Saturday, July 30, 2011

Marco Rubio: Honorable Moment of the Day

Through all the debate of Saturday, one truly remarkable moment cannot go without mention.  Now THIS is presidential...

"I would love nothing more than compromise.  But I would say to you that compromise that's not a solution is a waste of time.  If my house was on fire, I can't compromise about which part of the house I'm going to save!  You save the whole house, or it will all burn down.  We either save this country, or we do not; and to save it, we must seek solutions."

YES!!  Taking notes, Barry and Harry, or Boehner and McConnell for that matter?

RedState writer Aaron Gardner covered the exchange, not without poking a little fun at Sen. Kerry, but most importantly attached a 'P.S.' to his post well worth repeating:

If you want to see more like Sen. Rubio in the Senate in 2013 then you should probably consider sending a few dollars to the Senate Conservatives Fund while they still have some bit of worth. Ted Cruz and Josh Mandel would love to join Senators DeMint, Rubio, Lee, Paul, and Johnson.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Washington Circus rolls on (UPDATES)

I'd suggest Ringling Bros. over the Washington least it's an entertaining circus!

Two great sources for what happened tonight can be found at Hot Air and Michelle Malkin.  And you can count on there to be more to come, all the way up to the 11th hour.

But if you take nothing else away from this sideshow, just remember the line that came out of Harry Reid's mouth today.  It pretty much says it all: "The only compromise there is, is mine."  You think Reid might have bribed the professor in Negotiations 101?  Naaa...couldn't have.

Erick Erickson made an interesting observation that I'll leave you with:

As I wrap up what turned out to be 7 hours of radio and 3 of television, let me leave you with an interesting observation from a very wise conservative sage:
John Boehner’s flailing performance may actually have a silver lining to conservatives’ advantage. When his plan and the end game blow up in the House Republicans’ face as it surely will, a lot of the new conservatives who decided to get on the team, get their asses in line, and side with the Speaker will be permanently against him and for conservatism.
Let’s not forget that one young congressmen stood up for the team and loyalty and voted for No Child Left Behind to help his President. Then when he realized he’d been betrayed and NCLB stank as bad as conservatives had said it would, Jim DeMint left his old ways and became the champion of the right.
Boehner should have remembered his history. Or at least Barry Jackson should have. It’s part of his legacy.
Barry Jackson, for those who don’t know, is John Boehner’s Chief of Staff and was a key player in getting No Child Left Behind passed.

UPDATE 1: Touché!  From Boehner's 3.0 to Reid's 0.5...both down in flames.  Here's the Hot Air assessment of Saturday's sideshow.  And into the evening, it appears as though the three amigos (or stooges) have returned to the White House to hatch Plan 'X' (put whatever letter you want on it at this point).

UPDATE 2: Guess Harry's still in the picture, so let's change my above description to the four horsemen!  Shortly after 10pm EST, he announced that his amended bill will seek a vote tomorrow, noonish.  Man, it's almost impossible to keep up with this pace!  Certainly makes one wonder why the dragging @$$ throughout the rest of the year?!  Guess we'll see how things go tomorrow...

Boehner 3.0 or Plan C?

With Boehner 3.0, there's good and bad here...

The good: The Hill reports...

House Republicans will attach a balanced-budget amendment to Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) last-ditch debt-ceiling plan, which GOP lawmakers said would move the measure to passage in a high-stakes vote later on Friday.

Republican lawmakers say the Boehner framework would still pave the way for the debt limit to be raised through the 2012 election in two chunks. But it would also mandate that the second hike of the ceiling could only occur after a balanced-budget amendment passed both chambers of Congress and went to the states for ratification.

Sounds good, right?  And if kept intact, it might provide a better compromise, but still far from flawless.  So let's look into the idea of keeping this revision intact.

Erick Erickson of RedState, like many, has been following this long, twisted trainwreck of negotiations since its heated beginnings; and in doing so, has what I believe to be an insightful gauge on how both sides react, particularly when it comes to Democrats being several steps ahead of Republican leadership in the strategic department.

And thus, the bad:

A balanced budget amendment is worth fighting for. A balanced budget amendment is worth holding the line for. But it is not worth being fooled into voting for a plan by it including a BBA on a subsequent debt ceiling vote knowing with 100% certainty that not only will Harry Reid strip it out in the Senate, but that your own leadership will sell you out on when it comes back to you. Your symbolic vote — and it is a symbolic vote — will be used to play you as a fool.

I can't disagree that this is a real possibility.  I wouldn't put anything past Senate Democrats or the President.  With all the talk of compromise our dear Leader speaks of, he and Reid are among the biggest practitioners of hypocrisy, with a media happy to oblige.  And well, with conservative Principle abandoned, a lack of vigilance and an eternal phobia for fear of blame, we are very aware of the weak spines our leadership members possess.

So there's the two directions Boehner 3.0 could take.  But wait...last night we began to hear whispers of a secret plan being discussed behind closed doors (we know how those end up) between Boehner, McConnell and Reid: Plan C.

Fox reports:

The officials said President Obama has spent the past couple of days quietly reaching out to leaders in both parties to try and start hammering out the details, though it's clear this is still only in the discussion phase and they are not close to a deal yet.

Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., hinted at such a compromise earlier Thursday during an interview on Fox News.

“Let me just say behind the scenes there are discussions underway to find a way forward,” said Conrad. “To how would you harmonize what Leader Reid has come up with and Speaker Boehner has come up with and I'm increasingly of the view that we can do that. That’s good news.”

The focus of this round of talks is on what kind of "trigger" mechanism the debt ceiling legislation will have to guarantee that a new special committee of Congress actually follows up with real spending cuts later this year. And whether or not positive action by the committee will allow the president to get more leeway on another lift in the debt ceiling so there’s no repeat of the current debate early next year.

And similarly, Politico reports:

Under the possible compromise, Congress could still get a second crack at voting on the debt limit within months. But rather than linking the vote to Congress approving the recommendations of a new 12-member committee — as it would be in Boehner’s bill — Democrats prefer McConnell’s proposal that allows President Barack Obama to lift the debt ceiling unless two-thirds of both chambers override his veto of a disapproval resolution, the officials said.

To force action on a deficit reduction package, the White House would agree to strengthen the mechanism that compels Congress to pass the special committee’s recommendations, the officials said. The officials would not detail proposals for a so-called trigger that acts as an incentive for both parties to bargain in good faith and reach agreement.

Hmm, that "trigger" will assuredly amount to tax hikes, exactly what Obama has wanted from the beginning, instead of pursuing any long-term debt-reduction package.  So much for fiscal responsibility or stability.  Can you hear the sucking sound?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Political theater of the day

In a nutshell, Republicans were supposed to vote on Boehner’s plan this evening. Reid basically said, ‘Go ahead and vote on it; we’ll table it immediately, tweak it to a similar version of my bill, then fast-track it right back to you’. However, when it came down to the wire, GOP leadership delayed the vote, because they didn’t have it. Principled conservatives held the line and said, ‘No, we cannot vote for this weak POS!’

By the end of the day, after twisting as many arms as possible, the Speaker and crew were ticked at those tea-party-minded conservatives that had the courage to voice a principled ‘NO!’ So, there’s no vote tonight. 

And what of the Democrats? Well, there are grumblings coming from their Senate members, because they don’t believe the White House is involved enough (i.e., threatening, demagoguing and dictating), even though Obama has no plan, other than to borrow, spend and tax more.

The last rumor of the night is that the Speaker is meeting with members in the morning, and there's talk of 'tweaking' his bill, which is speculated to include a Balanced Budget Amendment (not just the promise of a separate vote before year's end).  This would be the ONLY component that might save Boehner’s ‘ass’; although the bill will still not cut the necessary savings needed to avoid a ratings downgrade, and neither would Reid’s plan (but Fitch isn't too worried about the possibility), nor would it stop the approval of a debt ceiling increase, it would provide a mechanism, if passed by majorities of both houses and ratified by the states (and that's a very big 'IF'), to set future budgets on a fiscal foundation with a much needed constitutional amendment.  But as stated before, this is shear speculation at this point...they could just allow Democrat pressure to water it down more, particularly after sending it to the Senate, and virtually do little of nothing, like the 2011 budget deal back in April (reference here, here, here and here to refresh your memory).

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Damn the Big Government so-called 'conservative' media (UPDATE)

The Big Government so-called ‘conservative’ media establishment has come to life in support of John Boehner’s plan of capitulation that will ultimately increase our national debt from over $14 trillion and 62 percent of GDP today to over $23 trillion and 92 percent of GDP in ten years. What progress! But that’s not the kicker. Those who once told us not to be so divisive or say harsh things against our new President, now trash their conservative colleagues, along with the constituency that ushered in their November landslide victory. Yeah, who’d a thought we actually wanted them to ACT against run-away government and stop the statist Democrats?!

So the attacks began early Wednesday morning with The Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol.
After lifting the title of one of Reagan’s greatest speeches, A Time for Choosing, in the same mocking manner as you’d expect from a liberal, Kristol says that a vote against John Boehner’s weak plan is to vote with Pelosi and support Obama, and adds insult to injury by calling those who disagree with the Boehner plan ”the pro-Obama right.” Rather than admit to the faults of Boehner’s plan or actually investigate why conservatives don’t prefer it, Kristol takes personal offense to questioning, or in his term, “defeating”, the Great Speaker, stating that conservatives are somehow incapable of doing more or going further. Cut, Cap and Balance, Bill Kristol, Cut, Cap and Balance. How hard did you fight for that? Reinstituting that bill and standing firm on its reaffirmation, instead of suddenly finding courage to fight for an infinitely weaker-Speaker bill, should be explanation enough, if you’ve been paying attention, Bill, instead of sniping at principled conservatives as ‘masquerading self-indulgent sectarians’. As a rebuttal, FreedomWorks tallied through the laundry list of bad advice Kristol has given to Republicans over the past decade, to which the Party “followed right into minority status in 2006.”

Levin discusses this ‘brilliant’ piece as well…

Like Kristol, an unnamed Wall Street Journal Op-ed entitled, The GOP’s Reality Test, ventures further in its snarkiness, trashing Jim DeMint and others, along with the same conservative activist groups that Kristol took aim at, Club for Growth and Heritage Action.

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.

This piece goes on to falsely, and insultingly, claim that conservative opposed to the Boehner plan have no “alternative strategy for achieving anything nearly as fiscally or politically beneficial as Mr. Boehner's plan.” Are you kidding me? Again, Cut, Cap and Balance, there's a stand-alone Balanced Budget Amendment, and then Connie Mack’s Penny Plan. But those hold less leverage and achievability than the genius plan that Boehner has developed, right?  Uh, no. Now here’s the unnamed writer’s assumption:

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. [if I may interject, no one has ever made that claim] 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.

And the kind of ‘crack political thinking’ that writes this dribble has lost the Republican Party election after election, and gave us Nancy Pelosi as a Speaker, Harry Reid as a Senate Majority Leader, and Barack Obama as a President! Furthermore, Jeffrey Lord provides additional conservative ammunition:

It is precisely the political thinking that made United States Senators out of Florida's Marco Rubio, Utah's Mike Lee, Kentucky's Rand Paul, Pennsylvania's Pat Toomey and Wisconsin's Ron Johnson. When the Ruling Class was cheering in primaries for the likes of Charlie Crist, Robert Bennett, Arlen Specter and Trey Grayson. If there is a political rule that says conservatives must win every single election then turn-about is fair play. How does one explain the crack Establishment political thinking that turned moderates Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman into GOP Senate and gubernatorial nominees? And why is there an Obama Administration in the first place? Wasn't nominating the moderate John McCain supposed to save the day because, you know, all GOP moderates win elections? Ahhh the walk down memory lane when one visits the presidential libraries of great Republican moderate presidents from Dewey to Dole.

Nevertheless, Arizona’s very own RINOsaurus John McCain was so inspired by this piece in its loathing of the tea party movement, targeting two fantastic conservative ladies who lost their Senate bids to a Marxist and the mental patient running the Senate, that he had to parrot the most offensive portions of it on the Senate floor…

Oh, and you wanna hear something really ‘bizarro’?

Way to go, Arizona…

‘Well, what are you gonna do? Huh, huh, what are you gonna do?’ Besides already repeating daily what we ‘would have done’, I have to ask, does this entire Establishment disclosure not remind you of a particular tactic? Let’s see, what was that again…oh yeah…

Alinsky’s Rule #12: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."

Huh, thought they would have at least attempted to turn this against the statist liberals. Guess the enabling Establishment had other plans after conservatives delivered them victory after victory in declaring victory by surrendering? 

You know, as Levin later explained, when Democrat's are in the minority, they act the same as they do in the majority...they don't give an inch!  But what do we do in the minority?  Our leaders compromise and capitulate and shoot their own caucus members in the back.

I think Jedediah Bila stated it extremely well when she said, “Like many Americans, I am hungry for bold, principled, unapologetic conservative leadership. Rather than settling for what they think they can get through, I’d like to see GOP leadership fighting for what they know they should get through, for what they know would help restore this country. There’s no time for complacency, defeatist attitudes or taking the easy way out. John Boehner doesn’t have an easy job, but he must begin to play hard and fight to win. The country can’t afford anything less.” And when she says ‘play hard and fight to win’, somehow I don’t think she had in mind telling your own party members to "get your ass in line" behind your plan, Mr. Speaker.

News Flash: This November will be about more than ridding Washington of statist Democrats...the enablers must go as well. That should give you media elites something to write about.

UPDATE: Jeffrey Lord properly zeros in on the divide in the modern conservative movement by comparing yesterday's WSJ editorial with today's editorial, The Road to Downgrade, and what's precisely missing...

There is no mention in today's editorial recounting the history of entitlements telling of those conservatives who fought tooth and nail against the creation of this welfare state in real time. There is nary a mention of the tremendous political heat taken by conservatives, leaders who were thoroughly trashed in the day not just by Democrats but a lot of Republicans. It's as ifRobert Taft, William Knowland, Barry Goldwater, the pre-presidential Ronald Reagan, William F. Buckley -- and yes the Sharron Angles and Christine O'Donnell's of the day never existed.

Why is that important?

Because the implications of yesterday's WSJeditorial and the similar one from Bill Kristol over at theWeekly Standard echo precisely the ridicule and scorn that was directed at opponents of the growing entitlement state from the late 1940s all the way through the 1980 Reagan election and beyond.

The Rush Limbaughs, Sean Hannitys and Mark Levins of the day -- some elected, some not -- were in fact out there in the "old days." But they were marginalized because they refused to accept the idea that there was no other alternative to a continually growing federal government and an endless rise in the debt.

Lord points out the irony of the same "Ruling Class" attitude lobbed towards conservatives, that lingers on, even with a conservative movement that has been strengthened through the events of a Reagan presidency, growth in conservative organizations and success on the talkshow circuits, along with the ushering in of more principly conservative members of Congress, recognizing that the current crop of Establishment types view the conservative idea of Principle over Party personalities as unrealistic, "because they have seen exactly what happened when the wisdom of those conservatives of yesterday was ignored as liberals went on heedlessly building the entitlement state the WSJ documents today," disregarding, as the WSJ and others have, that their shared mentality led to that very marginalization.

The gimmick of baseline budgeting

I don't want to get minds too bogged down in the details of 'baseline budgeting' and its roots in the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, but what it basically involves is automatic increases in governmental spending from one year to the next.  Currently under this system of budgeting (yes, we're still operating under it), we've seen massive jumps in our debt, along with adjusted increases in the debt ceiling:

2006 - $8.2 Trillion
2011 - $14.3 Trillion
If the debt ceiling is increased, we’ll adjust it to $16.7T…and you can guarantee that we’ll hit that within the next few years as well.

Now with all the talk of spending reductions to accompany any debt ceiling increase, we must factor in the baseline budgeting gimmick, so that we can understand what's really going on throughout all of these proposals (or non-proposals), aside from the political theater.  As Rush described this morning, if we were to freeze ALL spending, so that no more would be spent than the previous year, the CBO (formed by a liberal Congress under the '74 Act) would score such action as a $9.5T CUT over the next 10 years (Hint: GOP, there's yet another responsible direction!).  Does this not illustrate the absolute absurdity of our government's overspending and projected future spending?  Due to irresponsible baseline budgeting, our government has already approved spending for years down the road, hemorrhaging our debt, and getting itself into the pickle of raising the bar over and over and over again just to keep up.

So how do we fix this entrenched, fiscally neglegent process?  That answer is easier than one might think, yet the Will to ACT with the courage needed to accomplish this is severely lacking in Washington.  And that answer is a Balanced Budget Amendment.  We had a real opportunity to push this through the Cut, Cap and Balance Act that was passed through the House, but Democrat-fear tabled it in the Senate (without a vote), and more disturbingly, GOP leadership gave up on any fight in the Senate by immediately undermining it through alternative compromises.  And now we're at the point of choosing between 'Dumb and Dumber', both of which are budgeted under the baseline gimmick.

ADDENDUM:  Chris Chocola's Politico piece clearly makes the case for Cut, Cap and Balance NOW!

"The ratings agencies want what we want: responsible behavior, which includes spending cuts now, enforceable spending caps, and a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. We’ve called it “Cut, Cap, and Balance.” It’s the only plan offered that solves America’s fiscal mess."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The ‘Penny Plan’ momentum

As we exhaustively watch competing, yet similarly unproductive plans between Boehner and Reid that seem to be going nowhere, it causes one to reflect on the only responsible plan out there during this entire debt debate, the Cut, Cap and Balance Act.  And that wasn’t even given a vote in the Democrat-led Senate, if that gives you any indication of how effective it would have been, particularly with the inclusion of a Balanced Budget Amendment. There are attempts to revive that bill, along with a stand-alone BBA, but another plan has also risen beyond the rubble to provide a clear path towards real balance, unlike Obama’s defining of that word. The One Percent Spending Reduction Act – also known simply as the “Penny Plan” – was introduced by Sen. Mike Enzi (WY) and authored by Congressman Connie Mack (FL), and has garnered “the support of over 40 co-sponsors in the U.S House; the backing of the Republican Study Committee’s 103 Members, three key U.S. Senators,” among which Sen. Rand Paul is a big supporter of, and several grassroots organizations, as well as gaining support almost daily. As laid out on the congressman’s website:

The Penny Plan balances the budget by:

• Cutting total federal spending by one percent each year for six consecutive years,
• Setting an overall spending cap of 18 percent of gross domestic product in 2018, and
• Reducing overall spending by $7.5 trillion over 10 years.

If Congress and the President are unable to make the necessary cuts, the bill’s fail-safe triggers automatic, across-the-board cuts to ensure the one percent reductions are achieved.

Here’s more details from Congressman Mack in an interview given earlier in July…

As Hannity just had Speaker Boehner on his radio program, and asked him about this plan, to the astonishment of I’m certain many listeners (I know it was to this one), Boehner seemed to know little, if anything, about this plan. What’s with the communication on Capitol Hill, when I can find out about a seemingly fantastic proposal, but the leadership hasn’t heard of it? As my high school French teacher used to decry in frustration, “O mon dieu…”

Obama’s prime-time lies and deception

As anticipated, we get another highly partisan, highly inaccurate and misleading speech from the Great Divider…and it didn’t take long for the Alinsky drinking game to start:

1:43 – ‘investments’
2:49 – ‘balanced’ approach
2:54 – ‘sacrifice’
5:14 – That’s not right. It’s not ‘fair’.
5:55 – ‘millionaires and billionaires’
5:57 – ‘share in the sacrifice’

Then between all the rhetoric and blame, the attacks on Bush, the rich, even his own party, why a Democrat proposal of promised cuts and immediate taxes is better than a desired Republican focus of cutting government spending (when neither of the current incarnations are up to the challenge of fiscal sanity, IMHO), and so forth, Obama once again invokes Reagan out of context from a 1982 speech, “Would you rather reduce deficits and interest rates by raising revenue from those who are not now paying their fair share, or would you rather accept larger budget deficits, higher interest rates, and higher unemployment? And I think I know your answer.” Makes one scratch their head and go, ‘huh’, right? Well, once in context, you'd realize, as a Washington Times editorial makes the case, Obama misappropriates the Gipper to justify tax hikes:

At that time Mr. Reagan had reluctantly agreed to a deal in which the Democratic Congress promised to reduce spending by $3 for every $1 in new revenue. But this Faustian bargain only demonstrates why House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, is holding the line on taxes today. During the Reagan years, Congress went ahead and imposed the agreed-on taxes but quickly broke the spending-cut pledge and instead pursued even greater budget increases. As Reagan later lamented, "Congress never cut spending by even one penny."

But Mr. Reagan would not be fooled again. In a 1983 debt-ceiling debate, Reagan threatened to veto any measure that contained tax hikes. "I am unalterably opposed to Congress' efforts to raise taxes on individuals and businesses," he said. His administration "did not come to Washington to raise the peoples' taxes. We came here to restore opportunity and get this economy moving again. We do not face large deficits because Americans aren't taxed enough. We face those deficits because the Congress still spends too much."

Also to note, in that same ’82 speech, Reagan pushed for a balanced budget amendment. Obama didn’t feel the need to mention that, did he? Oh, and while he was quoting Reagan, Obama forgot to quote himself. Remember when he was against it before he was for it, “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure,” and after further rhetorical elaborations, voted against a hike.  He must have just forgotten about that, huh?  Obama must have also lost sight of the fact that the U.S. holds the industrialized world's most progressive income tax, but it's more likely that he just doesn't think it's progressive, or high, enough!

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I found myself calling BS on so many of Obama’s statements, as they were blatantly misleading, and some just outright untrue. Obama said, "Understand, raising the debt ceiling does not allow Congress to spend more money, it simply gives our country the ability to pay the bills that Congress has already racked up."  And just look what your administration has racked up in the past few years!  But even so, this is BS, as we currently have the tax revenues to cover the most important debt obligations, and I'll explain in a moment.  Obama went on to say, "We have to do it by next Tuesday, Aug. 2nd, or else we won't be able to pay all of our bills."  Also BS, this date is as arbitrary as anything else Obama and Geithner have come up with.  And after blaming Republicans for risking “America’s first-ever default,” which is technically incorrect, as there have been defaults in 1933 and another in 1979, Obama said, “If that happens, and we default, we would not have enough money to pay all of our bills – bills that include monthly Social Security checks, veterans’ benefits, and the government contracts we’ve signed with thousands of businesses.“ Other than repeating myself from a number of recent posts, I’ll use a couple of new sources to dispel these outright falsehoods and scare tactics.

On the matter of ‘default’, a New York Post columnist explains, “there's no reason for default even if there's never a debt-ceiling hike.”

Even if Congress and the president remain deadlocked past the Aug. 2 deadline, when the feds are supposed to run out of money to pay all their bills, a default still leaves them with plenty of cash to pay the most important ones. Uncle Sam takes in $2 trillion in tax revenues yearly and spends around $200 billion on debt interest. Geithner can cover the bond payments just fine -- and hold off on sending out other checks. Of course, it wouldn't be pretty to stiff defense contractors and agribiz giants while a budget deal is hammered out, but it's way better than the financial calamity a default is likely to spark.

So, Obama’s claim of default based on whatever happens with the debt ceiling is a lie. But to address the other side of the lie, paying out beneficiaries, I’ll turn to Prof. Michael McConnell to cover a portion of that one, as he states, “[Obama] must not be consulting with his lawyers, because this attempt to scare Social Security recipients is without legal foundation. As recently explained,…reaching the debt ceiling will not affect the ability of the Social Security Administration to pay its obligations.”

The Social Security trust fund holds about $2.4 trillion in U.S. Treasury bonds, which its trustees are legally entitled to redeem whenever Social Security is running a current account deficit. Thus, if we reach the debt ceiling (which I continue to think is a remote prospect, even if less remote than it seemed a week ago), this is what will happen. The Social Security trust fund will go to Treasury and cash in some of its securities, using the proceeds to send checks to recipients. Each dollar of debt that is redeemed will lower the outstanding public debt by a dollar. That enables the Treasury to borrow another dollar, without violating the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling is not a prohibition on borrowing new money; it is a prohibition on increasing the total level of public indebtedness.

Similar arguments can be made for all the other benefits Obama feels the need to hold hostage.

Also, Obama made the statement that “For the first time in history, our country’s Triple A credit rating would be downgraded.” Although I’ve seen some in the media begin to acknowledge this, where has Obama been? Egan Jones already cut our AAA rating a few weekends ago, Weiss and Dagong Global downgraded the U.S. last week, and it’s very likely that Moody’s, S&P and Fitch will follow suit, all having nothing to do with the debt ceiling.  These ratings are based on speculative assumptions that the U.S. might falter on its debt obligations down the road, not due to the debt limit, but the borrow-and-spend mentality of the federal government and its eventual inability to cover the growing debt. But even then, any default won’t happen on Aug. 2nd, or perhaps even the remainder of the year, depending on how soon we put the brakes on our current spending trajectory.  Also around the same time as that downgrade, Goldman Sachs departed from government estimates and further slashed our growth forecast.  Once again, Obama has defaulted back to the mentality that his administration came in with, "never let a crisis go to waste."

Obama ventured on to spell out a doomsday scenario if Republicans didn’t drop their plan and follow the Democrats’ lead. Yeah, that’s worked wonders thus far, hasn’t it? And then continuing to drone on, and on…and on, leading up to a final message of compromise (remember, that means ‘cave’) in an attempt to rally the leftist troops in flooding their Congress members with what he actually desires, instead of what the Will of the People want. You’re welcome to enjoy the rest below, but just following the lies and deception has exhausted my senses…

If you ask me, although I don’t think the Speaker’s latest proposal is a serious one that conservatives could or should reasonably rally behind, Boehner did manage to come across more presidential than the placeholder in the East Room…

Though, it’s pretty amazing how both Boehner, or McConnell for that matter, can get in front of the cameras and give a potentially riveting speech with tough talk…then once you make sense of the words he's saying, you realize that they're not going to translate into principled ACTION. Although, I will commend the Speaker for at least getting out there, responding immediately to the President’s address, and explaining the simple fact that all Obama wants is a ‘blank check’ to raise the debt ceiling; it’d still be courageous if he could share (if he even believes) the information surrounding the actual prospects that would lead to default, as well as the obligations of paying out beneficiaries, and how the tax revenues currently collected cover our necessities.  You know, like the info I just shared with you and CONSERVATIVES are speaking out about!

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Boehner two-step (UPDATE)

Monday afternoon, the Speaker had a press conference with the rest of the GOP leadership to divulge new details on the latest debt limit proposal.  Boehner said this plan will provide spending cuts, while avoiding default (readers know how I feel about that terminology from the last few posts).  Basically, borrowing would not exceed spending cuts, there'd be no tax increases involved, and a vote on a balanced budget amendment would be required by year's end.  Hmmm, let's see...

The devil is in the details, so as The Hill digs into these a bit more, many Republicans appear skeptical, and rightly so.  The plan proposes an initial $1T debt ceiling increase if $1.2T in spending cuts is agreed upon.  There's a couple of questionable issues here.  We're talking about a trillion dollar increase immediately on our debt, as opposed to $1.1T in cuts over the next decade.  Besides the 'trust' factor of whether Congress and the President would actually even follow through with this promise to set these spending cuts in motion, that's only a fraction in billions each year when compared to the $14.3T-and-rising national debt!  On top of that conundrum, lies the proposal for a bi-partisan commission that would determine the spending cuts (let's hope they don't gut the vital while keeping the frivolous), and pave the way for the next step: an additional round of similar ratio increases/cuts at the tune of a later $1.6T debt limit increase (again, immediately) in exchange for $1.8T in additional spending cuts (also over the next 10 years).  Total: a $2.6T debt ceiling increase for $3T in spending cuts, all in 2-steps.

Now, Reid's plan is definitely no better, and full of gimmicks, so don't take this as just beating up on Boehner for the sake of it.  But don't you love how 'ceiling' or 'limit' is being used throughout this debate?  Or that a commission of a few (assuredly, the most radical among the Democrat alignment) within the entire elected body would figure out the cuts?  The desired 'greater than 1:1' ratio is said to be attained when ceiling increases will occur immediately, but spending cuts in any of these proposals over the past few weeks are stretched out over a 10-year period, giving us $300B/year with Boehner's latest, as our deficit increases in the trillions each year.  I'm no accountant, but how's that slightly greater than 1:1?  It's NOT by far...

The White House has announced that Obama will address the nation tonight as a follow-up to these discussions...I'm sure he'll tell us how this proposal guts too much, blaming Republicans for the complete opposite of what they're trying to achieve, and certain to express how his tax-and-spend approach would be more balanced, along with more shared sacrifice class warfare rhetoric.  Will these people ever get serious about the debt that's been racked up, particularly that of Obama's first few years alone?

UPDATE: Hot Air reports that the CBO has scored Boehner’s bill and finds that it would save less than $1T over 10 years, and only $1 billion this year, in which Boehner's office has said they'll be re-writing the proposal to match the amount of the debt ceiling increase.  It won't matter, because there's no 'real' match, Speaker.  A trillion spent NOW still doesn't equal a trillion cut over 10 years!  Also, Heritage explores how Boehner's plan will lead to tax increases.  This is just more capitulation from our so-called leaders, folks.

Misnomers of the debt debate

We all know how the political elite deceive with their coded language in purveying a message. For example, how ‘Compromise’ actually means ‘Caving’, and with the current political alignments, it’s usually directed towards conservatives/Republicans caving to the statist will of the Democrat majority. So as we’re in the throes of the debt debate, and reaching that 11th hour mark, perhaps it’s time to remind ourselves of these terms as they’re bantered about, and what’s actually meant when they’re used…

Investment = Spending
Specifically, spending as government sees fit, when private business and working Americans supply the real source of economic growth.

Revenues = Taxes
Democrats use ‘revenues’ to describe a core liberal concept of raising taxes; yet, use ‘taxes’ when discussing the conservative concept of lowering taxes, or cuts, which they then despise.

Downgrade ≠ Default
Although generally viewed negatively, ‘Downgrade’ is speculative among credit rating services. ‘Default’ is dependent on the government’s ability, or decision, to pay the interest on the debt with existing tax revenues (which it’s currently capable of, despite the President’s rhetoric, with enough left over for beneficiary payments to boot).

Balance = tax hikes with the promise of ‘serious’ spending cuts
Similar to ‘compromise’, but distracting from the actual balance that should be pursued: if raising the debt ceiling is desired at all, which is debatable, then addressing the systemic cause of what’s brought us to the precipice must be addressed first, as it's long overdue (borrowing and spending, and borrowing more to spend more).

Shared sacrifice = taxpayers taking the hit for Washington’s tax spenders
Growing the government slower, while professing to ‘tax the rich’ or demanding that 'millionaires and billionaires' pay ‘their fair share’, except for all those wealthy politicians, their crony corporatists and the gambit of dependent statist supporters. More class warfare rhetoric that amounts to the taxpayer carrying the brunt of any tax burden, despite degree of wealth.

Full Faith and Credit ≠ full faith and credit
The "Full Faith and Credit" clause in Article 4 Section 1 of the Constitution, as applied towards "public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings" between the States, is different from the modernized 'full faith and credit' term expressing the government's guarantee in backing our monetary system. Although the context is different between the two, a similar application is being utilized, which is probably why this is more readily accepted: public provisions entrusted and attributed to the states versus a monetary system entrusted and attributed to the federal government.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Deal, no deal, tax and spend…rinse, repeat (UPDATES)

In describing how the debt talks are like “two groups of people from two different planets, who barely understand each other,” Boehner says that the Democrats, “don’t want to cut spending and want to raise taxes.” This is one point that the Speaker is precisely right about.

Democrats are damned and determined to raise taxes, instead of dealing with the government's exorbitant spending addiction...but if they get those hikes, rest assured they’ll turn right around and blame Republicans when there’s a backlash from the public! You know it, as well as I do.

So now we hear that Democrats won’t give their support to any deal unless tax hikes are included? The suggestion that “House Republicans would get no Democratic help if the final package includes only spending cuts and the promise of new revenues later,” is what they're worried about? Give me a break.  The exact opposite – tax hikes with the promise of future spending reductions – is what they’ve given Republicans repeatedly. Reagan went to his grave waiting on such promised spending cuts. And this is what they’d attempt to do again given the opportunity. We CANNOT give them that opportunity.

But because Republicans aren’t bending so easily to tax hikes, the DCCC is going to launch a phone campaign blaming negotiations on Republicans…never mind that Democrats haven’t come up with a plan. So it’s up to Republicans to do all the work? And then our guys are ‘working round the clock on a deal’ by Sunday afternoon to once again negotiate with the nonnegotiable? And we’re to believe that Republicans are the intransigent ones, Harry? Where’s that mirror again.

So all we got out of that White House meeting on Saturday morning was that the debt ceiling debate and deficit reduction need to be the responsibility of Congress and not the President? An emphatic ‘Duhhh!’ Yet, the President comes out of the meeting smack-talking, while Reid and Pelosi do the same in a follow-up briefing between congressional leaders. Impressive, guys.

Call it paranoia, intuition, or both, but the more you watch the tactics of the Left and how they use confusion and panic to chaotically drive their agenda through, the more it seems as though in this particular situation that their push for tax hikes and refusal of significant spending reductions, being the complete opposite of Republicans’ goals, is probably an effort to pave the way for a no-strings-attached debt ceiling increase, simply through the process of exhaustion and frustration, and thus providing no accountable or responsibility when expanding the national debt. Supporting this hunch, what Pelosi’s telling the press about a two-tiered approach to raising the debt ceiling and reducing the nation’s long-term budget deficit,” wreaks of such empty promises.

UPDATES:  Picking up where we left off, more back-and-forth throughout the day.  The White House sent their 'default' scaremonger, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, over to Fox News Sunday this morning to discuss how we need to take default off the table until after the convenient, huh?  And I'll keep saying this until I'm blue in the face: what we're facing is NOT default, but rather one in the leadership of either party, nor the media, will admit this.  Anyway, moving on.  Chris Wallace also had Speaker Boehner on to discuss the next steps...

Fox News
reports, "Unable to find common ground, Republicans and Democrats worked Sunday to prepare separate fallback plans for raising the debt ceiling as they tried to provide some assurance to the global financial markets that the country will not default on its obligations."  Huhhh...they're gonna make me explain it.  As long as we maintain current tax revenues, 15% of that will pay towards the interest on the debt with plenty left over to cover other obligations...NO DEFAULT!  Man, they're frustrating.

And in an effort to take some of the scare tactics off the table, The Hill reports, "Members of the Senate Tea Party Caucus have met with House freshmen to discuss a plan to pressure House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to bring the Full Faith and Credit Act to the floor," which is, as Sen. Rand Paul describes, "a bill that directs by law the president to pay the interest on the debt, pay social security checks and pay soldiers’ salaries."  What does it say about a President when separate rules must be drawn up by the Legislature to require the Executive to follow through with the obligations set forth in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution?!  It says a lot about exactly what kind of 'president' we're dealing with.  But to return to the topic of default, I'd say again to Boehner and McConnell who are constantly fretting over it, 'here's your answer!'  Chances are, Reid would table this also, as this would remove a major propaganda weapon in the Democrat arsenal that the liberal media is oh so happy to use, reload, and use again.

So as it stands, leaders of both parties have returned to their respective corners, developing separate 'fallback' proposals, which is never a good thing, as we've come to see in 11th hour politics.  Reid is working on a plan (that's a first) that would call for at least $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction (yep, over ten years), supposedly no revenue increases (not sure how that's gonna fly with Dems and Obama), and would raise the debt ceiling, thus more borrowing, until 2013 (past the presidential elections).  Meanwhile, as The Hill reports, "A Republican leadership aide explained to The Hill that Boehner's goal is to have a plan ready for discussion at a 2 pm closed-door meeting on Monday with GOP rank-and-file members; after which the legislative text would be posted Monday night. That could set up a vote on a yet-to-be-seen proposal by Wednesday."

I'm sure we'll wake up Monday morning to see where this all goes...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Greece-ing the skids (UPDATES)

Wasting no time and running scared, Reid moved up a procedural vote from Saturday to this morning, and in doing so, Democrats just voted down responsibility.  Right down a divisive party line, they voted to "table," effectively killing, the Cut, Cap & Balance Act without debate or an up-or-down vote in the Senate, which was the ONLY real compromise on debt negotiations.  Fox reports that after the 51-46 vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, "The House Republican "Cut, Cap and Balance" (measure) is now over. It's done, dead."  Reid also called it the worst piece of legislation ever brought to the Senate floor.  Ummm, right...wasn't that Obamacare?  Demagoguing as usual...and with it, our elected officials thwart responsible and set us on a path towards continued spending, possible tax hikes and actual default (not just a line used as a scare tactic to raise the debt ceiling).

If the ONLY real compromise has now been rejected, then there should be NO debt ceiling increase, Speaker Boehner.  Instead, we should use 15% of the tax revenues already being collected to pay towards the interest on the debt (avoiding a default, but not necessarily a downgrade), make promised payments to current entitlement beneficiaries (SS, Medicare/Medicaid), then slash the budget on everything else, including federal wages, with the exception of military pay (one of the lowest, as is), and disperse the remainder of revenues to pay towards the basic functions of government.  But that would be the responsible thing to do.

Instead, look for a Boehner-Obama deal to hit the presses know, the one that supposedly doesn't exist and none of the parties seem to know anything about.  Can you smell it?  Backroom deals, folks.  Watching these guys, particularly their inability to allow Big Government to feel the pain of the People, much less listen to our desire for responsible governance, I'm predicting that they'll raise the debt ceiling, growing our national debt even more, along with continued spending, and we'll be downgraded regardless, so it will be all for naught.  I hope I'm wrong, but it feels like we've got eunuchs running Washington instead of Statesmen.  Greece, here we come...

UPDATES:  Looks like there will be NO Boehner-Obama deal afterall.  CBS reports that Boehner has walked away from debt limit negotiations with Obama...the smartest thing that you've done, Mr. Speaker...thank you!

House Speaker John Boehner has walked away from negotiations with President Obama over a deal to raise the debt limit.

"In the end, we couldn't connect. Not because of different personalities, but because of different visions for our country," Boehner said in a letter to colleagues. He said Mr. Obama " is emphatic that taxes have to be raised" and "adamant that we cannot make fundamental changes to our entitlement programs."

"For these reasons, I have decided to end discussions with the White House and begin conversations with the leaders of the Senate in an effort to find a path forward," he said.

You can find Boehner's entire letter to his Republican colleagues here.

As one can imagine, Obama came out before the press corps, frustrated, ticked, shaken, and of course, blaming Republicans...

...which was followed by (surprise) a Boehner press conference.  Here's an interesting exchange/commentary as the coverage broke in on Lou Dobbs.  Apparently, Obama was attempting to once again throw in last minute tax hikes (the man can't help himself)... 

Obama has now summoned the Senate Leaders, as well as Speaker Boehner, to the White House for a Saturday morning meeting at 11am.  Should be interesting to see what comes out of that.  You can bet Obama is feeling the heat from today's fast-paced exchanges, all the while trying to figure out how to blame an impending downgrade on Republicans.

Meanwhile, Sen. Jim DeMint released a statement on his Senate website saying, “I will work to force another vote on Cut, Cap & Balance next week because the President and Democrats have not offered the American people any other viable solution."  On behalf of We the People, we thank you, pray for your success and wish you all the luck, Sen. DeMint!

What the hell is going on…on Capitol Hill

On the brink of a potentially historic piece of legislation passed by the House and sent to the Senate, in which according to a new CNN poll, “Americans showing overwhelming support for the House Republican approach to the debt limit crisis. Specifically, 66 percent of Americans favor a deal where both houses of Congresses pass a balance budget amendment, and substantial cuts and caps on future spending, in exchange for a debt limit hike,” an excellent Washington Examiner piece from Mark Tapscott asks, “Have you noticed the unstated assumption shaping much of the reporting and commentary on the Gang of Six (Go6) plan and the Cut, Cap and Balance Act of 2011 (CCB) just passed by the House?” We certainly have!

Even though Gang of Six members are conceding that their ‘plan’ consists of mostly “concepts” far from any legislative language that would meet an August 2nd deadline, the media has nonetheless latched onto it like the bipartisan Holy Grail. Tapscott writes, “Contrast that highly positive portrayal of Go6 with the endlessly repeated prediction by the same people that CCB is "doomed" and "futile" because it will "never pass the Senate" and Obama has promised to veto it,” but brilliantly points to something that the mainstream media continues to ignore, “At least 67 members of the Senate have at one time or another in recent years promised to vote for either a balanced budget or a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget. That count, according to Sen. Jim DeMint, R-SC, includes 22 Democrats.” And here’s at least 20 of them!

As Tapscott concludes, “In case Senator Reid didn’t notice, a bipartisan ‘Gang of 234’ just sent him the way forward. It’s called the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act.” Well, it appears that he has taken notice, and despite his and 19 others’ past comments supporting a balanced budget, Reid and most of the other top scaremongers have begun their campaign of demagoguery and deceit in an all-out assault on the Act. So much so that The Hill now reports that Reid says he’s going to change the date for a procedural vote on the CCB Act from Saturday morning to Friday in an effort that it will be “disposed of one way or the other.” In reading the rest of Reid’s statements on this move, he sounds particularly ticked and deranged. Perhaps it has something to do with this? (Also from The Hill):

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) confronted White House budget director Jack Lew during a Thursday afternoon meeting about secret talks on a deficit-reduction deal between the president and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). “I’m the Senate majority leader — why don’t I know about this deal?” Reid demanded as soon as the budget director walked into the historic Mansfield Room for a meeting with Senate Democrats, according to a lawmaker who witnessed the exchange. Lew shot back: “If there’s a deal, then the president doesn’t know about it, the vice president doesn’t know about it and I don’t know about it.”

Say what? Yes, even before we get an up-or-down vote on the CCB Act, by mid-day Thursday, from all appearances (i.e., ‘leaks’), it seems as though Boehner and Obama are attempting to brochure a backroom deal. From the National Journal

The White House and House Republican leaders are discussing a large deal to raise the debt ceiling that would include about $3 trillion in deficit cuts over 10 years, according to several congressional aides. The aides, who declined to be named because they weren't authorized to speak publicly, said the proposal’s outline is broadly similar to a plan discussed previously by President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and a "Gang of Six" proposal to cut about $3.7 trillion in a decade, with the major exception that it would not raise significant tax revenue. The gang proposal, by contrast, would seek $1 trillion of its deficit cuts from new tax revenue.

…to The Hill

Democratic aides on Thursday said the White House and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) were moving closer to a deal to reduce federal deficits and raise the debt ceiling. Democrats were told Wednesday night that Obama is prepared to cut a deal with Boehner that would include spending cuts and concrete entitlement reforms, according to two senior Democratic aides. The aides said the deal would only include the promise of tax reform next year. This would represent a major concession, the aides said, since it would not include any concrete revenue increases as part of the deal.

…and even after calling Rush Limbaugh Thursday and emphatically stating that ‘there is no deal’

…it appears that such is not the case. Why else is he buying into the notion of defaulting based on the President’s desire to raise the debt ceiling? Why is Boehner preparing his members for a ‘compromise’ on the debt ceiling? Cut, Cap & Balance IS the compromise!

Shifting between the weakness and fear of McConnell and Boehner, Mark Levin directly addressed the Speaker’s actions on Thursday’s show, “Speaker Boehner has let the Republicans and the conservatives down. What exactly was he talking about with President Obama in those secret debt talk meetings? And why does he enjoy leaving the American people out to dry and to have even more of a tremendous debt left to pay in the future? The Republican Establishment is frustrated that the conservative base and the American people aren't just going to sit back and let our leaders tell us what to do. They work for us, we don't work for them. What is so wrong about us being concerned about our future?” So right…

What the hell is going on in our Country, specifically on Capitol Hill, and why are the People purposefully being left out, particularly when the majority passionately says CUT, CAP AND BALANCE!?!  

To serve is not to rule...something often forgotten, just short of abandonment, by far too many on Capitol Hill.