Bobby Jindal: Ideas for staving off the fiscal Armageddon

posted at 6:21 pm on December 6, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

Congressional Republicans are in a pretty rough position right now, to put it lightly; at every turn, the Democrats and the media are painting the GOP as the party merely trying to preserve tax loopholes for their billionaire buddies (nevermind that every dollar spent by the government is a dollar not spend much more effectively in the private sector, coming at the opportunity cost of economic growth) and callously cut off benefits for seniors and the poor, all on the backs of the middle class (forget that the Republicans’ real goal is to engender a free, robust economy in which people don’t need to be dependent on such programs). The Democrats are winning the PR battle on that one, as we clearly saw with the results of the November election, and Republicans may find themselves in the position of ceding on the fiscal cliff.

But beyond the fiscal cliff, there are even deeper and more systemic problems that will come to fruition in the all-too-foreseeable future (hint: the entitlement explosion and our tens of trillions in unfunded liabilities), and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal makes the case for some ideas for long-term reform in an op-ed today:

Today it’s the fiscal cliff, but that surely will not be the end of it; next year it will be the fiscal mountain, after that the fiscal black hole, and after that fiscal Armageddon. But the truth is Washington already drove us off the fiscal cliff while no one was looking. A nation that has a $16.3 trillion debt, a debt that is larger than our entire economy, has already driven through the guard rail and is in free fall with the cliff somewhere in the rear view mirror. …

Here are a few structural reforms, any one of which would be worth fighting for in this fiscal cliff diving exercise:

• A federal balanced budget amendment. States have balanced budget laws, small businesses have to balance their budgets, and families have to do the same. This is an idea that is supported by virtually every American who does not live in the 202 area code. It’s common sense. It is also laughed at in Washington. When you mention the BBA as a solution, they roll their eyes and write you off as a non-serious person. But the American public is dead serious about it, and they should be.

• Place a cap on discretionary and mandatory federal spending by fixing a limit on it tied to a percentage of GDP. Eighteen percent is a reasonable number in my book, but almost any number would be a victory at this point. Require a super majority vote to over-ride this limit, which would allow for recourse in a time of war or other national emergency. Again, this solution makes far too much sense to be taken seriously in Washington, a sure sign that it’s a good idea. This president is rapidly making a permanently higher level of government spending the new normal. …

A balanced-budget amendment? Quelle horreur! But as Jindal says in his piece, it is all too apparent that “Congress and this administration are psychologically incapable of getting our fiscal house in order without laws that give them no other alternative” — which pretty adequately explains why President Obama is asking to wield a credit card in the United States’ name with no credit limit to speak of. Actually having to have a plan to eventually correct the balance sheet and abide by a mechanism that forces us to have politically difficult conversations? Now, that’s just crazy talk.

Update: I’ve swapped out my initial front-page picture, by popular demand; I didn’t think it was so bad, but I hear ya’!


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Unless I’ve lost my mind Honda was a proud Palin supporter but she was not only slammed by the Left but kicked in the teeth by the Right. Not a move the promotes devotion or even mild loyalty.

Cindy Munford on December 6, 2012 at 7:50 PM

Most people forget that, or just haven’t been around long enough to know it.

DFCtomm on December 6, 2012 at 7:54 PM

r keller on December 6, 2012 at 7:52 PM

Remember when W suggested that young folks be allowed to invest a small percentage of the SS taxes? The world was going to end. Now we all own GM, with zero chance of prospering. What a world!

Cindy Munford on December 6, 2012 at 7:55 PM

Christien Are you my own personal Hot Air stalker? You’ve certainly been harassing me on enough threads today.

Second, Jindal has been acting quite poorly in the last month. The mishandled comments about Romney were tacky, especially since he was apparently really lobbying for VP and later HHS in the Romney administration.

Illinidiva on December 6, 2012 at 7:35 PM

Your comments on Jindal today have been more idiotic than normal:

No.. portlandon I actually am not a fan of Jindal running and the fact that the Governor of LA feels the need to weigh in on issues that have nothing to do with his job is getting very old. He should just announce his political ambitions so we can go back to ignoring him.

Illinidiva on December 6, 2012 at 12:14 PM

You have no credibility in regards to any thread about Jindal.

portlandon on December 6, 2012 at 7:56 PM

DFCtomm on December 6, 2012 at 7:54 PM

It’s probably the only reason he sticks around here, to annoy those who heaped on the hate. Unfortunately there is a lot of collateral damage to the uninitiated. I doubt he cares.

Cindy Munford on December 6, 2012 at 7:59 PM

Unless I’ve lost my mind Honda was a proud Palin supporter but she was not only slammed by the Left but kicked in the teeth by the Right. Not a move the promotes devotion or even mild loyalty.

Cindy Munford on December 6, 2012 at 7:50 PM

Yep. Your memory is correct.

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on December 6, 2012 at 8:01 PM

ZOMG. Are you like related to Jindal or something? Seriously, you were whining about me before I even posted anything. I’m not sure why exactly why Jindal is different from Butterball… both threw Romney under the bus when it was good for their careers. Jindal just did it a week later than Christie. And yes not everyone who is a conservative is going to be in lockstep.

Illinidiva on December 6, 2012 at 8:02 PM

Cindy Munford on December 6, 2012 at 7:59 PM

…Honda has been rather nasty the last couple of months…don’t remember her being like that!

KOOLAID2 on December 6, 2012 at 8:03 PM

He could have the greatest plan in the world and it doesn’t matter because no one hears it.

tomas on December 6, 2012 at 8:05 PM

Cindy Munford on December 6, 2012 at 7:55 PM

yeah. To your earlier point…i don’t think there is much to do at this point for us little people. We can try to look for the long game. Rs have screwed this up royal. They totally mis-read the electorate….and were either fooling themselves…or fooling us.

2010 may have been an anomaly. Maybe the left got sucker punched after their big win in 08..maybe they got a little lazy…and boom.

and so this time it was the Rs turn. after 10 they got overconfident…obama is the worst preezy on record ergo We Must Win. I think that’s what accounts for poor showing in the senate. They got a little lazy, and everyone said Hell, this is My Turn to get a Fat Pension

so we’ll see.

r keller on December 6, 2012 at 8:09 PM

KOOLAID2 on December 6, 2012 at 8:03 PM

While I understand what he/she is doing, I didn’t say I approved. I don’t think the people he/she would like to hurt for their betrayal care.

Cindy Munford on December 6, 2012 at 8:10 PM

Doesn’t matter he doesn’t dismiss creationism. He is therefore a kook.

tomas on December 6, 2012 at 8:12 PM

r keller on December 6, 2012 at 8:09 PM

Considering what I am reading about the polls and the approval of the Democrats’ actions, I am starting to think that we are the ones who don’t understand the electorate and must now be satisfied to the the producers for the looters. I am sincerely angry right now. This isn’t the country I grew up in.

Cindy Munford on December 6, 2012 at 8:14 PM

This isn’t the country I grew up in.

Cindy Munford on December 6, 2012 at 8:14 PM

It absolutely isn’t. I think we have to change our posture, and it seems hard for some right-of-center people to do it. We’re the resistance at the moment. It’s just not a role any of us trained for.

Axe on December 6, 2012 at 8:20 PM

portlandon Why exactly? Because I’m not a big fan of Jindal and don’t feel like hearing about his Presidential campaign. Seriously, a guy who was totally Romney’s BFF in late October and then ditched him when he lost is tacky. I don’t care about hearing about Ryan and Rubio’s campaigns because both amuse me and neither seems to be at Jindal level of naked ambition. But hey.. keep supporting the cream of the GOP crop like Jeb Bush and Newt Gingrich.

Illinidiva on December 6, 2012 at 8:22 PM

Axe on December 6, 2012 at 8:20 PM

I don’t know how long it will take me to get over it but I’m still in let it burn territory. Zoom towards the fiscal cliff and give Obama a $50 trillion debt ceiling. Go big or go home.

Cindy Munford on December 6, 2012 at 8:40 PM

HondaV65…

You might be right about the hollowed-out shell of a party that is the GOP. But let’s face facts here: this election was decided by “give-me” babies, aka the Free $hit Army. Free birth control for single chicks who can’t cough up $9 / mo, free food SNAPS, EBT cards, UAW bailouts for Michigan & Ohio, free healthcare, & so on. This isn’t about ego, you clown. This is about the warning given by the Founders about how to lose a Republic. We have a political party that is dedicated to the premise of creating a majority coalition of Pauls paid for by an dwindling number of Peters.

The Democrats won. And I don’t mean the election. They destroyed the culture, dumbed down the public schools, and unleashed every social pathology imaginable, then proceeded to create subsidies for the consequences. The derelict classes (and much of the middle class too) then became dependent on government benefits and were easily scared into voting for the democrats who tell them the GOP will take away your… whatever.

So, no, it’s not just the ‘give-me-stuff’ babies, but that plays a central role. A dumbed-down electorate, and a hopelessly corrupt media are also hugely influential, as is the cultural agenda of hollywood.

Destroying the GOP won’t fix things. It’ll just solidify the Left’s one party rule. Doesn’t matter now anyway.

SAMinVA on December 6, 2012 at 8:44 PM

Coolidge, Reagan, Harding, and Taft (who wasn’t Progressive enough for TR).

PappyD61 on December 6, 2012 at 8:50 PM

I may not agree with how Honda expressed his disappointment over our current situation, but I think to lay another four years of Obama at his door is a bit much. I’m glad he comes here to vent and I don’t care that he assumes I’m being taken for a ride, at this point I agree. The difference between us is that I don’t know what do about the situation. If his vote and his donation gives him some small satisfaction in a way of rebellion, so be it. I think your reaction should reassure you that most are not willing to follow suit.

Cindy Munford on December 6, 2012 at 7:35 PM

You bet I lay the fault with Honda and its ilk. These are people that should know better, at least know where the information is and should be able to comprehend it. Obamaphone Lady is a product of her environment and knows nothing else.

Honda does and made a conscious choice to behave like an infant. As for the “satisfaction” and “rebellion”, that’s for children and liberals. Not for adults facing serious issues.

I am a proud Palinista and regardless of what happened with Mrs. Palin using that as an excuse (saw your post on the way down) for this idiotic, childish behavior is insulting.

While it’s nice of you to try to find something positive in this, you are wasting your kindness in someone who didn’t think of anyone else and behaved like an tantruming infant.

kim roy on December 6, 2012 at 9:09 PM

You bet I lay the fault with Honda and its ilk.

kim roy on December 6, 2012 at 9:09 PM

It’s not Honda’s fault. It’s the fault of those who had been pimping an unelectable squish for the past 4 years.

ddrintn on December 6, 2012 at 9:34 PM

. I don’t care about hearing about Ryan and Rubio’s campaigns because both amuse me and neither seems to be at Jindal level of naked ambition. But hey.. keep supporting the cream of the GOP crop like Jeb Bush and Newt Gingrich.

Illinidiva on December 6, 2012 at 8:22 PM

Oh, give me a break. Jindal, Rubio and Ryan all were jockeying for Next In Line status before Romney’s political corpse was good and cold.

ddrintn on December 6, 2012 at 9:36 PM

You bet I lay the fault with Honda and its ilk.

kim roy on December 6, 2012 at 9:09 PM

It’s not Honda’s fault. It’s the fault of those who had been pimping an unelectable squish for the past 4 years.

ddrintn on December 6, 2012 at 9:34 PM

Ayeah, blaming one angry semi-conservative poster for the actions of millions of Demoncrat welfare leeches is pretty d@mn lame.

MelonCollie on December 6, 2012 at 9:36 PM

You actually think that voting for Obama and Warren (you honestly think that a “true con” would get elected in a state that kept Ted Kennedy employed? really? yowza) would be helpful?

kim roy on December 6, 2012 at 7:28 PM

No, the point is that ideologically there is ultimately little difference between the GOPe and its frontpersons and the Dems. Witness the latest antics of Boehner, one of those whom you believed would have held a President Romney’s feet to some mythical conservative fire while your got “breathing space” to do whatever. And while these GOPers would have been pursuing their inevitable capitulating, Big Government ways, their idiocy would have cast actual conservatives into yet another round of near-eternal disrepute. Better to have the Dems own it.

ddrintn on December 6, 2012 at 9:41 PM

Ayeah, blaming one angry semi-conservative poster for the actions of millions of Demoncrat welfare leeches is pretty d@mn lame.

MelonCollie on December 6, 2012 at 9:36 PM

Oh, Dem leeches have been there for a long time. It’s the fault of those who idiotically thought you could beat Dem with Dem Lite.

ddrintn on December 6, 2012 at 9:43 PM

ddrintn on December 6, 2012 at 9:43 PM

Why did you vote for the Dem Lite??..:)

Dire Straits on December 6, 2012 at 9:46 PM

kim roy on December 6, 2012 at 9:09 PM

LOL! I still like the old Honda. I don’t disagree with anything you said, I’m just explaining why he doesn’t anger me or garner a response from me. I think your responses are just what he likes.

Cindy Munford on December 6, 2012 at 9:53 PM

No, the point is that ideologically there is ultimately little difference between the GOPe and its frontpersons and the Dems. Witness the latest antics of Boehner, one of those whom you believed would have held a President Romney’s feet to some mythical conservative fire while your got “breathing space” to do whatever. And while these GOPers would have been pursuing their inevitable capitulating, Big Government ways, their idiocy would have cast actual conservatives into yet another round of near-eternal disrepute. Better to have the Dems own it.

ddrintn on December 6, 2012 at 9:41 PM

Er.. there was no “you” in that unless you mean in the generic sense. The only thing I expected from Romney was more of the same, but without the extra special liberal BS like amnesty and perhaps a little more sanity. I had no illusions that Romney was any kind of conservative.

I also believed (and still do) he wouldn’t leave four to die in a fourth world craphole.

It’s going to take a long time to re-educate people or at least get their brains functioning again after 40+ years of liberal indoctrination. Now we do it the really hard way, if it is possible at all.

More people will suffer, probably more people will die. I never will understand why that wasn’t something to try to achieve and why people seem to minimize the hardships and think having “the dems own it” sooner was preferable. It is if you totally ignore the human factor.

kim roy on December 6, 2012 at 10:32 PM

LOL! I still like the old Honda. I don’t disagree with anything you said, I’m just explaining why he doesn’t anger me or garner a response from me. I think your responses are just what he likes.

Cindy Munford on December 6, 2012 at 9:53 PM

I find it worthwhile to let the unsuspecting poster know exactly what kind of infant they are dealing with.

And if you are right that my response is what it’s looking for, then that only proves my case that it is a child.

Don’t vote, leave the president blank, vote libertarian or some other third party, write something in, but to actually vote for Obama? That’s just idiotic and people should be reminded of such when they are engaging with that baby.

kim roy on December 6, 2012 at 10:37 PM

It absolutely isn’t. I think we have to change our posture, and it seems hard for some right-of-center people to do it. We’re the resistance at the moment. It’s just not a role any of us trained for.

Axe on December 6, 2012 at 8:20 PM

When you say we have to change our posture, you aren’t saying we should lean forward, are you?

Night Owl on December 6, 2012 at 10:39 PM

When you say we have to change our posture, you aren’t saying we should lean forward, are you?

Night Owl on December 6, 2012 at 10:39 PM

Um. No. No, I’m not. :) Thank you for the opportunity to clarify.

While we’re here: bending over also out.

Axe on December 6, 2012 at 11:59 PM

A BBA like the budget law Reid ignores today? When we have criminals in charge of our fed govt as we do today, more laws won’t matter. We have a wazoo of gun laws and yet people still use them to kill others people. More gun laws won’t stop that, either. I don’t even think they do it with personal financial gain as the motivator, although, some certainly do well as just crooks. It’s more the power thingy corrupting them and their personal ideology that’s our biggest problem.

Kissmygrits on December 7, 2012 at 8:56 AM

I’m not interested in anything Jindal has to say right now. I wish him luck in Louisiana, just like I do Christie in NJ. But I no longer see him as a national candidate after the way he climbed over Romney’s political corpse. I just don’t find anything remotely honorable about kicking somebody when they’re down. All I can say in his defense is that at least he waited until Romney was down, unlike Christie who kneecapped him just before the finish line.
That doesn’t fix it for me though.

Murf76 on December 7, 2012 at 8:58 AM

Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling:

“I could end the deficit in 5 minutes,” he told CNBC. “You just
pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds)
took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple!

The people demanded it. That was in 1971 – before computers, e-mail,
cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took one (1) year or less to become the law of the land – all because of public pressure.

Congressional Reform Act of 2012

1. No Tenure / No Pension.

A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no
pay when they’re out of office.

2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.

All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the
Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into
the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the
American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all
Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.

Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people. (Maxine, Nancy, Charley et all)

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void
effective 12/31/12. The American people did not make this
contract with Congressmen/women.

Congress made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

Tilly on December 7, 2012 at 9:03 AM

A balanced-budget amendment? Quelle horreur! But as Jindal says in his piece, it is all too apparent that “Congress and this administration are psychologically incapable of getting our fiscal house in order without laws that give them no other alternative”

It’s a laughable solution. When has government ever abided by law? A balanced budget amendment is nothing but an illusion for the masses. Would you rather have a balanced budget of $10 trillion, or an unbalanced budget of $1 billion?

It’s nothing but a game to keep you fooled.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 9:04 AM

kim roy on December 6, 2012 at 10:37 PM

I agree with Cindy on Honda. I have a soft spot somewhere in my heart for him. I still find glimpses of humanity in his posts. A former Palin supporter can’t be all bad.

A good thing to remember is that posting can be a creative outlet, a theater of the mind. I could say I’m drinking heavily this morning *hic* and rage on about things with mispellings and irrational arguments. Maybe poke and slap a few resident Mittbots just for fun.

Instead, I put out donuts and bagels and invite people to have a cup of coffee. Just remember to put a buck or two in the jar. Times are tough. We all have our schtick. Honda has his.

Fallon on December 7, 2012 at 9:07 AM

A balanced budget amendment is nothing but an illusion for the masses. Would you rather have a balanced budget of $10 trillion, or an unbalanced budget of $1 billion?

It’s nothing but a game to keep you fooled.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 9:04 AM

And, Dante is right now and then, too.

I think I’ve been moved by the Christmas spirit. I wasn’t going to give to any charities this year but I broke down yesterday and wrote out a bunch of checks. I feel better…

Fallon on December 7, 2012 at 9:09 AM

Tilly on December 7, 2012 at 9:03 AM

I like it. What the heck, turn all national state and public pensions over to Social Security. Boom!

Fallon on December 7, 2012 at 9:12 AM

It absolutely isn’t. I think we have to change our posture, and it seems hard for some right-of-center people to do it.

Axe on December 6, 2012 at 8:20 PM

I’d be interested to hear specific suggestions.

My own take is that we are losing the war of ideas. Democrats have ideas that appeal to the majority; Republicans don’t.

The main idea that Democrats have these days that I think is most effective is that the country is trouble, so those who can do so need to step up to the plate and offer their help. Rich people are likely candidates for this role, according to Democrats, because they have extra money that they don’t need. So let’s tax the rich so we can save our country.

That populist idea has a superficial plausibility which is hard to counter. Countering it means explaining capitalism, but the best way to explain capitalism would be through the schools and mass media. Unfortunately, the Democrats control those institutions with an iron fist.

Burke on December 7, 2012 at 9:27 AM

A BBA like the budget law Reid ignores today?

Kissmygrits on December 7, 2012 at 8:56 AM

The BBA would have to be a Constitutional Amendment, and it would have to have built-in teeth.

Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling:

“I could end the deficit in 5 minutes,” he told CNBC. “You just
pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.

Tilly on December 7, 2012 at 9:03 AM

Now there’s the TEETH! ABSOLUTELY!

We would just have to watch that those slimy Congress-critters don’t go changing the way GDP is calculated!

Tilly on December 7, 2012 at 9:03 AM

Pretty much agree with everything here. I would add in term-limits.

I also wonder if some of the low-information votes could be corrected by requiring that party names be stricken from voting ballots. It would make more people do research and remove most of the low-information votes.

dominigan on December 7, 2012 at 9:27 AM

My own take is that we are losing the war of ideas. Democrats have ideas that appeal to the majority; Republicans don’t.

Burke on December 7, 2012 at 9:27 AM

Republicans do have ideas that appeal to the majority… they just don’t communicate them.

Republicans believe that everyone should have the opportunity to achieve success. They need to stop letting the media attack the rich. In every interview where the media mentions the “rich”… Republicans should stop the interview and correct them…

“What you really mean are ‘successful people’. The rich are rich because they are successful, and they are successful because they provide a good or service that people desire. You are successful as a reporter because you provide a service that people desire, yet you attack other people that also provide services that people desire. Why do you do that? Why do you want people to NOT be successful? Is it that you just enjoy tearing people down? What?”

dominigan on December 7, 2012 at 9:32 AM

A balanced budget amendment is nothing but an illusion for the masses. Would you rather have a balanced budget of $10 trillion, or an unbalanced budget of $1 billion?

It’s nothing but a game to keep you fooled.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 9:04 AM

This is irrelevant, because whether the budget is balanced or not, eventually they must be paid, whether now or dollars in the future. This is what Krugman and his ilk are trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes by saying that we have enormous deficits and so far there’s limited inflation, therefore enormous deficits are acceptable.

Eventually debts will have to be paid. Right now in order to sustain the U.S. current expenditures 18% of the worlds Gross Domestic Product would have to be spent in the United States in the form of bond purchases. The actual figure is 23-30% of the nations bonds are being purchased. In order to avoid the embarrassment of a bond failue 70-77% of bonds are being purchased by the Federal Reserve.

The shell game they’re playing right now can’t last forever, no matter how many Nobel economists say they can. Whether there is a balanced budget or not, eventually they will. The only difference is whether it will be a soft landing or a horrific crash.

itsspideyman on December 7, 2012 at 9:37 AM

A balanced budget amendment is nothing but an illusion for the masses. Would you rather have a balanced budget of $10 trillion, or an unbalanced budget of $1 billion?

It’s nothing but a game to keep you fooled.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 9:04 AM

Says the guy whose idiotic and even un-American ideas are just as bad as whatever game is being played right now. Seriously, do you ever get tired being the most stupid and dishonest guy in the room? I hate all you filthy Obama-loving trolls.

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2012 at 9:44 AM

Obama’s Famous Tax ‘Victory’
Top marginal income tax rates may go up. But the president’s second-term spending wish list will be history.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324640104578163463238620682.html?mod=hp_opinion

Let us assume that Mr. Obama is correct in his bet that the GOP will prove more responsible than he is and won’t cliff-dive. The president’s recent baiting of Republicans—his unreasonable offers, his public campaign to belittle them, his refusal to negotiate—has not put them in a generous mood. If Republicans have to fold on the top tax rates, it’s a decent bet they will do only that—and nothing more.

Republicans will make clear they sent that bill under duress—that they wanted to extend tax rates for everyone—and that Mr. Obama is responsible for the consequences. The president claims that raising taxes on job creators won’t hurt the economy. Fine, but if he’s wrong, he alone owns it. There will be no GOP fingerprints on this.

The president will also finally have to show his math. He has argued his entire presidency that America’s debt hole could be filled by soaking the rich. He’ll now get his way, in a bill that likely provides $800 billion in revenue over 10 years, or $80 billion a year. To repeat: $80 billion a year. That is 7% of the $1.1 trillion deficit Mr. Obama ran in fiscal year 2012 alone. His tax hikes in hand, he can now explain why the hole keeps getting bigger.

No question, the Republicans would suffer a bitter defeat if top marginal income-tax rates rise. Then again, if those rates are going up anyway—either because we go off the cliff or because Mr. Obama maneuvers them into a panicked, last-minute deal—the rational GOP response is to instead choose a deliberate course that mitigates its own political damage, and lands some blows. This is the corner our intransigent president has backed Republicans into.

So, that Obama “victory”: On Jan. 1, the president gets to give a news conference gloating over his tax win. He then faces four years and 20 days of a presidency marked by his ownership of a faltering economy, a spiraling debt problem, automatic sequester cuts, no prospect of further spending or tax revenue, and a debt-ceiling time bomb. If that’s this president’s idea of “victory,” maybe it’s what he deserves.

Galt2009 on December 7, 2012 at 9:48 AM

This is irrelevant, because whether the budget is balanced or not, eventually they must be paid, whether now or dollars in the future. This is what Krugman and his ilk are trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes by saying that we have enormous deficits and so far there’s limited inflation, therefore enormous deficits are acceptable.

Eventually debts will have to be paid. Right now in order to sustain the U.S. current expenditures 18% of the worlds Gross Domestic Product would have to be spent in the United States in the form of bond purchases. The actual figure is 23-30% of the nations bonds are being purchased. In order to avoid the embarrassment of a bond failue 70-77% of bonds are being purchased by the Federal Reserve.

The shell game they’re playing right now can’t last forever, no matter how many Nobel economists say they can. Whether there is a balanced budget or not, eventually they will. The only difference is whether it will be a soft landing or a horrific crash.

itsspideyman on December 7, 2012 at 9:37 AM

It’s entirely relevant. A balanced budget amendment would solve nothing. Government already ignores the law and Constitution, you think a BBA is going to be any different?

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 9:48 AM

Says the guy whose idiotic and even un-American ideas are just as bad as whatever game is being played right now. Seriously, do you ever get tired being the most stupid and dishonest guy in the room? I hate all you filthy Obama-loving trolls.

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2012 at 9:44 AM

More and more I’m leaning toward the theory that you were dropped on your head as a baby. I can’t come up with any other explanation for your constant misrepresentations and dishonesty.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 9:50 AM

The Republicans are fighting a losing battle. I support their taxing meme but it has little or no utility in the present environment. If they hold out and go over the cliff, taxes will go up for all; if they yield to Obama’s deal they will go up for the top 2% and within two years they’ll go up for everyone. You simply can’t deal with the crushing debt we have without raising taxes for all. I don’t like it but we’ve had a hot poker stuck in our backside and taxes, coupled with serious spending reductions is the only way to relieve the pain. This is a situation where dying for the cause is a valiant act but unfortunately your death will also kill the cause. First one must understand that taxes are not the problem, spending is the problem and any fight to change our dire state must concentrate on spending. The current argument reminds me of the little mouse that performed the last great act of defiance by showing his middle finger to the eagle that was swooping down upon him . . . a real hero but still dinner. Don’t give up, fight on . . . but only after you regroup, replenish and rethink your tactics and strategies.

rplat on December 7, 2012 at 9:53 AM

More and more I’m leaning toward the theory that you were dropped on your head as a baby. I can’t come up with any other explanation for your constant misrepresentations and dishonesty.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 9:50 AM

Well consider this. Liars are the last to admit that they are liars. I’m telling the truth about you and you don’t like it one bit! You are a the worst kind of filthy lying douchebag. Sorry that I’m not going along with the myth that you are some kind of a decent human being that cares about this country’s future. But, you’ve exposed yourself for what you are and I couldn’t in good conscience go along with your lies.

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2012 at 9:55 AM

You simply can’t deal with the crushing debt we have without raising taxes for all.

… First one must understand that taxes are not the problem, spending is the problem and any fight to change our dire state must concentrate on spending.

rplat on December 7, 2012 at 9:53 AM

You managed to contradict yourself in just three sentences. Raising taxes is unnecessary; cutting spending, eliminating departments, eliminating entitlements, eliminating overseas military expenditures, eliminating government would eliminate spending.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 9:58 AM

Well consider this. Liars are the last to admit that they are liars. I’m telling the truth about you and you don’t like it one bit! You are a the worst kind of filthy lying douchebag. Sorry that I’m not going along with the myth that you are some kind of a decent human being that cares about this country’s future. But, you’ve exposed yourself for what you are and I couldn’t in good conscience go along with your lies.

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2012 at 9:55 AM

Now I’m moving from theory toward fact, but I do appreciate the irony within your post.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 9:59 AM

You managed to contradict yourself in just three sentences. Raising taxes is unnecessary; cutting spending, eliminating departments, eliminating entitlements, eliminating overseas military expenditures, eliminating government would eliminate spending.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 9:58 AM

Cuts in entitlements would have to be done graducally unless you want to throw the US into a year long riot and chaos fest.

I’m all for cutting back government although it has to be done sensibly.

darwin on December 7, 2012 at 10:24 AM

Historical rates for tax revenues. Note that, in many years, we haven’t even collected 18% in revenues so … he’s still advocating deficit spending in the lean years and, even in the good years – he’s not talking about paying off the debt even a little.

TWELVE PERCENT is what it should be – then you can balance the budget and pay the debt off – as we should be doing.

HondaV65 on December 6, 2012 at 7:31 PM

Why not just make it 10%? The church seems to survive just fine and is arguably more effective on that number.

Nutstuyu on December 7, 2012 at 10:27 AM

“What you really mean are ‘successful people’. The rich are rich because they are successful, and they are successful because they provide a good or service that people desire. You are successful as a reporter because you provide a service that people desire, yet you attack other people that also provide services that people desire. Why do you do that? Why do you want people to NOT be successful? Is it that you just enjoy tearing people down? What?”

dominigan on December 7, 2012 at 9:32 AM

Thank you, dominigan. I can’t remember hearing an explanation of how our system works stated so succinctly and cogently before. My compliments to you. In my opinion, succinctness is the key.

Those who believe in free enterprise often get on the wrong track, I think, by arguing that “freedom is a right that we need to protect.” That clouds the issue and confuses independents who answer simply, “Yeah, sure…the right to have our country go bankrupt.”

Burke on December 7, 2012 at 10:40 AM

You managed to contradict yourself in just three sentences. Raising taxes is unnecessary; cutting spending, eliminating departments, eliminating entitlements, eliminating overseas military expenditures, eliminating government would eliminate spending.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 9:58 AM

There’s no contradiction dipstick. If entitlement spending was not a problem increased taxes would not be unnecessary. Increased taxes are only necessary as an augmentation to deep cuts in spending which is the core problem. Try putting your brain in gear before you engage your mouth.

rplat on December 7, 2012 at 11:15 AM

There’s no contradiction dipstick. If entitlement spending was not a problem increased taxes would not be unnecessary. Increased taxes are only necessary as an augmentation to deep cuts in spending which is the core problem. Try putting your brain in gear before you engage your mouth.

rplat on December 7, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Dipstick, how clever. You said the problem is spending, yet you think increased taxes are necessary. Now you say entitlement spending is a problem, and you say increased taxes are necessary. If spending is the problem – and it is – then the solution is to eliminate spending and to eliminate entitlements.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Dipstick, how clever. You said the problem is spending, yet you think increased taxes are necessary. Now you say entitlement spending is a problem, and you say increased taxes are necessary. If spending is the problem – and it is – then the solution is to eliminate spending and to eliminate entitlements.

You’re getting tangled up in your circular logic. If you eliminated entitlements this very moment you must still pay down the crushing debt, and, at it’s current level additional revenue will be required. Or in the more common vernacular: If we stopped buying stuff today we’d still need to generate more money to pay our existing bills . . . ergo, higher taxes.

rplat on December 7, 2012 at 11:45 AM

I agree with Cindy on Honda. I have a soft spot somewhere in my heart for him. I still find glimpses of humanity in his posts. A former Palin supporter can’t be all bad.

A good thing to remember is that posting can be a creative outlet, a theater of the mind. I could say I’m drinking heavily this morning *hic* and rage on about things with mispellings and irrational arguments. Maybe poke and slap a few resident Mittbots just for fun.

Instead, I put out donuts and bagels and invite people to have a cup of coffee. Just remember to put a buck or two in the jar. Times are tough. We all have our schtick. Honda has his.

Fallon on December 7, 2012 at 9:07 AM

I don’t give a rat’s butt about the performance art or whatever it’s schtick is. I do, however, give a rat’s butt about the Obama vote. Especially from someone who is supposedly a Palinista. They, of all people, should know better.

You remember that the next time Obama does something that hurts your family, makes your life harder or leaves people to die.

All those Obama voters. They just have their schtick. It’s okay.

kim roy on December 7, 2012 at 1:51 PM

You’re getting tangled up in your circular logic. If you eliminated entitlements this very moment you must still pay down the crushing debt, and, at it’s current level additional revenue will be required. Or in the more common vernacular: If we stopped buying stuff today we’d still need to generate more money to pay our existing bills . . . ergo, higher taxes.

rplat on December 7, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Who’s saying to stop at eliminating entitlements? Maybe you should’ve read my entire post: “eliminating departments, eliminating entitlements, eliminating overseas military expenditures, eliminating government would eliminate spending.”

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 4:55 PM

…..I guess that means if Jindal ever makes a national move the left will go after him as viciously as they went after Palin.

I think they’re planning how to assassinate (metaphorically speaking) Rubio right now though.

darwin on December 6, 2012 at 6:44 PM

You don’t even have to wait for the left to do that……..there are multiple nutz over on Rightscoop that are saying that neither he nor Rubio can be President because their parents weren’t citizens when they were born (in order to back up their arguments about immigrants). They get pretty ugly about it, in fact, when countered.

avagreen on December 7, 2012 at 5:13 PM

Remember when W suggested that young folks be allowed to invest a small percentage of the SS taxes? The world was going to end. Now we all own GM, with zero chance of prospering. What a world!

Cindy Munford on December 6, 2012 at 7:55 PM

I can’t help but remember it. Jeff Flake’s opponent used it in his ads. Of course Carmona didn’t mention that it was optional. He said, “Jeff Flake voted to risk your social security in the stock market.”

JannyMae on December 7, 2012 at 5:44 PM

I consider myself a rational conservative, but the PR effort of the Republicans is not rational, IMO. Both the GOP and the President want the same outcome on obtaining more tax revenue from those who are in the top 2%. I would narrow that to those earning $1 million or more. Anyway, since the outcome is to be the same, why the fight over the method. Tax reform or rate increase is the question. Yet I do not remember anyone telling citizens why tax reform to obtain the revenue is better than a tax rate increase. I suspect it comes down to the impact on businesses because the tax reform would target individual salaries not small business income filed similar to that of individuals. If that is correct, why have I not heard that simple explanation from the GOP. To most it looks like an argument over nothing and the GOP is holding hostage 98% of the citizens.

Another thing, please GOP, tell the people that if they want the benefits of the EU countries, then ALL citizens need to be paying higher taxes than what the Greeks are now or we go the way of Greece. Even Gov. Dean has said that recently.

amr on December 7, 2012 at 7:55 PM

Cuts in entitlements would have to be done graducally unless you want to throw the US into a year long riot and chaos fest.

I’m all for cutting back government although it has to be done sensibly.

darwin on December 7, 2012 at 10:24 AM

We had that chance in 2012. The people voted to not make those cuts. The only way to get these morons to stop spending is to not raise the debt ceiling. Make the legally required SS payments and military personnel payments and debt payments. Any money left can be negotiated by the president and congress. There is no other way to get them to stop overspending until we get to the point where nobody buys our bonds and the whole system crashes. Save what needs to be saved(constitutionally). Will there be pain? Yes, but not as much as if we keep putting it off until the whole thing burns.

Corsair on December 8, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Has anyone pointed out to Krugman that Sweden has balanced budget rules? The cognitive dissonance might kill him.

xuyee on December 8, 2012 at 3:59 PM

Two groups of people voted Obama: Committed socialist, and just plain ignorant. The ignorant have absolutely no idea what they’re doing. They actually think the socialists are looking out for them.

darwin on December 6, 2012 at 7:03 PM

That about sums it up. A third group might be the self-identified ‘blacks’, but they’re mostly a subset of the ‘just plain ignorant’.

I have the solution to our woes, but it requires a Constitutional Amendment:

No person receiving money, goods, or other emoluments from the United States that are not in exchange for bona fide goods or services rendered may vote in any federal election until five years shall have passed free of any such receipts. The only exceptions shall be payments required by law that recompense citizens for financial investments made and required by the United States.

MrLynn on December 8, 2012 at 8:01 PM

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