Three cliffs, no waiting?

posted at 1:01 pm on November 29, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Just how many cliffs do we face at the end of the year, anyway?  We’ve been debating about policy and strategy over the fiscal cliff, but Power Line’s Paul Mirengoff defines the standoff as three cliffs — debt, fiscal, and political.  Paul explains:

There is an economic cliff out there, though. It’s the debt cliff. Eventually, our nation’s massive debt will lead to a serious crisis of the kind certain European debtor nations are experiencing. But that cliff doesn’t face us at the end of the year or, in all likelihood, very soon.

Even so, the time to deal with the debt cliff is now. Delay only will make the cliff steeper.

Unfortunately, only the Republicans are serious about acting now to avoid the debt cliff. The Democrats are debating among themselves whether entirely to bypass entitlement reform — a prerequisite to dealing meaningfully with the debt — or to nod in the direction of such reform without really tackling it. And the Republicans, controlling only the House, cannot force the Democrats to get serious about entitlement reform because the Dems would rather go over the so-called fiscal cliff than take the tough measures that would put Medicare and Social Security on a sound long-term footing.

This brings me to the third cliff — the political one. It’s the cliff that one of the two parties will likely go over if no budget deficit deal is reached, we therefore go over the “fiscal cliff,” and the economy spirals into a recession.

Which one of the parties will experience the political cliff if we do a Thelma & Louise off either or both of the first two?  Paul isn’t terribly optimistic about the prospects for Republicans winning the argument, and a loss could be devastating.  Democrats now have a 10-seat majority in the Senate, while the Republican margin in the House is slimmer than before the election this month.  Obama will be President no matter what happens in 2014, but a financial debacle that ends up being blamed on Republicans could lose the GOP control of the House and no chance to gain control of the Senate — and that would give Obama a free hand for any brand of mischief he chooses in his final two years.

Therefore, Paul advises Republicans to get the best deal they can for now, and work towards solutions for both the fiscal and debt cliffs:

Because Republicans cannot do much about the debt cliff and because going off the political cliff would be catastrophic, Republicans must approach negotiations regarding the fiscal cliff cautiously. They should not feel guilty about doing so. If the American people had given Republicans the power to make major headway on the debt, the party would be obligated to try whatever that takes, the political consequences be damned. But the electorate chose to give Republicans only a little power.

With a little bit of power comes a little bit of responsibility. This means bargaining hard to reduce spending and to do some entitlement reform. It does not mean taking positions that will strike voters as so hardline that Democrats will be able to portray Republicans as the villain of the piece, i.e., the reason why the country went over the fiscal cliff and experienced an economic downturn.

In my column for The Fiscal Times, I argue the same thing.  Elections have consequences, and voters gave more power to Democrats than to Republicans three weeks ago.  That’s a fact of life, and we have to make the best deal we can.  However, this recent rash of irresponsibility in budgeting has to get resolved by returning to a normal budgetary process, a demand Republicans should be making publicly every day during the crisis:

Perhaps this sounds hopelessly nostalgic, but most of us recall when elections had consequences, and problems got addressed through normal compromise.  Voters in this election supported split government, expressing a desire for middle ground.  Yet none of the leadership in Washington seems to understand this, and voices on both sides have begun arguing for strategies that would force gridlock all the way to another election.

This is not only absurd, it’s dangerous.  The impact of going over this cliff will cost the economy $200 billion in consumer spending alone, according to the White House’s own numbers, which would almost certainly push us into a full-fledged recession, or worse.   But the damage to the political system might be even more long-lasting.  We do not have a parliamentary system for guaranteed winner-take-all outcomes, but a system that usually produces stability and the need for finding at least enough common ground to govern properly.  If that system is perceived to fail, don’t be surprised to hear extreme voices proposing extreme measures to rectify those failures.

The core of this standoff is the budgetary process in Congress, which has run off the rails for more than three years.  Despite the requirements of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 that both chambers produce a budget resolution each year, the Senate under Democratic control has refused to do so since 2009.  Instead, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has opted to litigate budget conflicts through high-profile standoffs and crises, rather than through the normal process of budget adoption and conference committees.

While there is plenty to dislike about conference committees and budgeting, it traditionally allows for rational compromises on key differences without turning each of them into crisis points.  The House under Republican leadership has produced a budget each year, but the Senate refuses to do so, even though a simple majority can pass budgetary bills, which cannot be filibustered.  It is long past time for Democrats in the Senate to prioritize budgets over hobby horses.

Voters send politicians to Washington to solve issues, not find ways to obstruct until they can elect more of their own party.  It’s time for both sides to accept the consequences of this election, end the campaigns, and start providing solutions.

The loudest voices seem to be demanding three different strategies for dealing with this twice-delayed crisis: obstinacy, total surrender, and something in between.  The first two are almost equally irresponsible.  Refusing to do anything will create a significant, or perhaps enormous, amount of economic and fiscal damage in the short run, in the vain hope that the disaster will produce total control for one party two years from now (which, for Republicans, is impossible with Obama winning a second term anyway), or in the equally vain hope that obstinacy will certainly make the other side blink.  The second option, in which the GOP votes “present” on Democratic proposals in order to stick them with the blame for bad policy, is almost as bad, especially when Republicans control the House and can negotiate at least some good policies to balance out the bad.  The third option is the way our political system is supposed to function — and it’s more than past time for us to return to it.

UpdateJennifer Rubin makes a similar point:

The problem with the constant drumbeat of anger and revenge against elected officials is not only that it hands victories to the other party (which nominates reasonable-sounding candidates), worsens our fiscal predicament and turns off all but the hardcore base ( well, that’s a lot right there, I grant you); rather, the problem for purveyors of this sort of politics is that it doesn’t wear well over time.

You can’t threaten every week to throw out every pol who is less than pristine without sounding like an LP with a skip ( young folks, this is how music once was played). Eventually donors, voters, listeners and candidates get fed up or bored with the rant-a-thon. Hysteria is tiring. (And once the subjects of your ire get reelected they learn to ignore you.)

None of this is an argument for mushy moderation or split-the-baby politics. (You can legislate in bold color while still giving the other side what is essential to make a deal.) It is, however, a reminder that conservatives who want to govern cannot simply stamp their feet, yell at the other side and blame the media. To obtain conservative ends you first have to attract majorities (hard when you sound like you’re on your fifth espresso) and then be willing to accept imperfect legislation that advances the essential conservative value — freedom.

Most voters want solutions, not perpetual campaigns — especially in the immediate aftermath of an election.


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Yes elections do have consequences. It’s time the voters felt them. The GOP will be demonized no matter how reasonable they are, and blamed for any ill-consequences just the same.

Total surrender isn’t irresponsible. Reelecting Obama & The Democrats is irresponsible. So let the Dems have their way and let the American people suffer the consequences.

The voters broke it… so let ‘em buy it.

SAMinVA on November 29, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Most voters want solutions, not perpetual campaigns — especially in the immediate aftermath of an election.

If that’s the case then somebody explain the recent Presidential election results, please?

Pqlyur1 on November 29, 2012 at 1:08 PM

Here is the problem, our economy is so large, so complex, that we could continue down this spiral for another ten years with the tricks they can pull…it won’t get better, and it will be a lot worse, but we actually won’t feel it until the bottom literally does drop out, but by then, the politicians in power now, will be set for life and have no worries.

This “imminent” danger is baloney, it is happening now, and will continue to happen, just incrementally and the public will absorb it because to rebel against it, they would have to admit they were wrong in their choice…

right2bright on November 29, 2012 at 1:10 PM

It is, however, a reminder that conservatives who want to govern cannot simply stamp their feet, yell at the other side and blame the media. To obtain conservative ends you first have to attract majorities (hard when you sound like you’re on your fifth espresso) and then be willing to accept imperfect legislation that advances the essential conservative value — freedom.

Very well stated..:)

Dire Straits on November 29, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Let it burn….

sandee on November 29, 2012 at 1:11 PM

returning to a normal budgetary process, a demand Republicans should be making publicly every day during the crisis:

amen Ed!

cmsinaz on November 29, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Dire Straits on November 29, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Hey DS :)

cmsinaz on November 29, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Three cliffs, no waiting?

Thelma & Louise no, you misunderstand what the fiscal cliff is, you do not go off it. You crash into it just like this Ford Focus does… At 120 Miles Per Hour…

SWalker on November 29, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Most voters want solutions, not perpetual campaigns — especially in the immediate aftermath of an election.

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Ed, you are a riot, that is very poetic, and sounds nice, but in fact and in action, it doesn’t and didn’t work out that way…the voters want a perceived solution, they are not willing to buy into a real solution, that takes sacrifice and they or the political hacks are not going to face that until the absolutely have to.

right2bright on November 29, 2012 at 1:13 PM

The Pappy Plan would fix the fiscal mess this country is in.

1. Seal the border
(saves entitlements by the galore, which the Left supposedly wants)

2. 10% across the board spending CUTS (real ones)
(if the budget is $3.4 trillion this year….cut it to $3.1 trillion for next year, then $2.8 trillion for the year after that and so on).

It’s “fair”. It involves “shared sacrifice” and “reform” and spreads the pain of getting our house in order (assuming that the lying politicians in D.C. want that to happen).

But if they won’t embrace that plan then LET IT GO OVER THE CLIFF and force the cuts. Military spending cuts? Well I guess let it happen. It’s what the TEATERCRAT voters want so let’s just do it.


TEATERMERICA 2012…….*Forward!!!

*Rich people get on the trains to the camps first.

PappyD61 on November 29, 2012 at 1:15 PM

Most voters want solutions, not perpetual campaigns — especially in the immediate aftermath of an election.

If that’s the case then somebody explain the recent Presidential election results, please?

Pqlyur1 on November 29, 2012 at 1:08 PM

Exactly.

the_nile on November 29, 2012 at 1:16 PM

No matter how balanced a deal made in conference, I expect hardline partisan rubes like Reid to sabotage it. He’ll blame the Pubs, of course, and MSM types like Matthews won’t debate him on it.

Maybe I’m being too cynical, but when the vote come, the Pubs should simply pull an Obama and vote ‘present’. Then let the Dems own the floor wherever the chips may fall.

Liam on November 29, 2012 at 1:17 PM

If that system is perceived to fail, don’t be surprised to hear extreme voices proposing extreme measures to rectify those failures.

Perceived? It has failed and everyone knows it, all that’s left now is everyone scrambling to be included on the last planes out before the hordes descend.

A political system that allows thugs, morons, psychopaths, and outright criminals to represent us is FAILED. Name a pol on the federal level who hasn’t become rich after serving just a few terms, average people would like to know how the hell that happens.

Every pol currently serving and quite a few who have golden parachuted themselves into retirement should thank their god that the American people haven’t acted people do in so many other nations.

Bishop on November 29, 2012 at 1:17 PM

Most voters want solutions, not perpetual campaigns —

That’s why America voted Obama back in right?

Right?

….

Gatsu on November 29, 2012 at 1:18 PM

If I’m gonna be driven off a cliff, I’d rather not be in a car with 2 Leftists like Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon.

Jimmy Durante driving, on the other hand…

Del Dolemonte on November 29, 2012 at 1:19 PM

Liam on November 29, 2012 at 1:17 PM

with ya liam

cmsinaz on November 29, 2012 at 1:20 PM

What a buncha BS. I say don’t cave to the Dembeciles, let us go over the cliff and let the Dems answer for it. The GOP is gonna get blamed no matter what and will never in a million years get one iota of the credit if things were to go well so I don’t give a crap. Let it go. Let it blow up. I don’t care anymore. The country is in the toilet and will be there for a long time so let it collapse and burn and maybe out of the ashes something better will emerge.

stukinIL4now on November 29, 2012 at 1:21 PM

Why are Republicans still negotiating? Just give Obama what he wants and let the whole economy go to hell… Just to be on record they need to put two bills to be voted on:

Bill # 1: Extend the Bush tax cuts to people making up to $ 200,000 a yer per individual and $ 250,000 per couples. This bill will pass and signed by Obama.

Bill # 2: Also extend the Bush cut to people making more than $ 200,000 a yer per individual and $ 250,000 per couples. This bill may not pass the democrat senate and for certain it will be vetoed by Obama. However Obama and the socialists now will own the disaster of taking the economy to hell by increasing taxes on the job creators.

So stop the negotiations and submit these two simple bills tomorrow for vote…

mnjg on November 29, 2012 at 1:21 PM

Most voters want solutions, not perpetual campaigns — especially in the immediate aftermath of an election.

Very naive of you Ed. Obama has provided no solutions whatsoever in the last 4 years, but yet was reelected because he has been campaigning for 6 years, non-stop. So many campaign promises left on cutting room floor. Very few actually met.

You may like to believe voters want solutions, but that’s impossible to believe when looking at the evidence staring us in the face.

ButterflyDragon on November 29, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Every pol currently serving and quite a few who have golden parachuted themselves into retirement should thank their god that the American people haven’t acted people do in so many other nations.

Bishop on November 29, 2012 at 1:17 PM

YET… my good friend. I’m still praying that those corruptocrats havew a full fledged come to Jesus moment that involves

a) Said corruptocrats.
b) Stout Hemp Rope.
c) Streetlamps on Pennsylvania Ave.
d) Carrion Birds.

Some assembly will of course be required… Oh… and your mileage may vary, and of course “Batteries not included”…

SWalker on November 29, 2012 at 1:25 PM

The problem with the constant drumbeat of anger and revenge against elected officials is not only that it hands victories to the other party (which nominates reasonable-sounding candidates)

What planet?

the_nile on November 29, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Why are Republicans still negotiating? Just give Obama what he wants and let the whole economy go to hell… Just to be on record they need to put two bills to be voted on:

Bill # 1: Extend the Bush tax cuts to people making up to $ 200,000 a yer per individual and $ 250,000 per couples. This bill will pass and signed by Obama.

Bill # 2: Also extend the Bush cut to people making more than $ 200,000 a yer per individual and $ 250,000 per couples. This bill may not pass the democrat senate and for certain it will be vetoed by Obama. However Obama and the socialists now will own the disaster of taking the economy to hell by increasing taxes on the job creators.

So stop the negotiations and submit these two simple bills tomorrow for vote…

mnjg on November 29, 2012 at 1:21 PM

+1

Khun Joe on November 29, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Rush is talking about how big bro is thinking about taking YOUR 401K! These dc slugs will not be happy till everything those of us who have something will be given to those who don’t?
L

letget on November 29, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Let the economy burn. I’m outta here shortly anyways.

Elections have consequences. Let the American people stand in bread lines and see the results of their vote.

UODuckMan on November 29, 2012 at 1:31 PM

In my column for The Fiscal Times, I argue the same thing. Elections have consequences, and voters gave more power to Democrats than to Republicans three weeks ago.

Actually, the more accurate way to describe it is they maintained virtually the same power sharing arrangement that existed before the election. Which, to me, means, this is what Congress has already passed. Done. Neither side has any kind of mandate to change the deal that is already in place – tax cuts expire, sequestration cuts go into effect. Again, Period. Done.

This is not some kind of blank check for Obama to do whatever he wants, and unless Democrats appear serious about enacting reforms NOW, not later, then the existing legislation, duly passed by Congress holds the day. Period.

deadrody on November 29, 2012 at 1:35 PM

To hell with it . . . let it crash, we’re tired of these political morons screwing over our lives. The end result of this will be that the productive members of society will suffer while Obama and his goons take off to Hawaii for a lavish vacation on our dime.

rplat on November 29, 2012 at 1:35 PM

In a related idea, House Pubs shouldn’t attempt to repeal Obamacare; let the battle rage in the courts. Then when people lose their jobs or have their work hours cut, we can point straight at the Democrat Party and those who re-elected Obama.

What can the libs do then–pass a law making it illegal for companies to cut workers and/or hours? Or maybe nationalize all industries? Let the unions strike, too, if they want. They were actually happy to have destroyed Hostess and force thousands of their members out of their jobs.

No pain, no gain. It’s about time the Left felt some pain.

Liam on November 29, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Does Government Want To Drain Americans’ 401(k) Plan?
http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/112812-634984-401k-on-the-table-for-fiscal-cliff.htm

One group of retirement plan professionals is warning that the hostilities might be closer than many of us think. The American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries launched on Monday, according to Reuters, “a media campaign intended to educate U.S. employers and workers that the federal government might consider changing the tax benefits of retirement savings accounts.”

And nearly three years ago, Newt Gingrich and Peter Ferrara wrote on these pages about the Treasury and Labor departments “asking for public comment on ‘the conversion of 401(k) savings and Individual Retirement Accounts into annuities or other steady payment streams.’”

“In plain English,” said Gingrich and Ferrara, “the idea is for the government to take your retirement savings in return for a promise to pay you some monthly benefit in your retirement years.”

Colbyjack on November 29, 2012 at 1:39 PM

The GOP needs to make sure Obama and the Dems own the crap economy. Give them whatever they want, let them own the oncoming recession.

Jack_Burton on November 29, 2012 at 1:40 PM

Jimmy Durante driving, on the other hand…

Del Dolemonte on November 29, 2012 at 1:19 PM

He just sailed right out there….

portlandon on November 29, 2012 at 1:40 PM

the voters want a perceived solution, they are not willing to buy into a real solution, that takes sacrifice and they or the political hacks are not going to face that until the absolutely have to.

right2bright on November 29, 2012 at 1:13 PM

I don’t think we agree very often, r2b, but on this one I completely concur. That’s why I disagree with Ed that voting present and letting the Dems do whatever insanity they want to wreck the economy is a perfectly legitimate solution. The sooner we bring on the “until we absolutely have to” moment, the sooner we can force Washington into actual solutions.

gravityman on November 29, 2012 at 1:40 PM

Republicans should let the Dems get all the tax increases they want, but for only 2 years. If the deficit/unemployment rates are higher in 2014 then the tax increases automatically expire.

If the Dems don’t agree to this then the they, more than the Republicans, will be seen as the reason no deal was reached.

Rich H on November 29, 2012 at 1:42 PM

I’m actually in favor of giving the Democrats the deal they want. After all, the voters made their decision and now they must be punished (thanks Mayor Koch). Sure, OK, drive the nation into recession! Go ahead, you evil Democrats, fish your wish.

Having said that, raising taxes doesn’t solve the fiscal cliff, the debt cliff or any other national economic issue. So if the Democrats won’t help solve our spending problem now now, they’ll have to make a much tougher set of decisions later. By “later” I mean later in 2013, because these problems aren’t going away before the 2014 elections.

MTF on November 29, 2012 at 1:44 PM

How to Avoid the Fiscal Cliff
http://swampland.time.com/2012/11/28/how-to-avoid-the-fiscal-cliff/

One point I made is that there are lots of good ways to raise revenue, because as I tried to show in my recent cover about our subsidized lives, there are lots of tax benefits (for home mortgages, employer-provided health insurance, 401(k) savings plans, charitable donations, and more) that mostly incentivize well-off people to do things they probably would have done anyway.

They are politically popular, but negotiators ought to limit them as much as possible. If they’re worried about raising taxes too much, they can offset some of the increased revenue by slashing corporate taxes and payroll taxes that bite companies and families.

Colbyjack on November 29, 2012 at 1:45 PM

Refusing to do anything will create a significant, or perhaps enormous, amount of economic and fiscal damage in the short run

On the other hand, the longer an unsustainable situation lasts, the more pain we will experience when it ends, as it must end someday.

If the House does compromise, it should do so by passing a spotlessly clean, standalone tax bill and then refuse to compromise in joint committee on any Christmas tree ornaments added to that bill in the Senate.

Laurence on November 29, 2012 at 1:46 PM

letget on November 29, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Might be a good idea since most of the wealth in 401K’s belongs to lawyers. Most lawyers being good managerial progressives deserve to be shafted by the administrative state they have sought to manipulate and manage.

chemman on November 29, 2012 at 1:47 PM

The republicans should stop pretending they have testicles and give the democrats WHATEVER they want. it’s what will happen anyway.

GhoulAid on November 29, 2012 at 1:48 PM

Most voters want solutions, not perpetual campaigns — especially in the immediate aftermath of an election.

The next election is two years away. At this point they are not voters. There are those who were duped into giving the rat-eared wonder and his filthy party the upper hand and those who didn’t want to do it. There are the makers and the takers/moochers. In short voters matter only one day in November every couple years. Congress is fighting for special interests now. Dems will defend the moochers inalienable right to be a parasite on society because that is how you get Obamaphone lady out there for the mid-term election.

Happy Nomad on November 29, 2012 at 1:52 PM

We do not have a parliamentary system for guaranteed winner-take-all outcomes, but a system that usually produces stability and the need for finding at least enough common ground to govern properly.

What common ground can possibly be found between whose who hate America and want to destroy it, and those who love it and want it to thrive?

As Ayn Rand put it, when you compromise between poison and food, death wins.

UltimateBob on November 29, 2012 at 1:53 PM

The biggest issue related to this has to be that since 2009, where the federal spending budget increase 18%, under emergency spending and stimulus, spending has not been scaled back to previous rates 2008/9. Operating under CRs since 2009 has allowed this to continue.

The GOP should be screaming about this. Agree to the sequestration for now, then when the next debt limit vote comes up, tie it to a 2008 level budget and force the Dems and Obama to account for the past 4 years of missing stimulus funds. About 600 billion per year by my estimate.

can_con on November 29, 2012 at 1:53 PM

can_con on November 29, 2012 at 1:53 PM

The Pubs in the House knew this was going on and voted for it. Their hands are filthy also.

chemman on November 29, 2012 at 1:56 PM

The sooner the whole thing collapses the better. Then we can get back to having the electorate engaged in the idea of freedom and liberty again, not this Euro-Socialism crap. Let it burn.

Deano1952 on November 29, 2012 at 1:56 PM

Ed, what you want is “Glasnost” or “reform” of a broken and broke system. The Russians turned away from Socialism when the people finally realized it would never work. It will take the American People far less time to see the ground coming up to hit them if we go over the cliff than if we grind slowly into deep debt.

Vote Present and let the Dims have their way. Forward!!

Bulletchaser on November 29, 2012 at 2:02 PM

The Pubs in the House knew this was going on and voted for it. Their hands are filthy also.
chemman on November 29, 2012 at 1:56 PM

True but at least they passed budgets in that time period

can_con on November 29, 2012 at 2:02 PM

How many times did I say here (and at other pseudo-conservative sites) over the last two years that

it doesn’t matter if Thelma is driving the car at 100MPH, or Louise at 80 MPH, the car is going over the cliff?

A bunch.

LegendHasIt on November 29, 2012 at 2:02 PM

Im for voting present and letting them own it and then getting some decent candidates and hopefully taking the senate back in two years. Sadly the leadership of the republican party seems unable to lead. The more I hear them talk the more disheartned I feel.

ldbgcoleman on November 29, 2012 at 2:08 PM

Most voters want solutions, not perpetual campaigns — especially in the immediate aftermath of an election.

Ed – sorry to say – you’re wrong on this one.
MOST voters proved this year they want handouts, they want freebies, they don’t care who else has to pay for it, they want to punish anyone who has more than they have, they don’t understand that it won’t last – and they don’t care.
MOST voters proved this year that the Idiocracy has already arrived.

dentarthurdent on November 29, 2012 at 2:08 PM

The 401k’s would only be touched in the dead of night and would become effective instantly; every single pol in D.C. knows that it would mean war.

Only the stupidest of the stupid would do such a thing, then again there is desperation up there.

Bishop on November 29, 2012 at 2:09 PM

Im for voting present and letting them own it and then getting some decent candidates and hopefully taking the senate back in two years. Sadly the leadership of the republican party seems unable to lead. The more I hear them talk the more disheartned I feel.

ldbgcoleman on November 29, 2012 at 2:08 PM

The only problem with that is that the GOP is going to be blamed no matter what they do. They system is rigged against them and, as Rush said today, the intent is to drive all but white people out of the GOP by means of bribing the “special interests” with amnesty, legal recognition of sodomite relationships, free Flukecare for skanks, etc. Sitting on their hands and telling the Dems to do whatever only leaves the impression that the GOP doesn’t want any sort of leadership role in DC.

Happy Nomad on November 29, 2012 at 2:14 PM

The 401k’s would only be touched in the dead of night and would become effective instantly; every single pol in D.C. knows that it would mean war.

Only the stupidest of the stupid would do such a thing, then again there is desperation up there.

Bishop on November 29, 2012 at 2:09 PM

At that point, I would be on the band wagon to make sure no politician leaves DC.

LoganSix on November 29, 2012 at 2:16 PM

The Demoncrats seem to be in the win/win situation. If the Republicans vote for tax rate increases the Demoncrats plan to pummel them in the 2014 elections by villifying them for breaking their pledge to not raise taxes.

If Republicans stand firm on no tax rate increases, the Demoncrats will place all the blame on Republicans for the poor economic conditions that come out of going over the cliff.

The voters that stand for freedom are the ones to lose here. The Demoncrats have set themselves up rather well as they can claim victory in either scenario.

rsherwd65 on November 29, 2012 at 2:19 PM

If Republicans stand firm on no tax rate increases, the Demoncrats will place all the blame on Republicans for the poor economic conditions that come out of going over the cliff.
rsherwd65 on November 29, 2012 at 2:19 PM

I wonder if the Republicans could start right now by telling everyone “this will not end well for you” and then just let the Dems have what they want. Then, they continue to announce “We have warned, that this will not end well for you”. And win everything starts breaking down, they could say “See, we told you. The Dems lied to you.”

Of course, they would never do that.

LoganSix on November 29, 2012 at 2:30 PM

The voters that stand for freedom are the ones to lose here. The Demoncrats have set themselves up rather well as they can claim victory in either scenario.

rsherwd65 on November 29, 2012 at 2:19 PM

Any thinking person would see through this – but that’s not what the majority of voters are any more – and the Dems will have the media lying and covering for them as well.

dentarthurdent on November 29, 2012 at 2:33 PM

Of course, they would never do that.

LoganSix on November 29, 2012 at 2:30 PM

And most of the media wouldn’t let the public hear it anyway.

dentarthurdent on November 29, 2012 at 2:34 PM

The 401k’s would only be touched in the dead of night and would become effective instantly; every single pol in D.C. knows that it would mean war.

Only the stupidest of the stupid would do such a thing, then again there is desperation up there.

Bishop on November 29, 2012 at 2:09 PM

At that point, I would be on the band wagon to make sure no politician leaves DC alive.

LoganSix on November 29, 2012 at 2:16 PM

I added a correction, you know, to better express my idea of what will very likely happen.

Archivarix on November 29, 2012 at 2:37 PM

The Demoncrats seem to be in the win/win situation. If the Republicans vote for tax rate increases the Demoncrats plan to pummel them in the 2014 elections by villifying them for breaking their pledge to not raise taxes.

rsherwd65 on November 29, 2012 at 2:19 PM

That’s a common Alinsky tactic, in fact it’s rule #4 of the Rules for Radicals:

RULE 4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules

UltimateBob on November 29, 2012 at 2:45 PM

I added a correction, you know, to better express my idea of what will very likely happen.

Archivarix on November 29, 2012 at 2:37 PM

I’m thinking Logan was trying to be more subtle…..

dentarthurdent on November 29, 2012 at 2:48 PM

I added a correction, you know, to better express my idea of what will very likely happen.

Archivarix on November 29, 2012 at 2:37 PM

That was implied. :wink:

LoganSix on November 29, 2012 at 2:49 PM

However, this recent rash of irresponsibility in budgeting has to get resolved by returning to a normal budgetary process, a demand Republicans should be making publicly every day during the crisis:

That’s not going to happen no matter what the Republicans do. The Democrats haven’t passed a budget while Obama’s been in office, and probably won’t for his 2nd term either. Seems to me that when even the Republicans are blaming the republicans, there’s no chance the Democrats will object and start blaming themselves.

Let the automatic tax hikes and budget cuts happen. Let the current debt limit stand. Better pain now, and take the consequences of incompetent government, than more pain later. At least the debt limit is a token, even though I’m sure they can find a way around it. Spending by decree, they do it in lieu of passing real laws all the time. It’ll happen anyway.

And if people blame the Republicans, then nothing the Republicans could have done would change that blame game.

Fenris on November 29, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Only the stupidest of the stupid would do such a thing,

Bishop on November 29, 2012 at 2:09 PM

So in other words, you mean the average democrat politician…

SWalker on November 29, 2012 at 2:54 PM

So in other words, you mean the average democrat OR Republican politician…
SWalker on November 29, 2012 at 2:54 PM

FIFY… Afterall, we don’t call them “The Stupid Party” for nothing.

Bohner and Company will get ‘rolled’ by the ‘stupid’ Democrats’ just like they have every time they promise cuts later for spending now, since they did it to Reagan.

LegendHasIt on November 29, 2012 at 3:03 PM

The GOP is done. Finished. Cooked. Put a fork in them.

There is no scenario in which freedom survives here. The Democrats have simultaneously destroyed our economy and blamed Republicans for it, and it worked. And it will continue to work from here on out.

It will never be the same because our education system is designed to not only indoctrinate and breed Democrats but also to deprive youth the knowledge of how to critically examine a situation. Our own kids are basically anti-America.

Theoretically it’s possible but it would require:

Taking over the education system
Taking over news and media
Popularizing individualism

Basically it would require rebuilding America from the ground up. Seems pretty impossible to me. Maybe in 100 years when all the wealth has been confiscated and everyone lives in total poverty. But there won’t be an enlightened people to lead the movement; that breed is going extinct.

hisfrogness on November 29, 2012 at 3:03 PM

Because I’m in California I feel like I should probably become a Libertarian now. At least they’re not stigmatized.

hisfrogness on November 29, 2012 at 3:06 PM

Only the stupidest of the stupid would do such a thing,

Bishop on November 29, 2012 at 2:09 PM

So in other words, you mean the average democrat politician…

SWalker on November 29, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Who is being provided cover by the media and abetted by a lazy populace.

Most of the time addicts have to hit bottom. In this case we have a population that’s addicted to freebies and laziness.

kim roy on November 29, 2012 at 3:08 PM

Eventually, our nation’s massive debt will lead to a serious crisis

I would like to see a Republican with a national audience point to the numbers that come directly from the White House Office of Management and Budget and ask the following questions:

1) Why isn’t President George W. Bush and the Republican Congress of 2006 given credit for passing the FY 2007 budget which produced a smaller annual deficit than Bill Clinton was ever able to achieve with a Democratic Congress (passed in 1993 & 1994 for Fiscal Years 1994 & 1995)? Bush & a Republican Congress did better than Clinton & a Democrat Congress, but hardly anyone knows that.

2) Why did the incoming Democrat majority (Pelosi in the House, Reid in the Senate) TRIPLE the annual deficit in FY 2008, TRIPLE it AGAIN in FY 2009, and maintain that Trillion+ deficit spending in FY 2010 & 2011?

3) Why are the estimated FY 2012 spending outlays well over a Trillion dollars higher than the FY 2007 Outlays?
Numbers in Billions:
FY 2007: (Receipts $2,568 Billion) – (Outlays $2,729 Billion) = Deficit $161 Billion

FY 2012 estimate: (Receipts $2,469 Billion) – (Outlays $3,796 Billion) = Deficit $1,327 Billion

The main reason why the FY 2012 $1,327 Billion deficit was $1,166 Billion ($1.166 Trillion) BIGGER than the $161 Billion deficit of FY 2007 isn’t because the revenues were $99 Billion less in FY 2012… it is because outlays were a whopping 1,067 Billion more.

Why was FY 2012 spending over a Trillion dollars higher than FY 2007 spending?

Why did outlays increase from $2.73 Trillion in FY 2007 to $3.80 Trillion in FY 2012?

Each and every year of the Obama administration has “featured” annual deficits that were WELL OVER a TRILLON DOLLARS BIGGER than the Bush-Republican Congress FY 2007 budget.

And then Obama has the audacity to act like cuts under $1 Trillion over TEN YEARS (when he won’t even be in office after another four years, and will have NO influence over budgets after that) is somehow a big step toward “Fiscal Responsibility”:

Reform & Fiscal Responsibility

In 2011, President Obama signed a bipartisan compromise that cut nearly $1 trillion in spending over the next decade, reducing discretionary spending to its lowest level as a share of the economy since Dwight D. Eisenhower was president while protecting job-creating investments like education and research.

“cut nearly $1 trillion in spending over the next decade” = “cut nearly $100 billion on average per year over the next decade”

And, of course, Obama wants tax hikes now, and cuts “later”. (I.E., “never”)

Democrat majority deficits throughout the Obama administration have been more than $1 Trillion bigger, EACH AND EVERY YEAR, than the FY 2007 deficit, and Obama wants to pretend that cuts of less than 10% of that are some big step toward “fiscal responsibility”.

I want Republicans who have a national audience to get this message out there, loud and clear.

Bush and the Republican Congress did better in FY 2007 than Clinton ever did with a Democrat Congress.

Obama and the Democrat majority have increased the annual deficits so much that in just the last four years their 4 cumulative deficits were the equivalent of OVER 33 YEARS of FY 2007 deficits.

Obama and the Democrat majority deficit spent as much in FY 2009-2012 as an ENTIRE GENERATION’S WORTH (33+ years) of Bush-Republican FY 2007 deficits.

ITguy on November 29, 2012 at 3:30 PM

ITguy on November 29, 2012 at 3:30 PM

I’m sorry, but you seem to have the mistaken impression that our government operates based on actual facts.

dentarthurdent on November 29, 2012 at 3:48 PM

…Republican with a national audience…

ITguy on November 29, 2012 at 3:30 PM

You lost me there.

You make excellent points though.

hisfrogness on November 29, 2012 at 3:54 PM

EVery damn GOP in government should stop every interview, debate or speech in it’s tracks when the word cut comes up!

So just to be clear to the American public, what you are referring to as a cut, is in fact a reduction of proposed increases, correct? I just want to make sure that when you say CUT you aren’t referring to the commonly understood meaning of an actual reduction to the current spending level. Okey dokey…carry on.

Every damn time!

can_con on November 29, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Vote Present, let the Democrats negotiate with themselves and let them own this.

rokemronnie on November 29, 2012 at 5:47 PM

Therefore, Paul advises Republicans to get the best deal they can for now, and work towards solutions for both the fiscal and debt cliffs:

In my column for The Fiscal Times, I argue the same thing.

Update: Jennifer Rubin makes a similar point:

You’re all making the same point because it’s an easy, simplistic answer: Cave as needed and try to squeeze out the best deal possible.

That doesn’t mean it’s the right answer. In fact, simplistic answers often aren’t.

The GOP has to recognize that there is no way they come out of this without being blamed by the media and large parts of the public. Any actions meant on escaping such blame are wastes of time.

The left is criminally irresponsible about our so-called budget right now. Obama doesn’t care how bad the economy gets as long as the Republicans get blamed for it. He wants power. If the US credit rating gets downgraded again, if the unemployment rate skyrockets, if businesses fail, if our position of strength in the world becomes weaker, if we get attacked by terrorists on our home soil, it’s all the Republicans’ fault, anyway. And the media will do their best to back him up.

This is the environment.

But at the same time, every one of those Reps better know that Obama and the media will not put them back in office in the next election. They have to answer to their voters, or they’re gone. They have to scrutinize any suggested compromises and ask if blunting media crticism of the Republican party or of John Boehner is worth not being in Congress next time.

And this all ignores the fact that the House has one very strong hand in the conflict: they control the funding. The Democrats depend on that funding, and their plans to get re-elected depend on House Republicans agreeing to let them have some of that funding.

I think some compromise is inevitable, but let’s not be stupid about it. What the Democrats want is power, and they will drive the fiscal cliff stuff until it becomes clear it won’t help them get power.

The central goal of the House has to be to recognize the Democrat quest for power and make it not pay to be fiscal toddlers. Also, the Democrats are a conglomeration of special interests. As long as the economy is doing so badly, there is no reason to give those special interests money we don’t have.

There are a lot of messages that are hard to sell to the public. But “why give this special interest group millions of dollars when our deficit is over a trillion?” is easy to get across.

And if you’re thinking, “Yeah, but a few million here and there is a rounding error in a budget this size,” then you’re absolutely right. But so is the demagoguery of demanding tax hikes on “the wealthy” when it won’t even touch a single year’s deficit.

tom on November 29, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Rush is talking about how big bro is thinking about taking YOUR 401K! These dc slugs will not be happy till everything those of us who have something will be given to those who don’t?
L

letget on November 29, 2012 at 1:29 PM

If that happens, then it is time for an ARMED demonstration (not attack) in DC. Because honestly, that will be the end of my future. My 401K is the last of my savings. I refuse to live as a slave, even under my own government. And if it costs me my life, then so be it… my soul’s prepared, how’s yours?

And yes, I know this may get me banned from HA, but I never thought that my representatives would consider enslaving me just to satisfy their spending addiction. Seizing my 401K should be considered an act of war against citizens, and if that happens… HA should realize that the time for civil discourse will be at an end and that such an attack on our citizens cannot be viewed in our “normal” view of political maneuverings. Such views will be obsolete at that time.

We’ll see if this is my last post here…

dominigan on November 29, 2012 at 6:20 PM

but a financial debacle that ends up being blamed on Republicans

And when is the last time that, at election time, the voters actually blamed / credited the opposition party for the state of the economy?

Ever?

Greg Q on November 29, 2012 at 6:55 PM


we have to make the best deal we can


Maybe that’s what you vote for in Minnesota, Ed, but I did not send Rand Paul, Mitch McConnell and Thomas Massie to Congress to:

end the fiscal crisis with $1.6 trillion in tax increases over 10 years, an immediate new round of stimulus spending, home mortgage refinancing and a permanent end to Congressional control over statutory borrowing limits

with zero spending cuts.

What part of this ‘deal’ is best for us?

HellCat on November 29, 2012 at 10:06 PM

Might be a good idea since most of the wealth in 401K’s belongs to lawyers.
chemman on November 29, 2012 at 1:47 PM

Don’t know what you base this assertion on; most managers and high-level salaried people at any corporation (outside union control) have 401(k)s rather than pensions.

Now, your second declaration I have no problem with.

Most lawyers being good managerial progressives deserve to be shafted by the administrative state they have sought to manipulate and manage.

chemman on November 29, 2012 at 1:47 PM

AesopFan on November 30, 2012 at 9:46 PM