Debt Ceiling: Winners And Losers, Emily Miller vs. Jennifer Rubin
The Post's Jennifer Rubin, along with once again letting us see her dislike for the Tea Party, says Boehner won big.
Democrats lost on virtually every issue of principle (taxes, a clean debt bill, real spending cuts) because the president insisted above all else on getting himself to the next election without another showdown.
Relief is the prevalent emotion for conservatives — relief that the Tea Party didn’t divide the party, that the speaker maintained the affection and loyalty of his caucus, that taxes weren’t raised and that at least we are moving in the right direction.
Not so fast, says the Washington Times' Emily Miller. Obama won going away. Obviously, they can't both be correct. So, what gives? Frankly, Rubin's post is a bit embarassing to read, as it's an ode to Speaker Boehner straight from his press office. But she isn't wrong. And neither is Miller. Huh???
MILLER: Obama’s grand slam Republicans fold as U.S. continues on path toward economic disaster
The bill would cut a minuscule $7 billion in 2012 and $3 billion total in 2013 – the only enforceable years. Meanwhile, the nation will continue to borrow at a rate of $100 billion a month.
In November, the American people sent Tea Party conservatives to Washington to bring spending under control. These freshmen were beaten down by their leaders, who were outplayed by the president. Mr. Obama won the debt-ceiling game, and Republicans lost the season.
In my opinion, provided one wasn't distracted by all the high drama, or PR, in Rubin's case, much of it intended to distract, there were three winners in this deal and three losers. Obama, Boehner and Reid each won. It's how they negotiated it as the principles, while the Left, Right and Center aka the rest of America lost - big. Frankly, except for the entertainment value, we all got hosed, folks.
What was Boehner's and presumably the Right's big win? Read my lips, no new taxes. Sure, but whose lips were we reading? They weren't John Boehner's; they were Harry Reid's. Sorry folks, but the man is good! Stop looking at the forest they created and focus on the trees.
Reid wants to remain Majority Leader. The Senate currently has 51 Dems and two Independents that caucus with them. He can't afford to lose 2 and Dems already took a drubbing in 2010. More importantly, come 2012, the Democrats have 23 seats up, while the GOP has only 10. Dems are running in Fla, Michigan, North Dakota, Virginia, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsyvania, and West Virginia, among other states. They aren't NY or Ca when it comes to taxes. Do the Math. Not only could Reid probably not get the votes to raise taxes, there was no way he was going to just give the Senate away in a landslide by forcing his rank and file off a cliff. Ain't gonna happen.
Currently, Democrats are expected to have 23 seats up for election, including 2 independents who caucus with the Democrats, while Republicans are only expected to have 10 seats up for election.
Once you understand that Reid didn't want to raise taxes, things start to fall into place. What Obama, Boehner and Reid needed to do was raise the debt ceiling with as little political damage, or risk to them and theirs as possible. So, what do you do? The three of them needed to come out winners, and so they did. Obama knowingly – and other Dems, knowingly or not, made a lot of noise about taxes one of their own was never going to allow.
But Reid couldn't take credit for that and didn't need, or want to. That was Boehner's big win because it allowed him to play to his base, gaining him a pass for raising the debt ceiling, which he had already admitted he was going to do from day one. All he really needed was enough to go back home looking like a fighter, if not big winner to retain his Speakership.
And for going along, Obama got his free pass through to the election. In reality, this whole charade is nothing but a punt. The so called committee isn't going to do anymore than they did up front, backend everything, meaning it's a wash until after the election.
Let's summarize. In terms of verifiable, enforceable cuts, we get, per Emily Miller, "$7 billion in 2012 and $3 billion total in 2013." That's nothing, even if we accept some higher figures floating around. Everything after that, including what the super committee does is irrelevant, as it's all subject to change under a new Congress and possibly administration. Besides, they'll back-end that, too and may even use it to get the tax increases Obama wants.
Meanwhile, the debt ceiling went up, we continue to have to borrow about $100 billion a month to keep going and we add over $7 trillion to our debt over 10 years as Senator Paul already explained. In short, other than the kabuki dance, we've accomplished nothing substantial while the politicians most involved covered their asses. How is that any different from politics as usual? Okay, well, it was a bit more entertaining than usual. But then, they needed something to keep people occupied so they wouldn't stop long enough to think and realize what was really going on. Change – not!
The deal that is pending before us now:
Adds at least $7 trillion to our debt over the next 10 years. The deal purports to "cut" $2.1 trillion, but the "cut" is from a baseline that adds $10 trillion to the debt. This deal, even if all targets are met and the Super Committee wields its mandate – results in a BEST case scenario of still adding more than $7 trillion more in debt over the next 10 years. That is sickening.
Never, ever balances.
The Super Committee's mandate is to add $7 trillion in new debt. Let's be clear: $2.1 trillion in reductions off a nearly $10 trillion,10-year debt is still more than $7 trillion in debt. The Super Committee limits the constitutional check of the filibuster by expediting passage of bills with a simple majority. The Super Committee is not precluded from any issue, therefore the filibuster could be rendered most. In addition, the plan harms the possible passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment. Since the goal is never to balance, having the BBA as a "trigger" ensures that the committee will simply report its $1.2 trillion deficit reduction plan and never move to a BBA vote.
It cuts too slowly. Even if you believe cutting $2.1 trillion out of $10 trillion is a good compromise, surely we can start cutting quickly, say $200 billion-$300 billion per year, right? Wrong. This plan so badly backloads the alleged savings that the cuts are simply meaningless. Why do we believe that the goal of $2.5 trillion over 10 years (that's an average of $250 billion per year) will EVER be met if the first two years cuts are $20 billion and $50 billion. There is simply no path in this bill even to the meager savings they are alleging will take place.