July 07, 2011

A Counter-Intuitive Approach To The Debt Ceiling/Deficit Issue

Let’s face it – Republicans control only the House of Representatives. We do not control the Senate, and we do not control the White House. While we might like to avoid a significant increase of the debt ceiling, force a decrease in the deficit, and avoid a tax increase, we really lack the power to do so without cooperation from Obama and the Senate Democrats. Unless a solution acceptable to the Democrats is reached, the negative consequences will be ascribed by the media to GOP intransigence and extremism, not the spendthrift ways of Obama and the Democrats. And perhaps most distressing is the prospect of Obama and Geithner attempting to implement the so-called Fourteenth Amendment Solution, whereby they would use a spurious interpretation of the fourth clause of that amendment to grant the Executive Branch unlimitable borrowing authority – because Senate Democrats will not vote to remove Obama and Geithner when they are impeached, effectively ratifying that approach and thereby taking powers conferred on Congress by Article I of the Constitution and placing them in the hands of the Executive Branch instead. We therefore need a creative solution to this situation – and I think I’ve got one.

Now not all of my approach is original. Indeed, it is inspired in part by William Teach of RightWingNews and Pirate’s Cove. It is also a reaction against the “be prepared to shoot the hostage” proposal of Erick Erickson, a guy I respect but whose approach in this case I find counterproductive. The approach is simple, really – pass what I call the “Hope & Change Act”, and make 2012 a referendum on the two stark visions of America.

What would the Hope & Change Act do? Several things. First, it would include no budget or deficit cuts at all. After all, Obama and the Democrats tell us that America needs every bit of this spending, and who are we Republicans to contradict them? They tell us that this spending is good for the economy and that the current Administration is made up of the best and brightest that America has to offer, so who are we buck-toothed, in-bred, ignorant teabagging Taliban Republicans to take issue with the policy prescriptions they are making? So let’s let them have their spending spree, and let the results demonstrate whether they were correct or not.

This will, of course, require that the Hope & Change Act include an increase in the debt ceiling to accommodate the ongoing spending spree – an increase large enough to get us through July 1, 2013. I won’t propose a number because I’m not conversant in the exact dollar figure this would require. But since the suggestion has been bandied about that we need at least a $2 trillion dollar increase, and Obama is now apparently proposing an increase in the debt ceiling of $4 trillion, I’m sure that it would be somewhere in that range. Whatever Barry wants, Barry gets – this is the Hope & Change Act, after all.

Now here is the last element of the proposal – we don’t limit ourselves to just closing some tax loopholes like Eric Cantor and others have been suggesting. No, in the Hope & Change Act we need to give the Democrats what they have been asking for -- the repeal of the “Bush tax cuts for the wealthy”. Scratch that – we need to roll back all the entire tax code to the status quo at the start of the final full year of the Clinton Administration on January 1, 2000. Not just income taxes – capital gains taxes, corporate taxes, etc. Democrats tell us that these higher tax rates will bring in more revenue to the government and help stimulate the economy. Now that means that the “rich” who got tax breaks will have their taxes go up – but it also means that millions of Americans who pay no income taxes because of the “Bush tax cuts for the rich” will also begin paying them again. But we are told by the Left that our tax system was fairer before Bush messed with it, so we simply need to go back to what we had before.

Having passed the Hope & Change Act, Barack Obama and the Democrats will have their preferred budget and spending policies in place. Taxes will be higher, government spending will be higher, and government debt will be higher. They will have to run on those policies, because they are the policies that they have been advocating. And while the GOP will have had to acquiesce in the passage of the Hope & Change Act – call it an act of bipartisanship, given that media’s definition of bipartisanship is Republicans giving the Democrats everything that they want – the leadership and the rank-and-file in Congress (as well as the presidential candidates) will make it clear that they oppose the policies contained in the Hope & Change Act, and will make these policies a campaign issue in 2012. The Republicans could then offer a starkly competing vision – the tax-cutting, deficit-eliminating, debt reducing sort of vision put forth by Paul Ryan and others – as the party’s one and only issue while Obama, every House Democrat, and 23 Senate Democrat caucus members are up for reelection (yes, I know there will be retirements) and shackled to the provisions of the Hope & Change Act. It will, in effect, be a referendum that decides whether America wants responsible taxing and spending policies that put the republic’s financial house in order, or whether we wish to continue the descent from economic superpower to the Western Hemisphere’s equivalent of Greece and Portugal. It will be, to wax Goldwateresque, an election in which the voters are offered a choice, not an echo.

Drastic? You bet. Daring? Sure. But it might just be the nasty-tasting medicine that America needs right now.

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Comments on A Counter-Intuitive Approach To The Debt Ceiling/Deficit Issue

Actually, holy crap - that proposal is BRILLIANT.

If we get 1/2 of what we want, and they get 1/2 of what they want, they'll blame the lousy economic results on us.

I mean, right now they are saying the reason the stimulus didn't work properly is because it was too small. (huh?)

Give them a free hand and let the results stand for themselves. While it may hurt (ok, WILL hurt) there will be no more equivocation on what happened, and what the results are.

Now, lol, when (not if) they fail, it won't be the Dems fault - shoot, just ask them. It'll be greedy bankers, the Middle East, or they'll concentrate on some issue, while ignoring the forest - bit I'd be willing to do this experiment.

And when they are gone - dismantle 1/2 of gov't and get rid of about 50% of the entitlements - or at least push the age of SS# up to 70, make it means tested, and same for Medicade and Medicare.

It would be nice if we could afford to give everyone everything, but, gee, guess what - former pols who are no longer around to answer for what they did lied through their teeth about what was coming and we're freaking broke.

|| Posted by L. Steven Beene II, July 13, 2011 03:54 PM ||
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