Sunday, July 10, 2011

One Man's Ceiling Is Another Man's Floor

I woke up this morning wondering breathlessly: "Is there a debt ceiling deal? Is there a debt ceiling deal? For God's sake, somebody tell me, Is there a debt ceiling deal???"

The answer, it seems, is "No" with the dread John Boehner being blamed for refusing to go along with a tax increase and insisting on spending cuts on the backs of seniors, The Children and the poor. Wow, that's a spin I couldn't have predicted.
Citing differences over tax revenues, House Speaker John A. Boehner said on Saturday night that he would pull back from joint efforts with President Obama to reach a sweeping $4 trillion deficit-reduction plan tied to a proposal to increase the federaldebt limit.

On the eve of a second round of high-level bipartisan talks set for Sunday, Mr. Boehner issued a statement saying he would now urge negotiators to instead focus on crafting a smaller package more in line with the $2 trillion to $3 trillion in spending cuts and revenue increases negotiated earlier by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

“Despite good-faith efforts to find common ground, the White House will not pursue a bigger debt reduction agreement without tax hikes,” Mr. Boehner said. “I believe the best approach may be to focus on producing a smaller measure, based on the cuts identified in the Biden-led negotiations, that still meets our call for spending reforms and cuts greater than the amount of any debt limit increase.”

The decision was a major reversal for Mr. Boehner, a veteran Congressional deal-maker who along with Mr. Obama had been the major advocate for seeking a far-reaching deal that would have combined a debt limit increase with substantial spending cuts, significant changes in social programs like Medicare, Medicaid and perhaps Social Security, and as much as $1 trillion in new revenues. Following a secret meeting between the two last weekend, Mr. Obama went public with his own call for a broad package.

The White House, in its own statement, followed Mr. Boehner’s announcement with the suggestion that the president would try to change Mr. Boehner’s mind in their Sunday session.

Blah Blah. We've been through this charade in California several times over the last few years. Here, the left held the whip hand at all times, which meant tax increases and pretend spending cuts, all of which left us in our present state of 12% unemployment, permanent deficits and a ruined economy. Luckily for the rest of you, the United States is not California. Republicans in the House can sit with the President as equals, rather than as a despised minority whose power depends on a super-majority requirement for tax increases. Plus, John Boehner is probably a bit more steelier than our former "Republican" governor who always knew in the back of his mind that he was one newscycle away from a "Governator's Love Child" tabloid scandal.

More important, there's no political logic that says Republicans have to go along with Democrat attempts to raise the debt ceiling. Such efforts are opposed by wide majorities of the public. As with the TARP vote, anyone who votes against the debt ceiling will be a hero, not a goat. And if there is a debt problem, it's due entirely to the efforts of Democrats who have spent an ungodly amount of money in the last 30 months, mostly on the failed stimulus and the increasingly unpopular Obamacare, not to mention the Fed's QE2 efforts, which further devalued the dollar and weakened the economy.

Republicans did not do any of that. Indeed, we were virtually united in opposing the Democrats during their historic binge. Now we're, supposed to help bail them out??? Sorry I don't see the logic, not to mention the justice, of doing that.

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