Skip to comments.Real Tax Cuts, Real Spending Cuts (GOP must make a big list of things they are willing to cut)
Posted on 06/29/2010 7:10:47 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Republicans have rotten luck when it comes to timing. Think about the miracle of the Clinton economy Slick Willy took credit for a recovery that was under way well before he was elected and then evaded blame for a recession that began in the final months of his presidency, while two different Republicans, both named Bush, caught absolute hell.
In another case of bad timing, its a little bit unfortunate that when the Republicans finally summoned the testicular fortitude to start making a ruckus about spending, they ended up with an extension of unemployment benefits as the nearest issue at hand. For spending hawks, unemployment benefits probably arent the highest-value hill to die on. In fact, unemployment benefits are one of the better social safety-net programs we have in the United States. Theyre not terribly expensive, in real terms; they reward work; and they have the happy effect of encouraging a dynamic labor market and supporting risk-takers who seek better lives in new jobs. Think about how much harder it would be for a scrappy, underfunded startup to attract good talent from well-established competitors if those workers didnt know they had unemployment benefits as an emergency backup. Granted, our unemployment-benefit system is not especially well-run and could stand to be improved in a dozen ways but, compared to Medicaid, student loans, farm subsidies, or a thousand other federal welfare programs, unemployment benefits are a pretty solid deal. (Though not as solid as theyd be if they were a privately run tax-free hybrid insurance/annuity that you begin paying into from your first job and can roll over into your retirement if you dont tap into it before then. Feel free to pick that idea up and run with it, John Boehner. Theres more where that came from.)
Predictably, the Democrats are howling that the Republicans hate unemployed people and dont really care about the deficit, thats its all just a political charade. Of course its a political charade but just a political charade? The Democrats go-to spokesman, Anonymous Aide, is challenging the GOP to show the same puritanical budgetary resolve when it comes to re-upping the Bush tax cuts, telling The Hill: I will be curious to see if their newfound fiscal religion that everything must be paid for is something they stick to as long as debt and deficits are a problem. Or is [this] just an election-eve conversion [that] will be dropped as soon as convenient? (Shame on The Hill, incidentally: Nothing in this cheap, substance-free quotation rises to the level of justifying anonymity. Seriously: Democratic aide talks smack about Republicans and hes an anonymous source? Rent some self-respect.)
Embedded in Anonymous Aides line of attack is a familiar assumption, an article of faith, really, for Democrats: Tax Cuts = Spending. If what we really care about is the bottom line, the argument goes, then isnt cutting revenue functionally the same thing as increasing spending? It is tempting to dismiss this as a high-school debaters trick, a flimsy and facile bit of see-through rhetoric. But never underestimate the Lefts ability to misunderstand (or simply ignore) conservative thinking. Of course conservatives care about something other than the bottom line: Conservatives want both fiscal responsibility and a state that is limited in size and scope, so as to preserve the private sphere of life and citizens individual liberties.
Liberals kinda-sorta want the same thing, but youll rarely get them to admit it. One of the head-clutchingest things ever written about American politics is this gem, from Jonathan Chait of The New Republic: If you have no particular a priori preference about the size of government and care only about tangible outcomes, then liberalisms aversion to dogma makes it superior as a practical governing philosophy. Now, wipe that incredulous smirk off your face liberalisms aversion to dogma, indeed and consider what it would mean to have no a priori preference about the size of government. Surely even the open-minded, dogma-shunning liberals over at The New Republic have an a priori preference that the size of government not equal 100 percent of GDP, or 500 percent of GDP. Im pretty sure the non-ideologues in the sovereign-debt markets have a robust a priori preference that U.S. government spending not exceed GDP. Arguments over the size and reach of government are partly moral and ideological, but they are not exclusively moral and ideological. Reality intervenes. And reality is the friend of conservatism.
If congressional Republicans are going to argue for a balanced budget (or a less-unbalanced budget) and tax cuts, they are going to have to make once again, whipping it up from scratch the case for a limited central government. Americans are fairly receptive to that argument at the moment, but not as eager as some of my fellow conservatives would like to believe: Cut Social Security checks by 20 percent and that limited-government tea-party mob will be the one that comes around to tar and feather your sorry congressional hide. But the case can be made.
And while making the case, Republicans in Congress are going to have to make something else: a big list of things they are actually willing to cut. Otherwise, they will be refusing to recognize the reality in which they should be grounded, and theyll be confirming Anonymous Aides cynical worldview. Instead, Republicans would do well to beat the Democrats at their own game: Offer Nancy Pelosi the extension of unemployment benefits so long as she produces dollar-for-dollar cuts elsewhere in the budget. And then fight to extend the Bush tax cuts with dollar-for-dollar spending cuts to match. Steny Hoyers out there saying that Democrats are going to be left with no choice but to raise taxes on the middle class, Obamas campaign promise be damned. No choice? Republicans should give him some options.
Kevin D. Williamson is deputy managing editor of National Review.
CUT everything to the “bone” and start from there to rebuild (properly).
According to the GOP Congressional leadership they plan
to cut . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (crickets).
the GOP should absolutely NOT fall into this trap. the GOP should take teh stance of weaning people off government. they need to establish zero based budgeting, and make every agency spend 5% LESS dollars in each of the next ten years.
that way we have no sacred cows, and nobody can whine that they’re being picked on.
Good luck! Republicans are opposing democrat's bills now because it's politically beneficial to them (being in a small minority) and safe to do so. But they wont offer spending cuts because they see that as politically risky. Nothing I have seen has convinced me that these Republicans would have the guts to cut spending.
Looking for heroes? Then go to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. If he get's NJ out of the tank then he will provide an great agument against federal spending to bailout states that were too cowardly to do the right thing.
Republicans should start talking about a EU bailout of the USA due to democrats spending.
Christie has a long way to go, but he has made a credible start. NJ is a financial mess. Finally passed a budget the other day. Big problem: Not one entitlement program was reviewed for effectiveness. Hence, not one entitlement program was eliminated, curtailed or consolidated with some other entitlement program. The only job growth occuring in NJ is state and federal (census slugs) government.
Also, I would like someone to tell where these kids who were fed school breakfasts, lunches and dinners (because they weren’t being fed at home) are getting their meals now that school is out.
The Republicans are mimicking Brer Fox....he lay low.
That doesn’t instill confidence in the average American dunderhead voter.
Everyone here thinks the Republicans will win big in November without doing anything to earn it. I don’t think so. We shall see.
A salesman makes no sales unless he makes calls.
The Republican party refuses to make calls. No sales...
My main problems with the party leadership are these...
1. They don’t hawk Conservative ideals
2. They actually trash party members who do
3. They habitually compliment the Democrats and their fine ideals
4. They actually adopt the Democrat’s model, even going so far as to claim racism if they are criticized by the rank and file Republicans.
Oh who are we kidding. That’s the whole ballgame right there.
The last time the Republican party showed real backbone, was in 1994, when Newt Gingrich was inspired to loft the Contract with America.
After winning back the House and the Senate, the Republicans did fairly well for the next six years. They brought spending into line. We were actually headed toward surpluses, and then our team got the White House.
Talk about a melt-down. In the next eight years we nearly doubled the pre-existing debt, something like 92%.
I will say that the Democrats owned Congress from 2006 on, and the largest deficits took place during those two years, but our team sure didn’t help. Their intransigence cost us the leadership IMO.
Great society programs? Just damn! How damned dumb can you get?
It’s been about a decade since the party lost it’s family jewels. (There’s a case to be made that it went way back beyond that, but I think it’s fairly clear there was a real melt-down after 2000.) It has cost us greatly!
Where’s the Contract this year? Isn’t it time to dust that thing off and refresh it with updates?
Evidently not. The leadership, even at a time like this, can’t craft a clear-cut difference for U. S. citizens to contemplate across the board. No, were stuck in fantasy land, actually hawking pricks like Carly Fiorina and John McCain for U. S. Senate.
The Republican party, the only entity I know that could make whale s—t look lofty.
” My main problems with the party leadership are these...
1. They dont hawk Conservative ideals
2. They actually trash party members who do
3. They habitually compliment the Democrats and their fine ideals
4. They actually adopt the Democrats model, even going so far as to claim racism if they are criticized by the rank and file Republicans.
The leadership, even at a time like this, cant craft a clear-cut difference for U. S. citizens to contemplate across the board. No, were stuck in fantasy land, actually hawking pricks like Carly Fiorina and John McCain for U. S. Senate. “
I couldn’t put it any better than this.
We have NO LEADERSHIP.
No, sadly we don’t.
The responsibility ultimately falls back to conservatives to get involved in the GOP and change things. Yet, here it is a year and a half after zero’s election, and we have accomplished very little in that regard. It’s looking more and more like a case of too little too late.
Here’s what they should do -
go through every “program” and say
“which of the enumerated powers does this fall under”.
If none, it’s gone. And “interstate commerce” only applies to DISPUTES between states.
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