« | »

WSJ/GOP Ruling Class Attack The Tea Party

This is the pronouncement from the Republican Ruling Class, via the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal, that John McCain read from on the floor of the Senate yesterday:

The GOP’s Reality Test

Republicans who oppose Boehner’s debt deal are playing into Obama’s hands.

July 27, 2011

The debt-limit debate is heading toward a culmination, with President Obama reduced to pleading for the public to support a tax increase and Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid releasing competing plans that are the next-to-last realistic options. The question now is whether House Republicans are going to help Mr. Boehner achieve significant progress, or, in the name of the unachievable, hand Mr. Obama a victory.

How will Obama get tax increases thanks to the House Republicans?

Mr. Obama recognizes these stakes, threatening yesterday to veto the Boehner plan in a tactical move to block any Democratic support. The White House is afraid that it will pass the House and then become the only debt-ceiling vehicle if Mr. Reid can’t get 60 votes for his own proposal in the Senate. This would short-circuit Mr. Obama’s plan to blame the GOP for a U.S. credit downgrade, any market turmoil, a possible default, and the lousy economy too.

Nothing will short-circuit Mr. Obama’s plan to blame the GOP. He has the media. The GOP will be blamed no matter what happens.

Under the two-phase Boehner plan, Congress would authorize $1 trillion in new debt in return for $1.2 trillion in budget cuts over the next decade. Most of that will come from caps on domestic discretionary spending over 10 years—the Pentagon and homeland security are exempt—with automatic spending cuts if the caps are breached. While one Congress cannot bind another, the proposal would at least guarantee real reductions in fiscal years 2012 and 2013.

These "real reductions" amount to $100 billion a year. The US government spends $10 billion dollars a day. 40% of which is borrowed.

The credit rating agencies have said they might not downgrade the our bond ratings if we ‘default." But that they will do so if the government does not come up with a "credible plan" to make significant cuts.

The Boehner plan does not make significant cuts, so they will lead to the downgrade that the Wall Street Journal pretends to be concerned about.

In the second stage, the House and Senate would convene a 12-member joint select committee with a deficit reduction goal of $1.8 trillion by November. The majority and minority of both chambers would each make three assignments, and any plan that secured seven votes or more would get an up-or-down vote in both chambers with no amendments.

The danger for the GOP is that the committee could end up proposing tax increases, since the committee’s only remit is the deficit, not the larger fiscal landscape or the size of government. A poorly chosen Republican nominee could defect, and any structural change to entitlements almost certainly can’t pass the Senate.

Then again, unless the plan passed, Mr. Obama couldn’t request the additional $1.6 trillion debt ceiling increase that he would soon need. The political incentive is for a reasonable package, and many Senate Democrats also don’t want to vote for tax increases before 2012.

Which amounts to kicking the can down the road, and replaying this same scenario six months from now. Ultimately, this will end in yet another standoff of Democrat tax increases versus Republican spending cuts.

Strangely, some Republicans and conservative activists are condemning this as a fiscal sellout. Senator Jim DeMint put out a statement raking the Speaker for seeking "a better political debt deal, instead of a debt solution" (emphasis, needless to say, his). The usually sensible Club for Growth and Heritage Action, the political arm of the Heritage Foundation, are scoring a vote for the Boehner plan as negative on similar grounds.

But what none of these critics have is an alternative strategy for achieving anything nearly as fiscally or politically beneficial as Mr. Boehner’s plan. The idea seems to be that if the House GOP refuses to raise the debt ceiling, a default crisis or gradual government shutdown will ensue, and the public will turn en masse against . . . Barack Obama. The Republican House that failed to raise the debt ceiling would somehow escape all blame.

Who thinks this? Everyone knows that no matter what, the Republicans will be blamed. Unless things turn our well, then Obama and the Democrats will get the credit. Just as Bill Clinton and the Democrats get the credit for balancing the budget back in the 1990s.

Then Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced-budget amendment and reform entitlements, and the tea-party Hobbits could return to Middle Earth having defeated Mordor.

This is the kind of crack political thinking that turned Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell into GOP Senate nominees. The reality is that the debt limit will be raised one way or another, and the only issue now is with how much fiscal reform and what political fallout.

Why is that the reality? Who says that raising the debt limit is inevitable? If it is inevitable, then why was it ever a law?

Besides, if it weren’t for the so-called "tea party Hobbits" we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. God knows the Solons at the Wall Street Journal have done nothing to force the issue over the last sixty years of runaway spending.

If the Boehner plan fails in the House, the advantage shifts to Mr. Reid’s Senate plan, which would raise the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion in one swoop through 2012. That would come without a tax increase but also $2.7 trillion in mostly fake spending cuts like less government "waste, fraud and abuse" and a $1 trillion savings from troop drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan that are already built into the baseline. As fiscal reform, this is worse than Mr. Boehner’s plan.

The House will kill Mr. Reid’s plan. So why worry about it?

If the Reid plan passes the Senate after Mr. Boehner’s plan failed in the House, Mr. Boehner would be forced to beseech Nancy Pelosi and the White House to deliver Democratic votes to raise the debt limit.


Mr. Obama’s price could be the tax increases that the GOP has so far rejected. But who knows what else Mr. Obama would demand, and Congress might rush through, amid a political panic and financial market turmoil as the Treasury closed down government services to meet its debt obligations.

Who is fear mongering now?

It’s true that the Boehner plan doesn’t solve the long-term debt problem, but Mr. Obama won’t agree to anything that does. The GOP plan also may not prevent a U.S. national credit downgrade, but it has a better chance of doing so than Mr. Reid’s. The Boehner plan is the most credible proposal with a chance of becoming law before the 2012 election.

But if it doesn’t accomplish anything except to raise the debt ceiling, then why do it? Let’s just not raise the debt ceiling and make the federal government cut spending by 40%. The Republicans hold the ultimate club, here.

The financial markets would rejoice in the end. And it would do more to boost the US economy than anything anyone can imagine.

The Speaker has made mistakes in his debt negotiations, not least in trusting that Mr. Obama wants serious fiscal reforms. But thanks to the President’s overreaching on taxes, Mr. Boehner now has the GOP positioned in sight of a political and policy victory. If his plan or something close to it becomes law, Democrats will have conceded more spending cuts than they thought possible, and without getting the GOP to raise taxes and without being able to blame Republicans for a debt-limit crackup or economic damage.

There are no real spending cuts in Mr. Boehner’s plan.

If conservatives defeat the Boehner plan, they’ll not only undermine their House majority. They’ll go far to re-electing Mr. Obama and making the entitlement state that much harder to reform.

If we don’t cut spending now, we never will. If we don’t cut spending, we will turn the Tea Party into the Pitchfork Party.

And, come 2012 there will be a third party. And it will be the Republican Party.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, July 28th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “WSJ/GOP Ruling Class Attack The Tea Party”

  1. proreason says:




    • JohnMG says:

      These people really are clueless. They advocate for tactical surrender on the eve of victory.

      If there was one thing my kids knew for a certainty while growing up, it was that when I said my next act would be to kick their little asses if they didn’t straighten up, their little asses were as good as kicked if they didn’t straighten up!

      Where are the adults in this equation?

  2. Right of the People says:

    Friggin’ RINOs!

  3. Papa Louie says:

    Poor McCain! He’s upset at the Tea-Party Hobbits for stealing his ring of power. He tries so hard to reach across the aisle without turning his back on his friends. But no matter how hard he tries to contort his position, he only ends up putting his foot in his mouth.

  4. canary says:

    McCain may lose his career over this.

  5. artboyusa says:

    Our Overlords, on whichever side of the aisle, will never willingly make serious spending reductions because the ability to take money away from some people and give it away to others of your choice is an expression of their power and trees will grow downwards into the earth before they let go of the power that they went into government to acquire in the first place. So…the power has to be taken away from them..by us.

« Front Page | To Top
« | »