Wednesday, December 11, 2013
The New Budget Deal - Spitting In The Wind
Paul Ryan and Democrat Senator Patty Murray have completed budget negotiations to avoid another government shutdown.
It isn't pretty.
It amounts to a two-year deal that would reduce the deficit by a piddling $23 billion over ten years without raising taxes. It would also increase discretionary spending ( the money not on autopilot for entitlements like ObamaCare) to $1.012 trillion for fiscal year 2014 and $1.014 trillion for fiscal year 2015.To put this in context , our deficit is now $17 trillion. $2.3 billion per year doesn't even cover the annual interest on that money at current rates.
The money to replace the actual cuts of the sequester, $63 billion, would be raised by 'new revenues', known to normal humans as increased taxes and fees and by "future cuts," dependent on the Democrats actually going along with them. Again, in the real world, this is known as 'hey, lend me $20 until the end of the month and I swear, pinky promise that this time I really will pay you back.'
Oh, and that $63 billion? It comes, among other things, from vastly increased airline 'security fees' which won't go to the TSA but into general revenues, cuts to federal and military pensions and higher payments for federal insurance of private pensions. Hey, the little people won't miss it!
Oh, and just for giggles..there a little provision stuck deep inside that limit's the GOP's ability to block future tax increases:
The bill includes language from the Senate Democrats’ budget that voids senators’ ability to raise a budget “point of order” against replacing the sequester cuts with tax increases.
The process is quite complicated, but in practice it grants Harry Reid the authority to send tax increases to the House with a bare majority, rather than the 60-vote threshold that would be required under a point of order.
The provision has angered key Republican senators. Reeling from Harry Reid’s unprecedented use of the “nuclear option” to end the filibuster on executive-branch nominations, they are dismayed that Paul Ryan would have backed another limit to their power.
“This is an appalling power grab that should never have been allowed to be in a final agreement. It’s essentially the ‘nuclear option’ part two, eroding minority rights in the Senate even further. Harry Reid must be very happy,” a Senate GOP aide says.
Here's Paul Ryan trying to sell this on Mark Levin's radio show:
I give Ryan props for appearing here and taking a shot at selling this to an avowed fiscal conservative like Levin.But essentially, I think Levin has it right...it's increased spending today in exchange for cuts, maybe,tomorrow. Remember, after the last budget deal, the House only passed appropriation bills that increased spending and not the ones that actually cut spending once the deal was cut.
As Ryan mentions several times, the club the Democrats are using is concentrating the sequester cuts on our already badly affected military. And the fact that the House GOP leadership apparently has no one whom can explain to the American people in real terms what this ongoing Ponzi scheme means, how it will affect them and their children and why a government shutdown to force some fiscal sanity on President Obama and his minions might be necessary.
As an aside, I have to admit that given his support for amnesty for illegal aliens, something that will vastly increase the deficit because of chain migration and the government benefits that entails, Ryan's talk about balanced budgets rings mockingly hollow.
However, Ryan is quite correct that minus the threat of a shutdown as an incentive, President Obama and his fellow Democrats are never going to fix the problem, and that this was probably the best deal he could make. Whether that's an adequate excuse for collaborating in the mess and sharing the blame in exchange for minor concessions is one I'll let you decide for yourself.
Certainly GOP House Speaker John Boehner thinks it a grand idea.
Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and virtually every conservative think tank think it's not.
Eventually this sort of nonsense becomes unsustainable and corrects itself. But when it gets to that point, the pain and suffering are a lot more intense than it would be otherwise.
Unfortunately, our Ruling Class in Washington with access to Other People's Money they did nothing to earn will be just fine, thank you. That's the even bigger tragedy.