Voters now trust Republicans more than Democrats on nine of those 10 issues.
SO WHY ARE THEY DOING THIS?!

Here's what it really boils down to:

A record number of freshmen Republicans were swept into Congress to downsize government in general, and repeal/defund Obamacare in particular.

In April, Republicans had their first chance to fulfill their mandate by passing a continuing resolution for FY 2011 that slashed government and defunded Obamacare. As the clock ticked down to a government shutdown, GOP leaders retreated in fear. They forced the conference to pass a spending bill that maintained funding for Obamacare and only trimmed a paltry $352 million from the deficit, thereby abrogating their popular mandate from just five months before.

But we were told that the CR was not our fight, and that we should remain patient until we are presented with real opportunities; the debt ceiling fight and the Paul Ryan budget for FY 2012.

The Ryan budget, unlike the impending debt ceiling deal, more or less fulfills the mandate of the 2010 freshmen by defunding Obamacare and downsizing government to pre-Obama levels. This is not the RSC plan or a Tea Party plan; it is the plan of the entire conference, supported by leadership. Ever since the budget resolution was adopted on April 15, the House has worked diligently to carry out the budget blueprint and implement comprehensive cuts in every appropriations bill.

But what will come of all those cuts, including Obamacare, when the rubber meets the road in late September?

If GOP leaders could not expend their political capital and fulfill their mandate through the 2011 CR for fear of a gov’t shutdown; if they will not hold the line with the debt limit on August 2 for fear of default, will they hold the line on the Ryan budget on September 30? Will they suddenly exhibit newfound courage in the face of a government shutdown, or was the entire Ryan budget just a charade? They certainly won’t have more fortitude when we reach the next debt limit under this new “two-tiered debt ceiling plan.”

When will the conservatives deliver on their promise to defund Obamacare?

An overwhelming majority of voters support repeal of Obamacare; 66% of adults support Cut, Cap, and Balance; 74% of adults support a balanced budget amendment. Throughout the debt negotiations, Obama has incurred record disapproval, while the GOP has made gains among the young and the poor – those most affected by Obama’s pernicious policies.

If such resounding support is not enough for them to pull the trigger, they will never have the guts to engage in brinkmanship over the Ryan budget in September. There will be no other “bites at the apple” if Democrats know that Republicans will never force the issue.

The bottom line is that Democrats will never willingly sell out, and will go to the brink for their principles. If Republicans don’t match their intransigence with a parallel degree of gumption, all of their promises will remain empty.

Those conservative freshmen will have nothing to show their constituents beyond a non-binding commission and unenforceable baseline spending cuts.

In order to preclude such disappointment, GOP leaders must hold the line on Cut, Cap, and Balance. Additionally, they should opt for a “two-tiered” approach by bringing the Full Faith and Credit Act to the House floor, along with CCB. This would force the Treasury to prioritize its payments to our soldiers and Social Security recipients. Consequently, any default that ensues would be Obama’s prerogative.

To that end, our good freshmen won’t find themselves pondering this depressing question: Is there any purpose of assuming power other than for its own sake?


Apparently not.

A crazy idea is bouncing around in my head. The Republicans won't get a better chance to force real change on Washington. In the process, they'll also give a huge majority of the American people what they want. What's there to lose??

If they cannot...no, scratch that, will not stand up to the pressure and do the right thing right now, it isn't reasonable to expect them to do so in the future. Ever. On any issue.

So, if they will not do it here, what's left for conservatives like me?

I'm reminded of a quote from Ronald Reagan, who started out as a Democrat. Someone once asked him why he left the Democrat party, and his response was, "I didn't leave the Democrat party...the Democrat party left me." That sums up where I am. If the GOP screws this one up, I'm contemplating re-registering as an Independent. But that's just the first step. The coup de grace would be to send a copy of that re-registration to my Republican representatives in Washington with a letter explaining in excruciating detail how they have failed. I wonder if it would have an effect if thousands of disgruntled former Republicans did that.

Food for thought.

Friday, July 22, 2011

End Of Week Update

I had a huge update ready to go in preparation for the big vote on Saturday, but all that has become moot because of this:

When Harry Reid scheduled a rare motion-to-table vote for this morning rather than waiting for the cloture vote tomorrow, one had to presume that he had the votes to kill the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act. He did — but but it was close. From the Boss Emeritus:

Update: 10:57am Eastern…The Senate just voted down the House Cut Cap and Balance bill, 51-46. Reid danced on its grave, proclaiming it “over, dead, and done.” Back to the Democrat plan:

Nothing!

Speaking of which, remember when Reid insisted on Wednesday that it was just terrible for the House to take the weekend off in the middle of the crisis, just in case the Senate needed them to act on a proposal from the upper chamber? Now, apparently, it’s Miller Time, according to Politico’s Manu Raju:

Senators catching flights home now – weekend votes ain’t gonna happen, we’re told

The House has at least proposed two different plans to deal with the debt crisis. The Senate has yet to come up with any plan. Neither has the White House, despite the hysteria over the August 2nd deadline. So why are Senators streaming out of Washington DC, Senator Reid? And doesn’t that make this earlier whining a little more hypocritical?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) confronted White House budget director Jack Lew during a Thursday afternoon meeting about secret talks on a deficit-reduction deal between the president and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

“I’m the Senate majority leader — why don’t I know about this deal?” Reid demanded as soon as the budget director walked into the historic Mansfield Room for a meeting with Senate Democrats, according to a lawmaker who witnessed the exchange.

Maybe if the Senate Majority Leader spent some time leading, he might be important enough to include.

Update: Actually, Reid could have filibustered it had he chosen to do so. I’ve fixed the first paragraph.

Update II: Straight party-line vote. It will be interesting to see how Ben Nelson and Claire McCaskill defend their decision to deny a balanced-budget amendment vote when it comes time to run for re-election next year.


In the case of Claire-bear, I'm not sure it matters. She's already voted for the stimulus, Obamacare, and all the other liberal government explosions over the past two years, so she's in enough hot water that it doesn't much matter.

Still, it's pretty telling that the Dems continue to refuse to put forward any solutions at all (much less solutions that will work) for the major problems facing this nation. They're going to reap the whirlwind in the next election for sure...I just hope it won't be too late to fix the damage they've done.



Related...
Americans approve of the House plan by 2:1 in a CNN poll
Most voters fear Congress will strike a deal that will raise taxes too much and cut spending too little

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Liberal Insanity Like Never Before Seen

Brace yourself, because this one's really, REALLY unbelievable.  No, I mean it.

Yesterday the journal Psychological Science published a paper (abstract here, original here*) that demonstrates:

the mere sight of the American flag can subtly shift their political views… towards Republicanism.  It's an effect that holds in both Democrats and Republicans, it affects actual votes, and it lasts for at least 8 months.

This is a fascinating finding in and of itself, but even more so considering the other recent study that showed

that July 4th parades energize only Republicans, turn kids into Republicans, and help to boost the GOP turnout of adults on Election Day.

So apparently, patriotism is a Republican thing.  (Go ahead now, lefties, get all frothed up).

We looked at that one previously here.  Anyway, here's a bit more on the flag study:

In contrast to people's beliefs, we report two experiments showing that the American flag introduces a bias toward the Republican Party over the Democratic Party.  A single exposure to a small American flag while participants were deliberating about their voting intentions prior to a general election led to significant and robust changes in participants' voting intentions, voting behavior, and political attitudes, all in the politically conservative direction.  In a separate experiment, we replicated these patterns over a year into a Democratic presidential administration.

We also tested the longevity of this priming effect on judgment and attitudes.  Flag priming effects may be especially potent if they occur while a person is consciously deliberating about politics and voting intentions.  We exposed people to the American flag once during such an arguably critical psychological window, and found that the effects from this single exposure lasted up to 8 months later.  This represents one of the most durable priming effects in the cognitive sciences literature, and shows that contextual effects can not only impact important political decisions, but can also have a robust and long-lasting influence.

The author of this RedState post suggests that this explains why the Left is always burning the flag - they simply have a deep-seated hatred for this symbol that reminds them that their beliefs are wrong.

I think it is very interesting to note that we are seeing some increasingly verifiable data to back up conservative assertions that the Left is distinctly anti-American.  What isn't clear is just what Lefty liberals will do about that data.  We've already seen repeated attempts to curtail where and when the flag can be displayed (see here and here for two recent examples), but where will it stop?  Will they ban the flag from all schools or government property because it's 'inflammatory', just like the 10 Commandments?  Make it illegal to have a flag within sight of polling places?  Prevent the use of the flag in campaign commercials?  Ban the flag altogether?

Who knows?  It's ludicrous to think that any of these things would actually be proposed or enacted, but given the obvious lengths these people are willing to go to -- and the well-documented hatred they have of the American flag -- I don't think anything is really off the table.  If you'd asked any red-blooded American fifty years ago if they thought it was even remotely possible that the 10 Commandments would be prohibited from government buildings and school classrooms, they would have given it as much chance of happening as we're probably giving the banning of the American flag.  That's why we need to watch this very carefully and crush anything that would move us toward such ludicrousness becoming reality.

And above all we must remember -- and constantly remind those around us -- of the demonstrable facts that the liberal Left is anti-American and becoming more so with each passing year.  They must be recognized for who they are and what they believe, they must be publicly chastised and spoken honestly about, and then they absolutely MUST be thrown out of power before they can do more damage to this nation than they've already done.  Finally, we must always be vigilant to prevent them from dictating policy ever again.

The work begins now.

Funny Quote Of The Day

"If you voted for Obama in 2008 to prove you're not racist, you'll have to find someone else to vote for in 2012 to prove you're not an idiot."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Closing In On A Deal?

We're getting there. The big news yesterday was the House's passage of the so-called 'Cut, Cap, and Balance' act. This has been one of the only serious proposals in recent months to reduce spending and bring our raging debt under control. Here's the gist:

Defying a veto threat, the Republican-controlled House passed legislation Tuesday night to slice federal spending by $6 trillion and require a constitutional balanced budget amendment to be sent to the states in exchange for averting a threatened government default.

The 234-190 vote marked the power of deeply conservative first-term Republicans, and stood in contrast to stirrings at the White House and in the Senate on a renewed effort at bipartisanship to solve the looming debt crisis.

Hot Air sums it up this way:
Republicans have now passed their second bill this session that attempts to address the exploding deficits and the debt crisis, the first being Paul Ryan’s budget plan in April. Meanwhile, Democrats in the Senate haven’t bothered to pass any budget resolution in over 800 days, and the White House still refuses to offer any specific ideas.
Now the issue is tossed over to the Democrat-led Senate.

Once again, it will be interesting to see if the Dems stick to their strategy of proposing nothing while ridiculing what the GOP passes. As the GOP does more and more real work toward correcting the problems this country faces, it's going to be tougher and tougher for Dems to face re-election next year with this kind of thing being their only selling point. It won't take more than a couple Dems to defect in the Senate to force Obama to either sign off or issue a veto...thus, the pressure on the White House would skyrocket like Obama's gas prices.

So let's look closer at the situation in the Senate. A group of Senators -- the 'Gang of Six' -- has proposed what they're calling a compromise bill that isn't quite what it purports to be:

As a rule of thumb, any idea coming from a gang is not a good one. This holds true in the real world; it is certainly true in the gangster world of the U.S. Senate. Members of the media are agog with glee over the supposed Gang of Six deal to cut the deficit by $3.7 trillion over 10 years. There is much hype over the fact that more than half the Senate attended the unveiling of the proposal, with many Republicans – including those in leadership – offering robust praise for it. Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) is calling for a vote on the plan, even though most of the details don’t exist. ...

...the budget plan is devoid of a roadmap to achieve the alleged $2.7 trillion in cuts and $1 trillion in revenue gains. Furthermore, the proposal relies upon the passage of some conservative reforms, which if seriously drafted, will never be supported by a majority of the Democrat Caucus, including Gang members like Dick Durbin.


While this appears to be a typical Republican fold -- compromising where none is necessary, inevitably benefiting just the Dems rather than both sides -- it's still in the early stages of development. As I understand it, the fundamental problem with this plan is that it promises tax increases now in exchange for unspecified spending cuts later (many details can be found here, if you're interested). Yeah, right. Pop quiz: name one Congress that has ever actually cut spending. I'm not even going to bother researching that question.

House economics rock star Paul Ryan summed up the Gang's plan like this:
“The proposal put forward by a group of seven senators today is a useful addition to the budget debate. I share the frustration that these senators appear to have with the U.S. Senate’s inability to pass a budget in over 800 days. While the proposal lacks detail in many respects, it includes some reforms that could help put our country on a sounder fiscal footing. Most importantly, it reflects a bipartisan recognition that lower tax rates are essential to help spur economic growth. Unfortunately, it increases revenues while failing to seriously address exploding federal spending on health care, which is the primary driver of our debt. There are also serious concerns that the proposal’s substance on spending falls far short of what is needed to achieve the savings it claims. Nevertheless, this effort serves as a sign that we can work together on a bipartisan basis to make a serious down payment now to avert the debt-fueled economic crisis before us.”

Once again, I would argue that the necessity of the GOP to play nice and be 'bipartisan' is seriously non-existent, but I suppose they have to at least say things like this.

Mark Steyn is similarly unimpressed:

If you take the Gang’s figure of half-a-trillion dollars in immediate “aggressive deficit reduction” seriously, that represents about what the U.S. government borrows every four months. What’s “aggressive” about that? And what’s immediate about it? It’s all unspecified “discretionary spending caps” and “process reforms” that will collapse like souffl├ęs ten minutes after the signing ceremony. Obviously it’s appealing to Democrats: It accepts their view that 25 percent of GDP should be the new baseline for national (“federal” no longer seems quite the word) government spending. But what’s in it for Republicans?

We are sending a consistent message to the world that the political structures of the United States do not allow for meaningful course correction. That does far more damage to the “full faith and credit” of America than failing to hike the debt ceiling.



And that is really the root of the issue. This is a typical political ploy to kick the ball down the road so someone else has to make the tough decisions later. Problem is, we don't have time for that now. America's debt problem must be addressed now, or we risk losing the world's full confidence in our ability to service that debt and get our fiscal house in order. If that happens, the international community will flee from the dollar, which will collapse entirely, and our economy will evaporate.

Raising the debt ceiling (which is what the current debate is centered on) isn't a crisis in and of itself, but rather an indicator of how serious America's leaders are about dealing with our debt. If we raise the debt ceiling while simultaneously implementing major spending cuts, the world will be reassured that we're on the right track, and serious about getting things under control. If we raise the debt limit yet again without commensurate reductions in spending -- or, even worse, alongside tax increases -- it will signal that the reckless spending binge the Dems have ridden for the past two years is going to continue, and other nations will be forced to examine whether or not they trust America to keep the house of cards standing much longer.


The action item for us, then, is to call our Senators and strongly encourage them to vote in favor of the House's Cut, Cap, and Balance plan. If we can apply enough pressure to a few key Senators who will be vulnerable in 2012 -- one of whom is Missouri's Claire McCaskill -- we might just be able to force this thing onto Obama's desk. While it is unlikely that a veto would be overridden, it would be a devastating blow to his re-election campaign if he were the single obstacle to real economic restructuring that would address this nation's fiscal crisis.

It's a lose-lose for him, which means it's a win-win for America. Pick up the phone and start sending those emails.