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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Op-Ed Columnist David Brooks Doesn't Understand The Concept Of Republicans Keeping Promises

David Brooks over at New York Times' Opinion page writes a piece which starts by detailing how Republicans have changed American politics by focusing a large spotlight on spending restraint, debt reduction, forcing the serious start to entitlement reform discussions and Brooks determines Republicans have been effective negotiators.

Republican leaders have also proved to be effective negotiators. They have been tough and inflexible and forced the Democrats to come to them. The Democrats have agreed to tie budget cuts to the debt ceiling bill. They have agreed not to raise tax rates. They have agreed to a roughly 3-to-1 rate of spending cuts to revenue increases, an astonishing concession.

Moreover, many important Democrats are open to a truly large budget deal. President Obama has a strong incentive to reach a deal so he can campaign in 2012 as a moderate. The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, has talked about supporting a debt reduction measure of $3 trillion or even $4 trillion if the Republicans meet him part way. There are Democrats in the White House and elsewhere who would be willing to accept Medicare cuts if the Republicans would be willing to increase revenues.

Every item Brooks listed were parts of the Republican campaigns in 2010 before the midterm elections. Promises they made to their constituents. Promises their constituents made very clear would be kept or they would not be given yet another chance to prove they would be fiscally responsible, fight for what their constituents elected them to do.

Emphasis mine in the quoted portion of Brooks' op-ed column above because after stating so clearly what Republicans have done in the short time they had control of the House of Representatives and a gain in net seats in the Senate giving Democrats less of a majority they had before the 2010 midterms, he then decides to have a temper tantrum about Republicans continuing to keep the promises they made in 2010 to win those very seats.

If the Republican Party were a normal party, it would take advantage of this amazing moment. It is being offered the deal of the century: trillions of dollars in spending cuts in exchange for a few hundred million dollars of revenue increases.

A normal Republican Party would seize the opportunity to put a long-term limit on the growth of government. It would seize the opportunity to put the country on a sound fiscal footing. It would seize the opportunity to do these things without putting any real crimp in economic growth.

The party is not being asked to raise marginal tax rates in a way that might pervert incentives. On the contrary, Republicans are merely being asked to close loopholes and eliminate tax expenditures that are themselves distortionary.

This, as I say, is the mother of all no-brainers.

But we can have no confidence that the Republicans will seize this opportunity. That’s because the Republican Party may no longer be a normal party. Over the past few years, it has been infected by a faction that is more of a psychological protest than a practical, governing alternative.

He goes on to rant and rave a bit more but you get the gist, right?

In the original quote up above it states, and I emphasized his quote, that Democrats "have agreed not to raise taxes", then in the second portion he complains bitterly about Republicans not closing tax loopholes and eliminate tax expenditures... all of which is just a fancy way of saying Democrats are still trying to raise taxes using the Democrat's code words for taxes which is "revenue increases."

A normal Republican in Brooks' world would seize the opportunity (meaning quit while ahead), yet the first set of quotes, from Brooks in the very same piece, credit Republican's "tough and inflexible" negotiation stances and saying they proved to be "effective" in getting us where we are today where we are focused on spending cuts and balancing the national budget.

In the bottom portion of his piece he continuously contradicts the very basis of the of the top portion. One has to wonder if he has a dual personality or he truly doesn't understand that Republicans are keeping the promises they made, one of which was to not fold a winning hand, to not stop until we have a balanced budget. Especially when that winning hand has the backing of the majority of Americans.

Every poll conducted of late has shown that two of the top issues in the minds of voters are the national debt and spending cuts. The exact things, along with job creation that Republicans campaigned on and have publicly fought Democrats tooth and nail for, since last November 2010.

This battle is over the debt ceiling. The last one was a budget. The next one might be an appropriations bill or yet another budget bill, but Republicans must, at every turn, with every vote, continue to fight for spending cuts and balancing our budget aka not spending more money than we have. They must continue to fight against the Democratic solution to everything which is spend more/tax more instead of getting their spending habits under control.

Just to put things into perspective.

The Day Obama took office the national debt was $10.626 trillion, today the national debt is $14.396 trillion.

During Bush's two terms the debt increased by $4.9 trillion. (Source, CBS News)

In two-and-a-half years, Barack Obama has raised our debt by almost as much as Bush did in eight.

Oh, and about those taxes?

So far this year, individual income tax payments were up 28 percent to $701.8 billion, while corporate tax receipts increased 5 percent.

Last month's deficit was close to the congressional estimate, with the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Tuesday projecting a $59 billion shortfall in May and a total federal budget deficit of $929 billion, $6 billion less than the deficit last year at this time.

Incoming revenue increased 19 percent, or $28 billion, compared to last May.

Republicans finally understand we cannot tax and spend our way out of this mess, cuts must be made, entitlements must be recalculated and adjusted to a sustainable level, a balanced budget must be created and our politicians must abide by it.

These are non-negotiable promises that were made and that must be kept.

We are done. Compromise time is over.

Fight to get our fiscal house in order and we will vote for you in 2012. Give up that fight, compromise on the promises made, and we will vote your butts out as fast as we did the Democrats in the midterms of 2010.

Yes Mr. Brooks, as your headline says, this is a no-brainer.