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Thursday, July 28, 2011

We Didn't Spend Our Way To Our Debt In A Day And We Can't Cut Our Way Out In A Day

"The only bottom line that I have is that we have to extend this debt ceiling through the next election, into 2013"--- Barack Obama

I understand the resistance by certain factions of the Republican party, Conservative Independents and Tea Party supporters to the new debt ceiling increase proposal the House of Representatives are scheduled to vote on tonight, with less spending cuts than many can genuinely be happy with.

Each battle our Republicans in Congress are fighting against Democrats, to keep their promise to the American people and slash our spending habits to get a handle on our massive debt, is being fought to the very end.

We did not get to over $14 trillion in debt in a day, or with one bill or even in a decade of bad decisions, so one proposal, one battle against the decades long bad spending habits in Washington is not going to dig us out of the hole we are in.

The Republican controlled House passed the Cut, Cap and Balance Act, sent it to the Democratically controlled Senate where Senate Democrats killed it by vote along party lines to table it after Obama threatened to veto it.

It would have provided for the debt increase.

Obama, Boehner and other political leaders negotiated but those negotiations imploded as Obama kept moving the goal posts and insisted on tax increases instead of slashing spending by a great amount, which is what Republicans were insisting on.

Throughout this whole battle we have seen play out publicly, we have seen the GOP fight for what the American people have so overwhelmingly said they wanted. For Washington to quit spending more money than our country has.

First Read provides a look into how much the GOP has gotten in this one small battle in the larger war being waged.

But when you take a step back from the hour-by-hour movements in this debate, it’s obvious how much ground the White House and Democrats have conceded. First, they retreated on their push for a clean debt-ceiling raise. Then they retreated on the size of the spending cuts (now both sides say the cuts must equal or exceed the eventual debt-limit hike). Then they backed away from insisting that tax revenues be included in the final package (both the Boehner and Reid plans exclude them). And now it seems that their final line in the sand is insisting that the debt ceiling must -- in one step -- be raised beyond 2012, versus Boehner’s two-step approach, which would guarantee another debt showdown early next year.

Initially the GOP had a clean concept, if Obama wanted a $2 trillion increase in the debt ceiling, then there had to be $2 trillion or more in spending cuts to justify it.

Republicans are not in control of the Senate or the White House though, so that clean concept became impossible to bring to fruition and this one battle does have an end date, the deadline, so the GOP must force as many spending cuts as possible, take their win and prepare for the next battle to fight for more spending cuts.

We did not spend our way to into this debt overnight and one battle is not going to cut our way of this mess.

Fred Thompson, whom I respect greatly, wrote an open letter to the House GOP, published July 26, 2011, which I think everyone should read.

As someone who understands the pressures and difficulties you have been going through, I want to say, “Congratulations.” You won, and so did the country.

Absent some major miscalculations, within the next few days there will be official acknowledgment of what has already happened.

At the beginning of the debt-ceiling debate, a realistic, optimistic outcome essentially would have been this: The Republicans would take the initiative and put their plan before the American people. The debt-ceiling increase would be accompanied by corresponding spending cuts. There would be no new taxes. You would drive a hard bargain in the face of unrelenting presidential and Democratic demagoguery — some of it on national television — drawing the attention and focus of the American people to the truth about our country’s fiscal and economic situation. Sure, people would initially ask, “Why are the Republicans now willing to take this thing to the wire when a debt-limit increase has usually been pro forma?” But at the end of the day, more Americans than ever before would understand what is going to happen to us as a country if we continue our current path.

In this optimistic scenario, President Obama’s duplicity would become apparent, and he’d be politically diminished as a result. With his eyes firmly fixed on his own reelection, his political journey would take him from first, calling for a budget with billions in new spending, to second, demanding a “clean” debt-limit bill with no cuts, to third, a proposal for a “big deal,” including vague promises of trillions in spending cuts, to fourth — in order to ensure that such a deal was never accepted — making a demand for billions in additional “revenues” over and above what he previously agreed to accept.

Still, you would stand firm. The president would have miscalculated, a strategic blunder that, along with his petulance, left him marginalized. Obama would make a transparent scramble to get back to the head of the parade. There would be last-minute plans and rejections, but, at the end of the day, the president and the Senate Democrats would reveal that they are willing to do almost anything to push the debt-ceiling limit past the next election, thereby avoiding having to face the electorate again on this issue.

My friends, within the next few days, all of this will have happened. I respectfully suggest that you rake in your chips, stuff them in your pockets, and tell the dealer to deal the next hand.

There is more if you care to read it, it is worth the click over.

John Boehner will have a vote on another plan tonight, far less cuts that any true conservative would like, but the increase would be shorter so that the country does not default now and breathing room would be provided to try to find some grand bargain before the next debt limit fight.

Senate Democrats are already vowing to kill the Boehner plan, yet the accuse Republicans of wanting to default on our loans? After they have killed every measure the House has passed to address spending cuts and raise the debt ceiling?

Details on Boehner's debt deal plan from Americans for Tax Reform.

  • Extends $900 billion in borrowing authority (roughly enough for the next six months) in exchange for savings of $917 billion over the next ten years. This is a cut of about 8 percent of total expected discretionary spending for half of a year of borrowing authority.
  • Removes outlay caps from the first version of the bill, reducing the amount of money actually going out the door in next year's budget. This limits budgeted spending to two percent annual growth while tightening the amount of actual spending allowed to occur in 2012. This results in savings of $25 billion next year alone.
  • Proves that the House-negotiated FY2011 Continuing Resolution was a good deal for taxpayers - CBO's updated projections to include the deal show it will save taxpayers $122 billion over the next decade. Under the Obama budget, spending would have increased by over $400 billion in the same time.
  • Requires additional real savings of at least $1.8 trillion before the President can request additional borrowing authority.

Barack Obama has stated publicly he would rather this fight not have to be fought again until after the 2012 elections. That is telling. He is more worried about the presidential election than he is acting responsibly and getting our spending under control.

Obama wants a blank check to get him through the elections. He will not get it.

Here is some raw data showing comparisons of Obama's debt increases in his 2 1/2 years as president and past ones.

The Bottom Line

The GOP has fought long and hard, every single bill that comes up that deals with spending and even adding cuts into bills that do not. They are battling against Obama and Democrats for every dollar they can cut. They are doing the job America insisted they do when voters gave them the largest turnover in House seats in over 70 years in the House of Representatives during the midterm elections.

Is Boehner's deal everything we wanted? No. What we want in spending cuts will not get past the Democratically controlled Senate and if it did the Democratic President has said he will veto it.

That is the reality of Washington at this moment.

We can want a different reality but we can only force a different reality in 2012 when 23 Democratic seats in the Senate will be voted on and when the public will have a chance to either remove Obama or continue to let him spend our money like a drunken sailor.

Cartoon top left by Nate Beeler, via Townhall. Cartoon middle right by Lisa Benson, via Townhall.