|The Original Gang Of Six To President Obama|
|Extream times call for extream measures|
Unlike President Obama, the Gang of Six is not consumed by class-warfare resentment. The plan envisions that the top personal income tax rate will fall to no higher than 29 percent.
The much-heralded spending caps do not apply to entitlement programs. This is like going to the doctor because you have cancer and getting treated for a sprained wrist.
There is no Medicare reform, just tinkering and adjustments to the current system.
The entire package is based on dishonest Washington budget math. Spending increases under the plan, but the politicians claim to be cutting spending because the budget didn’t grow even faster. …
|Jeff Sessions and Paul Ryan|
Yesterday ranking Budget Committee member Jeff Sessions also issued a cautionary statement on the Gang’s plan. He, too, emphasized the fact that, even though the Senators have been talking for months, there is little detail available on their proposal:
Several preliminary questions and concerns emerge from the executive summary. The proposal asserts overall deficit reduction of about $4.5 trillion. But if the measures outlined in the summary were followed to the letter, total deficit reduction would add up to only $1.2 trillion over 10 years.
The authors note that, in effect, the discretionary savings will be achieved by a freeze on spending at current levels. There would be no net spending cuts. We must have true reduction of current levels since baseline discretionary spending has increased 24 percent in the last 2 years—we cannot ‘freeze in’ this inflated level.
|It's gott so bad that the pork is about to cut us free|
Overall, it would seem taxes under this proposal will go up by at least $1 trillion.
|No one will touch or even mention Entitlement reform|
So I do not see the Gang of Six plan as a promising means of resolving the debt crisis.
|"National Default" Coming August 3, 2011|
The call for a balanced budget amendment brings to mind the Equal Rights Amendment. In the early 1970s, the feminist movement was making great strides. Beginning in 1972, when the amendment passed Congress, securing its enactment became that movement’s central goal. The effort ended in futility, as the feminist movement’s political energies were drained over a period of years in an endless attempt to secure ratification in the necessary 38 states. In the end, while the ERA took the steam out of the feminist movement, it didn’t matter: equal rights became a reality even as the amendment languished, a few states short of the needed total. That, of course, won’t happen here: the federal spending problem won’t solve itself if conservatives’ energies are diverted to the endless pursuit of a constitutional amendment.
Setting to work on a constitutional amendment would put our government in a position analogous to that of an alcoholic who announces that he will immediately devote a million dollars to creating a foundation to combat alcoholism, and that he plans to quit drinking in ten years. The alcoholic needs one thing–to quit drinking, now. Our government needs one thing–to curb spending, now. Efforts devoted to collateral goals, however laudable they might be in principle, will distract from what must be done now.
So, where does that leave conservatives with regard to the debt ceiling issue? In the immediate term, Republicans and conservatives need above all to prevent the debt ceiling issue from turning into a disaster. If there is a last-minute grand bargain, negotiated behind closed doors, announced only in general outline and voted on before the public and most in Congress understand what is in it, we all know what the result will be: a fiasco for conservatives and for the American people. At this point, Republicans should just try to get something–anything–in exchange for their agreement to a higher debt limit. The best consideration would likely be a statutory spending cap.
Having achieved that limited victory, the GOP can go back to fighting the ongoing budget battle where it ought to be fought–in the legislative process. Jeff Sessions is the Republican who has seen this most clearly from the beginning. It is an absolute outrage–an illegal outrage, in fact–that our national government has functioned for more than two years without a budget. It is ridiculous that to this day, the Democrats in Congress will not propose a budget, nor will President Obama go beyond generalities and platitudes and put a spending proposal on paper. (He no longer pretends to defend his FY 2012 budget, which was essentially a joke and failed to garner a single vote in the Senate.) The only way that meaningful fiscal reform is ever going to happen is through the legislative process: a budget needs to be written, to be debated in committee, to be amended, to be published to the American people, to be studied by informed third parties, to be debated on the floors of the House and the Senate, and ultimately enacted. Secret, closed-door deals don’t work for conservatives. Political horse-trading will never generate fiscal responsibility. Conservatives should strive to put the debt ceiling issue behind us and move forward with a transparent process to constrain and reform federal spending.