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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Balance: Corker Introduces 'Dollar For Dollar Act' Which Offers Equal Savings To Debt Ceiling Hike

By Susan Duclos

Senator Bob Corker (R) has offered up a bill called the "Dollar For Dollar Act" where for every dollar agreed to for the debt ceiling hike Barack Obama is requesting from Congress is match with exactly equal amounts of savings, making it a deficit neutral bill.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) introduced a bill Wednesday to trade nearly $1 trillion in entitlement savings for an equal hike in the debt ceiling.

Corker said the Dollar For Dollar Act would include $937 billion in savings from Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, with an equivalent, dollar-for-dollar hike to the debt ceiling.

Corker said his plan is based on recommendations from the Bowles-Simpson Fiscal Commission and the Domenici-Rivlin Debt Reduction Task Force.

There is no way Democrats and Obama will agree to anything that is truly "balanced," despite Obama's constant claims and statements to the contrary, as his fiscal cliff initial proposal proves by offering $600 billion is cuts and savings but asking for $1.6 trillion in tax hikes, and $255 billion in new stimulus spending, not even coming close to a balanced approached.

Hot Air shows another way this Dollar For Dollar Act will result in being symbolic:

Why is this more symbolic than meaningful?  At the moment, it’s slightly off-topic.  The big issues being debated in the fiscal cliff negotiations are tax increases, and the budget cuts and sequestration fixes for which Republicans can trade them. Even Corker knows this will have to wait until February, as the GOP doesn’t want to discuss the debt ceiling until next year, since the US won’t hit the current debt limit for another couple of months.

Republicans want that leverage for broader entitlement reform than simply $94 billion a year. That amount of debt-ceiling increase won’t even get the US through one full budget cycle at the current level of deficits, and a $94 billion reduction will hardly impact it.  Finally, the Senate won’t take up anything that doesn’t include tax hikes, which means that this bill will disappear off the calendar in a few days.  Corker can reintroduce it in the next session of Congress, so it’s a basically a symbolic statement at this point in time.

I said it once, I will say it again, John Boehner is negotiating with himself..... and losing.

He needs to stop, walk away and let Obama take us over the fiscal cliff, then early next year before the effects of going off the cliff are felt, start negotiating with more leverage because many of the domestic cuts that will occur are Democratic priorities.

Marc Thiessen over at Washington Post provides examples of those Democratic priorities:

For example:

●The 10 percent income tax bracket would disappear, so the lowest tax rate would be 15 percent.
●The employee share of the Social Security payroll tax would rise from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent.
●An estimated 33 million taxpayers — many in high-tax blue states — would be required to pay the alternative minimum tax, up from 4 million who owed it in 2011.
●The child tax credit would be cut in half, from $1,000 today to $500, and would no longer be refundable for most.
●Tax preferences for alternative fuels, community development and other Democratic priorities would go away.
●And the expansions of the earned income tax credit and the dependent care credit would disappear as well.

Letting these tax policies expire would level the playing field for Republicans in tax negotiations next year. Instead of being in a “box,” Republican leaders would have leverage again — something the Democrats want and would have to make concessions to get.

Bottom line, Corker's bill is a public show of good faith, providing Americans with a hard look at true balance, Dollar For Dollar balance.

In doing so, he sets a  detailed standard, that a Republican has now offered, that shows a balanced approach and compromise.

Republicans can and should use Corker's proposal as a guide in the fiscal cliff talks, by providing a an offer, online, very public, detailing each and every spending cut and highlighting how much revenue Barack Obama is turning down for no other reason than it is obtained with methods that do not include tax  rate increases.