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:

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