Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘boehner’

MSM fiscal cliff reporting jumps the shark

Posted by Richard on December 29, 2012

In the last few days, the mainstream media’s “reporting” of the fiscal cliff negotiations has gone from somewhat biased to totally beyond the pale. For instance, NBC Nightly News in the past fawningly reported Bill Clinton’s defense of the tax rates during his administration. And for years, they’ve talked disapprovingly about the “Bush tax cuts.” The other night, they described the consequences of going over the fiscal cliff as the restoration of the “higher Bush-era tax rates.” Not the “higher Clinton-era tax rates,” but the “higher Bush-era tax rates.” That is, the rates Bush inherited from Clinton and subsequently cut. 

Another news story I saw recently (I think it was CBS) stated as fact that with time running out, the only option left is to give the President what he wants. Why isn’t the only option to give the House Republicans what they want? Why is the intransigence of Obama an immutable given, while the intransigence of House Republicans is irrelevant?

I think the President is willing — perhaps eager — to go over the fiscal cliff. He may object to the domestic discretionary spending cuts, but he has no problem with the defense cuts (neither do I, by the way). And he likes the general idea of higher taxes and more government revenue. Plus, he’s confident that, given the GOP’s messaging incompetence and the complicity of the MSM, the blame for middle-class tax increases will fall on the Republicans.

I just hope that the utterly incompetent GOP mishandling of this issue will lead to the dumping of Boehner as House speaker and possibly the dumping of McConnell as Senate minority leader. It’s far past time for a major shake-up in the GOP that kicks to the curb the “ruling class” inside-the-beltway, politics-as-usual leadership that has served the party so poorly for so many years.

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It’s the spending, stupid!

Posted by Richard on July 11, 2011

So far, John Boehner is hanging tough on his "no new taxes" pledge. But can we count on him and the GOP establishment to continue to do so? I certainly hope so, but I think it depends on people like you and me keeping the pressure on.

The President is arguing that trillions of dollars in tax increases must be part of a "compromise" solution to the deficit problem, along with a significant bump in the debt ceiling. So he's basically arguing that the government must be allowed to borrow more, tax more, and spend more. That's irresponsible, immoral, and outrageous. 

The Fiscal Year 2007 budget (the last budget before the Democrats took over Congress, and subsequently stopped passing actual budgets at all) was about $2.7 trillion. FY 2011 spending will be about $3.8 trillion, with a deficit of about $1.6 trillion. So about $1.1 trillion of this year's deficit is due to the massive spending increase, and about $0.5 trillion is due to the drop in revenue. 

Or to put it another way, for more than 50 years, with rare exceptions and regardless of tax rates, federal revenue has remained around 17-19% of Gross Domestic Product, and spending has been about 18-20% of GDP (see here for historical data). But the Obama administration (with a kick-start from Bush, when his Treasury secretary, former Goldman Sachs CEO Hank Paulson, threw him into a panic in late 2008) has exploded federal spending to more than 25% of GDP. And he now wants to claim that that's the new normal, and raise revenues to match. 

It will never happen. The 17-19% of GDP revenue number has persisted regardless of whether the top marginal tax rate was 28%, 39%, 50%, or 70%. Contrary to the wishful thinking of the left, tax rates affect people's behavior, and if tax rates go up, they just adjust their affairs to reduce the bite.

Right now, due to the recession, the revenue rate is unusually low, at around 15%. Personally, as a libertarian, I think that's more than enough (the Christian God only asks for 10%). So I signed on to WorldNetDaily's No More Red Ink campaign, which opposes any increase in the debt limit. That wouldn't cause a default or world-wide crisis, as the MSM would have you believe. It would simply require the federal government to reduce expenditures to match its revenues. I think that's a good start. 🙂

But in the spirit of compromise, I'd settle (for now) for this: cut federal spending back to its historical average of 19% of GDP in return for increasing the debt limit by enough to accommodate the difference between that and expected revenue (at current tax rates) for the next two years. As long as it's coupled with a significant roll-back of all the new federal regulations, which (along with the burden of massive federal borrowing) are one of the reasons the economy is so sluggish (and thus revenue is so far below the historical norm). 

So here's what you do, Speaker Boehner: Pass a bill that (1) caps federal spending at 19% of GDP and raises the debt ceiling by however many hundreds of billions that amount is above the projected revenues for FY 2012-2013, and (2) rescinds significant portions of the economy-stifling regulations the Obama administration has enacted in the past 2.5 years. Then dare the Senate to reject it or the President to veto it. Make it clear to both that there is no Plan B — it's a take it or leave it proposition. 

My friends, we can't continue on our current path. And we can't allow federal spending of 25-26% of GDP to become the new "baseline." At a minimum, we have to go back to the historical norm of 18-19% of GDP.

Preferably, we should simply refuse to increase the debt ceiling and force the federal government to cut expenditures to match current revenues (as a first step to fiscal sanity). That's really all that not increasing the debt ceiling does: it imposes a "balanced budget amendment" (which lots of Republicans claim to favor) immediately. No need for a Senate super-majority or ratification by the states. All it takes is for the House of Representatives to not increase the debt ceiling.

I have little hope that the Republicans have enough stones to go that far. But maybe if we keep the pressure on, they'll at least pass a bill along the lines of my compromise proposal. 

Sign onto the No More Red Ink campaign. And go to AFP's SickOfSpending.com to get your free "Cut Spending Now" bumpersticker. Membeship is free, but if you make a donation, you can choose to have the corresponding number of bumperstickers distributed on your behalf or sent to you to distribute. 

I know you've heard this before (and with far less justification), but it really is for the children. And the grandchildren.

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Stupid leader of stupid party fumbles tax issue

Posted by Richard on September 14, 2010

On ABC's "Face the Nation" this past Sunday, House minority leader John Boehner (SR-OH) totally screwed up on the issue of the impending tax increases, which was shaping up as a big winner for the Republicans. This kind of unforced error is why some of us call his party the Stupid Party, and it reminded me of why I wanted the Republicans to choose Pence over Boehner as minority leader back in 2006.

Here's what Boehner should have said:

"The President doesn't need any Republican votes for his plan to increase taxes on the job creators and small businesses of America. The Democrats have a commanding majority in the House, and there is no filibuster or other procedural mechanism by which we Republicans can prevent the Democrats from passing whatever bill they want.

"The President wants Republicans to abandon their opposition to a tax increase in order to pressure the more responsible members of his own party. Growing numbers of them are disturbed by his class-warfare rhetoric and rightly fear that a tax increase in the midst of a deep recession, while appealing to his far-left base, would do serious harm to this country. Neither I nor any other Republican will help him with his ill-considered, dangerous plan."

That wasn't so hard, was it? If a humble blogger out in flyover country can come up with that answer, why can't the big-shot politico who's supposed to be providing leadership for the party that purports to be for lower taxes, limited government, and fiscal responsibility? 

I'm not a big fan of Sen. Mitch McConnell, but he gets a big shout-out from me this time for attempting to counter the harm done by the bone-headed Boehner: 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) said on the Senate floor today that he is introducing legislation "that ensures that no one in this country will pay higher income taxes next year than they are right now."

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for McConnell said today that every Senate Republican has pledged to oppose any attempt to extend the Bush tax cuts that doesn't include an extension of the tax cuts for the wealthy. McConnell himself has given similar remarks. "That's the kind of debate that unifies my caucus, from Olympia Snowe to Jim DeMint," McConnell said, the Washington Post reports, referring to one of the most moderate and one of the most conservative Senate Republicans.

On the Senate floor today, McConnell said, "Only in Washington could someone propose a tax hike as an antidote to a recession."

If the anti-Democrat tsunami that many are predicting actually takes place (which probably depends on idiot Republicans like Boehner not snatching defeat from the jaws of victory — not a safe bet by any means) and the GOP takes control of the House, I sure hope there's a clean sweep of the leadership. Mike Pence for Speaker of the House!

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Boehner: This is the people’s House… Shame on this body

Posted by Richard on March 22, 2010

Shortly before the vote for government-run health care, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) addressed the House:


[YouTube link]

Aside from a few idiots chortling over the political benefit of letting the Democrats pass such an unpopular bill, the Stupid Party has acquitted itself pretty well during the struggle over government-controlled health care. Maybe — just maybe — some of them have actually learned from their well-deserved drubbing in 2006 and 2008.

The Evil Party, on the other hand, has interpreted public repudiation of Republicans (to be precise, candidates pretending to be Republicans) as a mandate to become even more evil. This fall, they may learn what a mistake that was.

I just hope we can find another Reagan — or better yet, a Thatcher — in the next three years.

If we don't, I'll look into retiring in Costa Rica. Or Belize. Or maybe Honduras — the people of that little country have recently demonstrated great courage and great respect for democracy and the rule of law. I might really like it there. 

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“Stay the course”: right for Dems, wrong for GOP

Posted by Richard on November 15, 2006

It’s rather ironic, isn’t it? The Democrats succeeded in last Tuesday’s elections largely by appearing cleaner ethically and running moderate and conservative candidates. So Nancy Pelosi wants to celebrate the success of that strategy by dumping Steny Hoyer, who implemented it, and making an ethically challenged moonbat, John Murtha, the new majority leader. Even the Washington Post was struck by the stupidity of that:

Mr. Murtha’s candidacy is troubling for several reasons, beginning with his position on the war in Iraq. A former Marine, Mr. Murtha deserves credit for sounding an alarm about the deteriorating situation a year ago. But his descriptions of the stakes there have been consistently unrealistic, and his solutions irresponsible. …

Mr. Murtha would also be the wrong choice as majority leader after an election in which a large number of voters expressed unhappiness with Washington business as usual. Mr. Murtha has been a force against stronger ethics and lobbying rules. …

As a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, he has been an avid participant in the orgy of earmarking, including numerous projects sought by a lobbying firm that employed his brother. During the Abscam congressional bribery investigation in 1980, Mr. Murtha was videotaped discussing a bribe with an undercover FBI agent. ("You know, we do business for a while, maybe I’ll be interested, maybe I won’t, you know," Mr. Murtha said.) He wasn’t indicted, but it’s fair to say the episode raised questions about his integrity.

Of course, there’s plenty of irony and stupidity on the other side of the aisle, too. The Republicans lost a bunch of seats due to their ethically challenged, unprincipled, inarticulate, and ineffective leadership. So, of course, they’re poised to stick with that leadership. Bob Novak thinks that’s remarkably stupid:

The depleted House Republican caucus, a minority in the next Congress, convenes at 8 a.m. in the Capitol Friday on the brink of committing an act of supreme irrationality. The House members blame their leadership for tasting the bitter dregs of defeat. Yet, the consensus so far is that, in secret ballot, they will re-elect some or all of those leaders.

In private conversation, Republican members of Congress blame Majority Leader John Boehner and Majority Whip Roy Blunt in no small part for their midterm election debacle. Yet, either Boehner, Blunt or both are expected to be returned to their leadership posts Friday. For good reason, the GOP often is called "the stupid party."

Last Wednesday, I expressed my support for Mike Pence as minority leader and John Shadegg as minority whip, noting that the Republicans made a mistake when they chose Blunt over Shadegg in January. The more I read about Pence and Shadegg, the more I hope they can pull off the upset.

Pence said after the election, "The era of big Republican government is over," and issued a vision statement to back that up:

While the scandals of the 109th Congress harmed our cause, the real scandal in Washington D.C. is runaway federal spending, and our voters said, “Enough is enough.”

After 1994, we were a Majority committed to a balanced federal budget, entitlement reform and advancing the principles of a limited federal government. In recent years, our Majority voted to expand the federal government’s role in education by nearly 100 percent, created the largest new entitlement in forty years, and pursued spending policies that created record deficits, national debt and rampant earmark spending.

This was not in the Contract with America. Our opponents will say that the American people rejected our Republican vision. I say the American people did not quit on the Contract with America-we did. And in so doing, we severed the bonds of trust between our government and our most dedicated supporters.

I heard Pence interviewed on the radio this morning, and I was impressed. It’s not just issues, ideology, and vision, either — personality, charisma, and articulateness are important, too, especially when you know the media will be against you. Dennis Hastert cost the Republicans votes every time he stepped in front of a camera and microphone. Pence is a former talk radio host, and it shows.

The more I read about Boehner and Blunt, on the other hand, the more certain I am that "staying the course" with the current leadership would be a monumental mistake. Boehner once handed out checks from the tobacco lobby on the floor of the House while it was in session. Blunt defended earmarks at the Heritage Foundation just last Thursday. Both supported No Child Left Behind, the Medicare drug entitlement, the abandonment of the Contract’s ethics and accountability rules, and boatloads of pork.

Staying with the Boehner – Blunt "business as usual" team could severely damage the GOP nationwide in 2008. And that, in turn, could have disastrous consequences for the 2010 redistricting. Do you Republicans really want to risk returning to minority status for another generation just so these pricks in Washington can protect their perks and pork?

Check out this video in support of Pence and Shadegg (2:21):

[BTW, if you’re on a low-speed connection and the video keeps stopping, that means it’s playing faster than you’re downloading it, so the buffer keeps emptying. Just go get a cup of coffee or a beer or something — give it a minute or two. Once most of it has been downloaded into your buffer (the line at the bottom is red most of the way across), drag the slider back to the beginning and start it playing again. In case it helps, here’s the direct YouTube link.]
 

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