Archive for the ‘The Deficit’ Category

Update: Winning The Future, GOP–Can’t We Find $39 Billion More?

The last time I checked how the budget cutting bids were going the Republicans were at a measly $35 billion.  Not even a good sip of Jack.

Bloomberg reports that ante is raised:

Republicans promise $100 billion in spending cuts

Piling cuts on top of cuts, House Republican leaders outlined an additional $26 billion in spending reductions on Thursday in hopes of placating conservatives who rejected an initial draft as too timid.

No details were immediately available, but the move would cut current spending in hundreds of federal programs by about $60 billion, resulting in levels in effect in 2008.

Thursday’s announcement caps a long struggle among Republicans over what they meant exactly when promising to cut $100 billion last year in their Pledge to America.

From the Washington Post:

House Republicans divided on spending cuts; for some, it’s $100 billion or bust

I love the headline with the “or bust”.  Exactly.  If we don’t get control of the deficit by cutting we will really go bust!

An already wobbly week for House Republicans turned chaotic Thursday as their unruly new majority flatly rejected a spending plan crafted by House leaders, saying its cuts fell far short of fulfilling a campaign pledge to slice $100 billion from federal programs.

House leaders offered to redo the package but were struggling to identify the massive and unprecedented cuts that will be required to meet their goal. Dissatisfied conservatives, meanwhile, were pressing for even sharper reductions that could prove difficult to push through the House, much less the Democrat-controlled Senate.

We started at $35b and have increased the bidding by $26b to get us to $61b…can we find an extra $39b in some czar’s desk drawer?

This is not the time for timidity.  When Pelosi-Reid were transforming America into a liberal wasteland, did they shirk from the task at hand? No. They delivered. Now it is our turn.

Maybe a little auctioning chant will inspire them:

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Winning The Future, GOP?

$35 Billion?  Winning The Future GOP?

China has more than that in their sofa cushions.

But the Tea Party, the bane of Obama-care and democratic town halls for the past years is proving itself as a pain to the mainstream Republican leadership in the house.

Careful handling that tea kettle Speaker Boehner it can be scalding.

They are pressing for deeper cuts then the mere token cuts offered.

Now, that is more like it.  In fact, I love this new reverse auction bidding for the lowest cuts.

The so-called Pledge to America wanted to roll back spending to those draconian days of 2008.  Winning The Future?

According to the Los Angeles Times, proposed reductions for 2011 fall well short of the GOP’s $100-billion goal, even by their measure.

Conservative lawmakers, including many newcomers inspired by the ”tea party” movement, see the leadership’s proposal as inadequate, despite substantial hits to longtime GOP targets including the Environmental Protection Agency, community policing and the arts.
“It’s not enough,” said freshman Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.).
By positioning the cuts against Obama’s proposed fiscal 2011 budget, which was never enacted, the GOP claimed reductions of $74 billion.
But measured against the actual levels of spending, which in many cases are lower than in the budget proposed by the White House, the cuts amount to about $35 billion.

Representative Lankford is right.  We were promised more like $100 billion. And we all know that even that amount is not enough when our deficit is in the trillions.
From our gray lady:

But during the closed party meeting, other Republicans said the cuts were too timid and that the party needed to reach the $100 billion decrease Republicans had pledged before proposing to pro-rate the cuts since the government was nearly halfway through its fiscal year.

Representative Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, said Republicans should propose an across-the-board reduction if necessary to meet the $100 billion level. “We said we would do it, and so we should,” Mr. Flake said.

NRO reports:

House conservatives, though frustrated, are not discouraged. They were hardly surprised to see the number come in below $100 billion, for Cantor and Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) had hinted at that outcome for some time. Few, if any, have openly criticized party leaders, and many remain optimistic. “I think it’s a good start, but it’s not where we need to be,” RSC chairman Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) says. “We need to get to 100.”
Rep. Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.), a noted fiscal hawk, is a little more candid in his frustration. “We promised to cut $100 billion and I think that’s what we should do,” he says bluntly — not least because Republican credibility is on the line. If we can’t cut $100 billion here and now, I don’t think anybody is going to have any real faith in us moving forward,” Flake says. “That’s what I worry about.”

“Most of us would have preferred to start with $100 billion and go from there,” he says.

The dynamic of this debate has changed.  It isn’t whether spending should be cut but how much should be cut.

Meanwhile, President Obama’s spending freeze is as fresh as the Super Bowl sushi still in my fridge.

I wouldn’t bet against the tea party faction of the Republican house.  Not yet.

Meanwhile, if all this deficit budgetary intra-party debate is driving you to drink:

Cheers!

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New Poll: Americans prefer cutting federal services to raising taxes by nearly 2-1

AP-CNBC Poll: Cut services to balance the budget

An Associated Press-CNBC Poll showed widespread anxiety about budget shortfalls exceeding $1 trillion a year. Eighty-five percent worry that growing red ink will harm future generations – the strongest expression of concern since AP polls began asking the question in 2008. Fifty-six percent think the shortfalls will spark a major economic crisis in the coming decade.

The citizenry are concerned and that should make it a greater concern for congress, right?   But read further:

Americans prefer cutting federal services to raising taxes by nearly 2-1 in a new poll. Yet there is little consensus on specific, meaningful steps – and a wariness about touching two gargantuan programs, Social Security and Medicare.

As for detailed cures, the poll shows little agreement – a problem that has long bedeviled lawmakers who often speak about taming federal deficits but seldom vote to do so.

Politician who make up at least 99.9% of all Representatives and Senators in congress are bedeviled because we citizens have not decided ourselves what to cut and how deeply.

Asked to choose between two paths lawmakers could follow to balance the budget, 59 percent in the AP-CNBC Poll preferred cutting unspecified government services while 30 percent picked unspecified tax increases. Republicans leaned heavily toward service reductions while Democrats, usually staunch advocates of federal spending, were about evenly split between the two alternatives.

We seem to want cuts but to what?  But one thing is certain, even among Democrats, spending cuts are preferred over tax increases.
But the problem in the cutting lies where it always has in the specifics.  We all seem to point at each other and say “cut his service but not mine”!

Until we decide on what needs cut the politicians will be politicians and not do what we tell them not to.

If there’s a ray of hope for policymakers, it’s the expectation many have for a broadly aimed deficit-reduction effort.

Asked to consider each budget-balancing strategy separately, nearly two-thirds said tax increases will be needed to eliminate deficits and almost 8 in 10 said government services will have to be cut. A large majority of Democrats said spending cuts were inevitable, while about half of Republicans said tax increases were necessary – positions that are usually anathema for party leaders in Congress.

Combining those responses, just over half overall – 54 percent – said spending cuts and higher taxes will be needed.

Are you confused as I am?  The above grafs seem contradictory.
What is clear is that spending reductions are more important than increasing taxes.   That line about 54% saying cuts and tax increases will be needed sound almost like resignation to me.   Its as if we are worn down and surrender.   It does not read to this guy that 54% want both but just expect both.

Even so, the public is not bristling to tackle the deficit.

Of seven issues tested, the deficit was even with taxes as fifth most mentioned, well behind the economy. Forty-seven percent said the deficit should be reduced with spending cuts even if new education, health and energy programs were eliminated, while 46 percent said those programs should grow even if the red ink expands.

If it wasn’t that members of congress earn the contempt we have for them, you almost feel sorry for them.  The poll seems to show no real clear direction from us as to what we want them to do.  It isn’t like they listen to us anyway, just look at how many times they keep pushing for amnesty for those who break and enter our country.  Or how they ignored us about TARP, auto bailouts, Wall Street bailouts, and health care reform.
But on this issue we seemingly are as wishy-washy as they are.

When it comes to culling savings from Social Security and Medicare, the public mood runs from ambivalence to distaste. The giant pension and health care programs for the elderly together comprise a third of the $3.5 trillion annual budget.

People are about evenly divided on whether to reduce Medicare and Social Security benefits for the best-off seniors and whether to raise Social Security payroll taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Nearly two-thirds oppose raising the retirement age to 69 for people to receive full Social Security benefits. Most oppose raising the retirement age even if done gradually over the next 65 years.

That third rail has not suffered from an energy crisis.

Clear majorities oppose eliminating the tax credit for children, cutting the number of troops or their pay and trimming education and homeland security spending. People were split about evenly over cutting farm subsidies, while more opposed reducing Pentagon weapons research. Most opposed raising the federal gasoline tax and using the money for roads.

People, we are running out of things to cut if we keep opposing cuts in Defense, Education, Homeland Security Bureaucracy, Farm Subsidies…on and on and deeper in debt.

We cannot expect politicians whose sole purpose is to get elected, stay elected, and get re-elected multiple times to do our bidding if our bidding is bidding against each other.

For me everything is on the chopping block.

Maybe it’s time to hold a citizens convention to develop a focused deficit reduction plan.   Focus on one or two departments and services to cut, really cut, and then tell congress these are the two, now CUT THEM!

Way back in 2008 during some Hope and Change lollapalooza there was a slogan that became discredited: Yes, We Can.

Well, when it comes to cuts, if we mean it, MEAN IT:

YES, WE CAN!

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