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.


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.


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.

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, 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.

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