Patterico's Pontifications

4/6/2011

Playing Budget Kabuki—They’re Doing It Wrong!

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:11 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

A while back I wrote little post I liked, called “How the Porkmeisters Play Budget Kabuki.”  It was an exploration of how the tax and spending types try to snooker you into simultaneously believing that shallow cuts were deep and to try to coerce you into allowing them to spend your money or to tax you.  It was short, sweet, and I liked it.  And then for some reason I just didn’t have the chance to post it right away, and the next thing I knew, it was too old a story to run, but I couldn’t find it in my heart to delete it.

And now today, we have the perfect example of this what that never-published post was talking about in the budget showdown.  For instance, in this Washington Times article, they write:

A shutdown would also cancel Saturday’s [C]herry [B]lossom [P]arade in Washington, will shutter national parks and will mean the Federal Housing Administration can no longer guarantee loans.

For those who aren’t local, the Cherry Blossom Parade is one of the bigger events of the year.  Here’s how this site describes it:

Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates spring in Washington, DC, the gift of the cherry blossom trees and the enduring friendship between the people of the United States and Japan. The Festival produces and coordinates 16 days and 3 spectacular weekends of festivities, primarily free and open to the public.

And this year they were going to have fund raisers to help out Japan after that trifecta of disasters that hit them.  Now maybe you see what they are up to, and maybe you don’t, but for me to make my point, well… I have to pull out that old post.  So this is what I planned to say, around last December:

So keeping government budgets low is in vogue, but there are politicians who really, really want to spend anyway.  What to do, what to do?

Well, what you do is you cut something really visible while continuing to waste behind the scenes.  They did it here in Virginia closing down highway rest stops.  The Oakland police famously explained that budget costs would make them unable to enforce many categories of crime.  And now officials in Vista, California, have said they would turn down half the city lights and lights at city hall.

From the AP article:

To trim $9 million from their budget, Vista officials say they will shut off half of the city’s residential street lights in March unless property owners agree to pay higher lighting fees.

Fees could cost residents of the north San Diego County city between $4 and $20 a year.

In turn, Vista residents complained about bright lights at the new City Hall.

City spokeswoman Andrea McCullough tells the North County Times that lights in the park behind the building have been shut off and lights in front of the Civic Center have been dimmed.

Inside the building, she says lights are being dimmed at 7 p.m. instead of 10 p.m.

Most lights are energy-efficient so dimming them won’t save much, but McCullough says residents will at least know the city is doing its part.

In other words it’s about show.  And of course the city lights—which are important to keeping down crime—will stay off until they agree to pay a higher “lighting fees” a softball word for taxes.

Now, I have no special factual insight here, I am just applying my cynicism to this situation.  But I am willing to bet that in fact, the cuts go no further than the cutting off of lights.  That is, I bet there is enough waste elsewhere in the government that if eliminated, the savings could pay for the costs of lighting the city streets.  They will cut the most visible and most vital services to do two things.  One, to give you the impression that they are really tightening their belt when they are not.  And two, to try to force residents into squealing so that they can plausibly claim that they had no choice but to keep on taxing and spending.

Don’t buy it.  Be more cynical. If you live in those communities, demand transparency in the budget, and find and show the waste they could be cutting, rather than visible and vital services.

And that is what they seem to be doing here.  From a Washington Post piece on plans for the possible shutdown:

The District of Columbia would have no trash collection for at least three days, and the city’s libraries and Department of Motor Vehicles offices would close unless Congress provides the federal funding needed for those operations before Friday, according to senior Obama administration officials familiar with plans for a federal government shutdown.

Trash collection would not start again until one week after the shut down, and street sweeping would be suspended….

Schools will remain open. Police, fire and emergency services personnel will remain on duty.

So at least they are not as cynical as the cops in Berkeley above.  But it seems to me that their plan is to make children complain about not being able to get library books and to make the city fill with trash to put pressure on people to settle for smaller cuts than we need as a nation right now.

But then when reading about all the deprivations we would suffer, the parade of horribles, I saw that plainly they were doing it wrong.  From the Washington Times piece:

A senior administration official, briefing reporters on potential effects of a shutdown, said “the performance of tax audits will be shut down or suspended for this period.

Oh noes! All those auditors will be out of work!  How can we ever cope with that?!

Of course even then they found a way to be jerks about it:

Overall, the official said he expects about 800,000 government employees to be furloughed if Congress and the president aren’t able to agree on spending cuts before midnight Friday, which is when current stopgap funding expires.

The official said the IRS will still process electronic tax filings, but will not process paper filings, which means a delay for those who filed by paper and are expecting refunds.

That’s right, they’re saying, “let us spend your money into ever deeper debt, or you won’t get that refund check you were waiting for.”  More kabuki.

It’s time to draw a line in the sand.  We have to bring this nation back to fiscal sanity.  On a $14 trillion deficit, even cutting $100 billion in spending is not enough.  That is not even 1% of our debt.  I dare say Paul Ryan’s budget isn’t enough but it’s a hell of a lot closer to being enough than a less-than-1%-cut.

If any of the men and women in Congress are reading this, I think I get it.  Contrary to what some people think, you didn’t come into politics  for corrupt reasons, to care about nothing but your own reelection.  You had ideals when you first entered politics that slowly gave way to the need to win the next election.  You had to win the next election, you told yourself, in order to do the great things you wanted to do for the people.  And that meant you had to drive our country ever further into debt, in order to get the special projects and spending that insured your re-election.  What good would it be to be fiscally responsible when everyone else was at the trough and a fickle public would throw you out and replace you with a big spender?  At least that was your logic.

You have the chance, however, once in your lifetime, to do the right thing in regard to the debt.  You can continue on this course that you know will drive this nation into a ditch.  Or you can decide you will not squander this historic opportunity to save the greatest nation on Earth.  Maybe you will fall in the next election, but you’ll land on your feet in the private sector and you will know you did something truly great in office.  And maybe we in the Tea Party can ensure that doing the right thing is also a winning reelection strategy, and simultaneously that doing the wrong thing will cost you your job.

When you first started politics, I truly believe you believed you could do some good.  Here is a historic chance to do it.  So be patriots and demand real and significant cuts.

See also Lee’s post on the Attack on Idealism, which feeds into this point.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

62 Responses to “Playing Budget Kabuki—They’re Doing It Wrong!”

  1. A shutdown would be like dumping ebola into our water supply and letting fast zombies loose in all our country’s nursing homes.

    daleyrocks (9b57b3)

  2. Just to be clear, the shutdown will suck.

    It’s a ruthless move, and it amazes me that Obama and Reid won’t just take the compromise of $12 billion in cuts while negotiating the rest of the budget.

    Aaron’s right that congress has a patriotic duty to demand real cuts. We’re out of money, literally bankrupt, and passing that off just makes the looming disaster worse.

    but the shutdown is going to hurt.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  3. the cherry blossoms!
    beautiful Japanese gift
    as their pain we shirk

    happyfeet (71628d)

  4. Does this mean the Ninth Circuit will be proscribed from inventing new laws? Sign me up!

    Ed from SFV (4a7c52)

  5. Also, the troop pay issue is a change of policy.

    Clinton followed guidance established by the Reagan administration, and Obama’s administration has changed that. Even the mere promise Obama has made to choose to strip troops of pay until a compromise is reached has an impact on many deployed soldiers who have to plan for this and worry about their families. If he plans to change this policy later, that’s too late.

    We have long had respect for the fact that our soldiers in harms way have to focus on their jobs, and we don’t want them worrying about this. Obama not only sends them into Libya on whim, but he doesn’t respect them. He is treating these men and women as his slaves.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  6. BTW, the GOP’s Continuing Resolution funds troop pay until 2012, but the democrats are fighting against it.

    I guess this shouldn’t surprise me after Florida in 2000 fought troop voting rights, but it’s a big surprise.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  7. BS – please point to where in either the current discretionary cuts or the Ryan budget plan are the big cuts to things Republicans like (DOD, Ag, Tax Expenditures). Instead its full of budget trivial policy poison pills for the Dems (planned parenthood, CO2 regulation, and Obamacare defunding). Its pretty easy to argue for sacrifice when you don’t expect to be the one to do it. Pretending that this is some noble bipartisan offer instead of a big partisan power grab is just transparently ridiculous. I’ll believe that the new Republican party is serious about the budget when they bargain in good faith about the budget instead of attaching tax cuts and social legislation. (note no flip side blaming I am solidly convince the Democrats suck too, for one they set up this mess by failing to pass a budget) So yeah the shutdown will suck.

    TomO (72d137)

  8. bumble probably just wants to dramatically announce that the soldiers will get their pay in spite of the Republicans

    He’s a whore, you understand.

    happyfeet (71628d)

  9. TomO

    > Tax Expenditures

    OMG you are such a drone. Tax expenditures is a euphamism for LETTING YOU KEEP YOUR OWN MONEY. you believe all our money belongs to the government and we only keep anything we earn as a matter of its largess.

    You’re a socialist in the michael moore vein.

    > DOD, Ag

    Ryan is proposing cuts to both.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  10. Tax Expenditures

    Can you explain this term for me, Tom? It sounds like you’re saying every penny the government hasn’t taxed out of me is an expense made by the government, to me.

    BTW, many on the right are critical of Ryan’s thrifty DOD plans. You didn’t know that? Paul Ryan IS cutting a lot of things powerful Republicans have supported. You need to get the facts.

    But what’s the Ryan budget got to do with the shutdown? The GOP’s continuing resolution is not gutting spending. It’s making a miniscule $12 billion cut!

    Don’t play 3 card monte. The democrats are not shutting down the government over Ryan’s budget, but rather because they demand a huge spending INCREASE.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  11. GMTA, part 9999

    Dustin (c16eca)

  12. I started being politically aware in the mid 1970’s. I soon noticed that every time the taxpayers on any level baulked at raising taxes the first cuts mentioned were fire, police, libraries, schools, and similar core functions. Not ever the new Government Office Building, planned to cost a measly $XX million, and already over budget with not one brick placed on another, oh, no!

    Together with the “It just isn’t worth our valuable legislative time to cut that” (some nonsensical project costing a mere $100,000), this convinced me that we will not have succeeded in taming these blithering idiots until we have demonstrated that we are prepared to shut down the government and take care of ourselves for however long it takes for them to get real.

    When we hear that Congress is hunting for bogus $100,000 projects to cut, so they can fund what they consider really important, then we will have made a start. Let them look through the seat cushions for loose change, so to speak.

    *mutter*mutter* “Not worth our time to cut $100,000″ $100,000 would sure brighten up MY life! *mutter*mutter*

    C. S. P. Schofield (8b1968)

  13. He’s a whore, you understand.

    Comment by happyfeet

    I’m still naive about this. I really am shocked when he ignores congress and invades Libya by air, or when he sends out a message to the military that they won’t get any pay if an agreement isn’t reached.

    It makes me stutter. I knew a guy in the army who was an E-4 and had 3 kids. That is difficult. There are a lot of men overseas worrying about their wives and kids today, thanks entirely to the Stars and Stripes article and perhaps briefings on this subject. That probably puts a ton of pressure on the GOP to allow Obama to have his spending increase budget. How many of these guys have contacted their congressman? Some, I’m sure.

    Obama changed the policy to this, and he could easily change it back, and I guess the MSM would praise him for the latter action.

    I think the House GOP should meet right now, as in this night, and pass a bill specifically funding troop pay in the event of a government shutdown. This is a line that doesn’t need to be crossed by either side. Obama is playing politics with forced labor with no pay for our heroes. I wish I could say something pithy about this, but I’ll settle for calling him a whore, too.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  14. CSP

    i have definitely reached the point that i would rather shut it down than compromise.

    Dustin

    great links. its a little late for tonight, but i will probably do something with that.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  15. Tom is a marxist monkey.

    DohBiden (984d23)

  16. If they won’t be able to pay a soldier his pay, does that also mean they won’t be able to top-up his magazine when he needs more ammo?

    Sounds like the guys are fighting the wrong enemy.

    AD-RtR/OS! (befc0a)

  17. Maybe Obama can’t get that kooky ‘civilian national security force’ without inciting the Army to march on DC? I’m joking… that’s infowars type thinking.

    George Mason wanted the congress to be able to impeach a president who ‘maladministered’. that’s a good word for taking the initiative to withhold pay from volunteer troops in war.

    but he lost that issue, and it’s not a crime to be derelict as commander in chief, IMO.

    I think the GOP should try to terminate this issue ASAP with a lightning quick House vote, and a termination of negotiations until the Senate passes the bill and Obama has signed it.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  18. Tax Expenditures for the tactically ignorant- when the gov’t gives you a deduction for specifically doing something that the government tells you to do — like green energy your house or buying a hybrid.
    Note that this clearly does not include all the money you earn that the gov’t doesn’t tax.
    It only makes difference to a sophist if the Feds enact say cash for clunkers as a credit or as a check. People who get the money get it and people who don’t pay the rest of the federal budget (either now or later with interest as to spend is to tax)
    So yes, I consider tax deductions from the gov’t telling you what to spend your money on as the functional and moral equivalent of gov’t spending.
    And oppose nearly all of them (exceptions child, charity — and those I still consider spending just spending that I wouldn’t cut) The government in general should not use the tax code as a market distorting mechanism – how is that a Marxist position.

    TomO (72d137)

  19. And the Ryan budget’s acceptance of Gates already proposed defense cuts is not serious defense budget cutting. Thats not lefties thats Cato; http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/rep-ryans-budget-avoids-cuts-to-military-spending/

    Ryan’s ag cuts are likewise weak – price supports need to come down now because commodity prices are high now, but they get to come back if prices drop. http://dailycaller.com/2011/04/06/paul-ryans-weak-stand-on-farm-subsidies/

    Sorry but you can’t convince Dems or centrists that we have a deficit crisis that requires us to cut spending for democratic interest groups to the bone, but only lightly trim republican ones and cut taxes to the lowest level they have been in decades.

    TomO (72d137)

  20. A while back, in a fit of fiscal back-cutting, the city of Los Angeles cut street sweeping to one day a month. This saved considerable fuel and maintenance expense.

    Except: No driver was laid off, they just had 1/4th the work to do. No mechanic was laid off. Etc. Nor did they cease ticketing people for parking on the street during posted “street sweeping” times.

    But they saved a lot of gas, I guess. Oh, and let the litter pile up to make their real point.

    Kevin M (298030)

  21. OK. Obama-Reid-Pelosi won the “biggest middle finger” competition.

    Now we will find you wins the “biggest index finger”.

    cedarhill (903f1c)

  22. Hey Tom-O,

    If the Democrats want to propose some spending cuts – any spending cuts – then they can negotiate over whose priorities get cut. But you make it sound like it’s the Republican’s job to negotiate against themselves.

    Mike S (d3f5fd)

  23. TomO

    > Tax Expenditures for the tactically ignorant

    Hahahahahaha you double down. yes, it is all about tactics.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  24. Ryan’s plan isn’t so much a plan to reduce the deficit as it is a plan to dismantle government… and even then (as someone else observes), to dismantle things in the government that Democrats like.

    I welcome it. I think many Tea Partiers, particularly the elderly, will see that it is the GOP which is trying to dismantle Medicaid and Medicare (something Obamacare didn’t do). They will see the GOP giving tax breaks to the wealthy (as if GE can pay even less in taxes?), instead of the struggling middle and lower class who, through no fault of their own, bore the brunt of this recession.

    The GOP is exposing itself as everything they Dems say it is — the party of corporate and wealthy self-interest. Ryan’s budget is pretty blatant and unapologetic about it.

    Kman (5576bf)

  25. Notice how the resident sophist tries to conflate GE the immelt/Obama whores with the GOP? The rest is just standard leftist pablum. Create a problem, and then vilify those who attempt to fix it. Demagogue. Wash rinse repeat. FU, kmart.

    JD (3ee1ee)

  26. Create a problem, and then vilify those who attempt to fix it.

    Right. Democrats created the deficit. I forgot that meme.

    Kman (5576bf)

  27. It is not simply a meme. Compare and contrast deficits from before 2006, and after 2006. Compare and contrast deficits under Barcky to well, anything. Denying the existence of a problem, or the source, and demagoguing attempts to correct same is what you and yours do. You are disgusting.

    JD (3ee1ee)

  28. Kman

    > Democrats created the deficit

    Actually since the defict is not the total amount owed but the amount added to the debt in a specific year, yes, they created this deficit.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  29. Comment by Aaron Worthing — 4/7/2011 @ 6:24 am

    But I think you do agree with what he actually said about tax credits/loopholes/whatever you want to call them: The government in general should not use the tax code as a market distorting mechanism The mortgage interest deduction is a hoary one, but almost anything an individual or business could tax as a tax deduction/credit would serve an example.

    You just would call them by a different name.

    kishnevi (437df2)

  30. Kish

    > The government in general should not use the tax code as a market distorting mechanism

    i do agree with that, yes. i would be okay with a few “loopholes” for genuine costs, but giving you a tax break because you bought a certain kind of car or something? no.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  31. Kman, are you really as stupid as your snark makes you look? The Democrats have controlled Congress for more than five fiscal years, and controlled both Congress and the White House for three fiscal years. And you snark about the fact that the Democrats created the current deficit?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  32. Aaron, you make one serious error in this post I think. This “kabuki” is not a show. When politicians and government officials make ludicrous claims about what will be cut in budget cuts/shutdowns – cuts with stupid priorities – it is not a show. Its extortion.

    And if the electorate had any brains, they would remove from office these extortionists.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  33. It is Reagan’s fault, SPQR. And Bush’s. Pelosi and Obumble simply had no choice.

    JD (3ee1ee)

  34. I wish people would be precise about the difference between “deficit” and “debt.” The “deficit” is the amount by which expenditures in any fiscal period exceed revenues; in other words, it’s the amount that has to be borrowed to spend the planned amount of money. It should always refer to a specific period of time, e.g., a fiscal year.

    The “debt” is the cumulative net total of deficits. So, for fiscal 2011 (which began 1 Oct 2010) the deficit is somewhere around $1.5 trillion. That averages to about $4 billion of deficit per day that the government has to borrow and therefore the national debt increases by $4 billion every day. The only way to reduce the debt is to run a negative deficit, otherwise known as a surplus, and use the surplus to pay off some of the existing loans.

    Simple to state, difficult to do. The truism is, the longer we wait to address the issue, the more difficult and painful it will be to fix it. The politicians know this, but they don’t want to tell the people because they’re more interested in being reelected than in competently running the country. The Democrats, or at least the Obama, Pelosi and Reid Dems, are particularly egregious because not only do they know that we’re headed for a fiscal disaster, they want to run trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see. Whether it is their purpose to bring down the United States I don’t know, but if that were their purpose, they would do exactly what they’re doing.

    ExRat (3b46ff)

  35. “So yes, I consider tax deductions from the gov’t telling you what to spend your money on as the functional and moral equivalent of gov’t spending.
    And oppose nearly all of them (exceptions child, charity — and those I still consider spending just spending that I wouldn’t cut)”

    TomO – Would most people buy a house to live in without the mortgage interest deduction? Unless you assume the bulk of our housing stock converted to rentals, I think the answer is yes.

    Would most people avoid medical expenditures without the ability to deduct them on their income taxes, subject to limits on deductibility.

    Apart from your glaringly ignorant assumptions about human behavior, it seems you have another agenda about changes to the tax code which you have not disclosed. Tinkering with the individual tax code has led to remarkably stable tax collections as a percentage of GNP over the years, with marginal rates high or low. People adjust their behavior as the tax code changes. The rich in this country already pay a higher share of taxes relative to their income than all but one other developed country and there is not enough income or wealth among the rich to plug the deficit or debt crisis.

    What is your goal TomO? Do you want to try to permanently raise the level of taxes raised to support a higher level of sustained government spending than historical levels?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  36. Daley–without the mortgate interest deduction, you would probably have lower housing prices and a higher proportion of rentals, and possibly more multi unit housing–people would buy townhouses and condos because they are cheaper than single family houses. There’s obviously speculation in there, but the deduction does have an impact on the housing market. That’s why the real estate industry goes into full lobby mode whenever removing or changing it is mentioned.

    Medical expenses would not be changed, but think of how the health insurance market would be changed if the deduction businesses get for employee health benefits were to be changed or abolished.

    And so on. Tax credits and deductions help the government direct, if not how much money people spend, at least where they spend it and on what, and are always subject to whatever wave of lobbying comes to the fore in Congress.

    What I would have in mind (obviously, I have no idea of what TomO has in mind) is something very similar to the flat tax proposals, which do not necessarily involve overall raising of taxes. Take away the loopholes, credits and deductions, and then lower the tax rate across the board to compensate for that.

    kishnevi (437df2)

  37. “Instead its full of budget trivial policy poison pills for the Dems (planned parenthood, CO2 regulation, and Obamacare defunding)”

    You are confusing the CR and Ryan’s budget. No surprise there. Obamacare is defunded because it will blow a titanic hole in any budget. It’s purpose is to kill private insurance to pave the way for single payer.

    Mike K (8f3f19)

  38. If you want to see what housing would look like without the mortgage deduction, look at Canada. Personally, I think it should be limited to some figure so as to minimize the impact on present housing prices but could live with a transition over 20 years or so.

    Mike K (8f3f19)

  39. The Oakland police famously explained that budget costs would make them unable to enforce many categories of crime.

    Interestingly, the Oakland Chief of Police said that they have about half of the sworn officers in the Oakland PD doing desk jobs that could be done by civilian employees except that union rules prohibit that.

    As to the back and forth about tax expenditures and government interference in the marketplace, I suggest you read about “The Fair Tax” which proposes dropping all income and payroll taxes in favor of a 19%-21% consumption tax on the purchase of new products. It is revenue neutral and reduces the burden of taxpayer compliance (private and gov’t) by hundreds of billions of dollars a year and would allow the TRILLIONS of dollars of corporate profits sequestered off-shore to be repatriated and reinvested in the US domestic economy immediately.

    It provides a “lifeline” subsidy to support a level of purchases for basic needs. After that you determine your own level of taxation based on your consumption patterns (amounts, new vs used products, etc.). No more tax returns, and instead of an army of IRS agents managing the filings of 300MM individuals and hundreds of thousands or millions of companies – it could concentrate its efforts on the fewer than 1000 companies that process over 90% of all transactions for new products in our economy.

    Oh, and it would get Washington out of the corruption business and the 20,000 lobbyists would disappear overnight.

    in_awe (44fed5)

  40. kishnevi – I acknowledged the tax code changes behavior. Just look at how John Kerry tried to avoid taxes on his last yacht purchase and Claire McCaskill dodged taxes on her airplane purchases, let alone the trouble Obama had in filling his cabinet because of past tax cheating.

    TomO can wail about what he hates about the current tax code, but he is unspecific about what he wants to see changed or the potential effects of the changes.

    Until he gets specific, I consider him just another stuttering progressive prick, whether he is one or not.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  41. I thought I was pretty specific – tax expenditures bad – damn near all of them. I am not a tax expert, so I can’t say if there are any worth keeping other than child, charity, and eitc so far. But yeah – mortgage deduction to go — there is no good reason for the gov’t to prefer homeowners to apartment owners. Employer deduction for employee medical expenses is probably to tightly tied to overall healthcare to be eliminated until we know what will happen with Obamacare as its currently our messed up alternative to universal care.
    I think we need to raise taxes at some point as part of a debt solution – but I am fine with making these reforms revenue neutral if thats all that can be done – not going to make the perfect the enemy of the good.
    I was a pretty big fan of Bowles-Simpson. Ryan-Rivlin was also good. Those are examples of good faith debt reduction plans. Ryan ’11 budget is not – its partisan to the core, not even a helpful starting point (seriously more tax cuts? in a deficit reduction bill?) And the current appropriations farce – with the planned parenthood, obamacare, and epa poison pills is even worse. I am tired of the GOP shennanigans on this issue, like these and opposing the medicare cuts in obamacare, — I want real debt reduction to be a real priority – not a partisan game. If thats what is – might as well vote Democrat so I can get my weak social liberalism fix.

    TomO (a524c5)

  42. “tax expenditures bad”

    TomO – No such thing. The IRS does not spend tax collections. It’s a contradiction in terms.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  43. Tom, it’s not a GOP shennanigan to want to avoid the insane costs of Obamacare. It is simply impossible to balance the budget with democrat spending like that. Further, why is it a poison pill to defund planned parenthood? That sounds like the POV of a radical. We are out of money, and the government needs to defund all sorts of things.

    I think you have a great point that the government need not prefer homeowners to renters, and that specific provision tends to favor blue states at the cost of red states who get much less of a tax break. But this is a very minor point of yours, as it’s the status quo, supported by both parties.

    The idea that this is a major partisan flaw of Ryan’s budget is simply ridiculous.

    Also, ryan’s budget cuts spending for Republican favored programs, remember?

    However, I’ll give you credit for noting alternative budget cuts like Bowles Simpson. I just think maybe you aren’t such a supporter of it, given that Bowles heavily cuts medicare, and you thought planned parenthood cuts are a poison pill.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  44. Our current messed up alternative to universal healthcare? Forgive me for laughing in your face. The rest was just incoherent gibberish.

    JD (3ee1ee)

  45. The EPA wants to regulate to cite Gordon Sumner aka Sting; ‘every move you make, every breath you take’ based on a Supreme Court decision, that was based on the sham science of the CRU and the ICCC, you may not be aware of that, Besides, the Democrats didn’t come up with a budget last year, so they have no grounds to stand on, at all.

    narciso (cfef6a)

  46. “I am tired of the GOP shennanigans on this issue”

    TomO – Why can’t the Democrats actually take responsibility for not passing a budget last year when they were supposed to? Don’t try to fob the current mess off onto Republicans.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  47. And I don’t mean to rag on Tom. I just note that the Bowles Simpson plan is DOA. I’d certainly prefer it to the status quo, and I’d prefer the Fair Tax, and I’d prefer ending most tax credits.

    But we have an urgent problem that needs to actually be fixed, rather than a problem where we can afford to dismiss a great solution because an even less likely solution cuts DoD more. We could go on forever refusing to solve the debt crisis until the perfect solution appears, but that is effectively signing on to Obama’s skyrocketing spending plan. We’re all going to have to compromise to form a coalition. That’s part of why Ryan’s budget has so many nods to the left, and so many cuts to Republican favored programs. It’s bipartisan, but unpopular because there is so much stubbornness on the left about cutting the budget.

    Proof of this is that Obama won’t even accept a $12 billion cut, and is loading up the shutdown to be as horrible as possible.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  48. Daley -but they had election to worry about.

    JD (3ee1ee)

  49. I am a supporter of it. Medicare needs to be cut.

    Medicare needs to be cut, Social Security needs to be cut, Defense needs to be cut and taxes need to be raised. Hence Bowles Simpson.

    Ryan ’11 Budget is not that – it is Medicare needs to be cut (mostly for younger people like me – yay!) and then we will have more money to cut taxes. That is nonsense. Either debt is a serious problem requiring pain all around – or its not. But if its not then I don’t need to vote Republican.

    I don’t care that the GOP opposed Obamacare writ large. I do care and mind a lot that they specifically targeted the cuts in it (not the spending increases) to turn out the senior vote. That type of nonsense makes it ever harder to cut medicare – which we agree needs to be cut. And yes the Dems did it too, so we will ever cycle through blaming each other and fail to solve our problems.

    Planned parenthood is a poison pill because its a side issue. The money involved is trivial even within the context of the overall triviality of this appropriations fight. The point was to take a high profile ax to several Democratic priorities while the current cuts do not do the same for Republican priorities. Ryan ’11 is a little better, but not much its defense cuts are those already proposed by Gates (this is like when the Democrats claim cuts from not passing the Obama 11-12 budget) and minimal (and temporary) ag cuts.

    TomO (a524c5)

  50. No Dustin, it has no nods to the left, and little cuts in Republican priorities its about as partisan as could be – and I was expecting much better from him.

    TomO (a524c5)

  51. Wailing for universal healthcare and claiming to be for debt reduction are pretty much mutually exclusive, and makes me laugh at you.

    JD (3ee1ee)

  52. “Medicare needs to be cut.”

    TomO – Medicare needs to be reformed, as does Social Security. ObamaCare already rips $500 billion out of Medicare. Did you miss that?

    Did you have a problem with partisan spending or cuts when the Democrats were establishing priorities or is it just when Republicans control the House?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  53. Then your pretty silly – as you can get universal healthcare cheap – you just have to not give that much of it. I’m pretty ok with that.
    Also its not like we don’t have the gov’t pay for healthcare now that we don’t have universal healthcare – we just backdoor it through a rube goldberg system in which we have 1) ridiculously gold plated single payer healthcare for people over 65 (which both sides take turns demonizing any cuts to whenever the other side proposes them, is tied with defense as the #1 cause of our debt problem, looks to get even more expensive, and already costs more by itself than most single payer countries spend on their whole populations) 2) tax breaks for employers to provide healthcare which is morally and functionally the same as gov’t spending to do the same because other taxes need to be raised to cover the shortfall – and is worse than a gov’t run exchange as it ties you to the job you have now discouraging you from getting a better one or being self employed 3) another single payer plan for the very poor, for kids, and for the disabled and 4) an emergency room mandate.

    So all that spending by the gov’t on healthcare, but we don’t call it universal so it isn’t that nasty socialism and we can all be good? That is makes me laugh at you.

    TomO (a524c5)

  54. TomO – How would you raise taxes?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  55. How is Democrats cutting medicare a partisan spending cut? Democrats are the party of social welfare spending?

    TomO (a524c5)

  56. “I was expecting much better from him.”

    TomO – After Obama’s gum flapping about living within our means I was not expecting him to vote present and submit a ludicrous $3.8 billion budget for next year.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  57. “How is Democrats cutting medicare a partisan spending cut?”

    Did someone specifically suggest that?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  58. Then your pretty silly – as you can get universal healthcare cheap – you just have to not give that much of it. I’m pretty ok with that.

    Me too! I’m ok with getting universal health care cheap, as well as skittles floating down from unicorn asses zooming across the marshmallow skies.

    Sadly, it’s actually not possible to have bloated entitlements. It’s not a real choice at all. It’s a trick for politicians to be reelected, while dooming the future that can’t clean up the mess unless they think like Paul Ryan ASAP.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  59. Eliminate all tax expenditures save basically the 3 mentioned above (open to some additional others as I don’t know them all, but very high bar). Repeal the Bush tax cuts (all of them, not just the over $250,000). Lower overall tax rates to compensate some, but not all the way. — Basically Bowles Simpson — the tax plan was the best part of it.
    If I really get to have my way a revenue neutral carbon tax. Maybe also a revenue neutral hike in the alcohol tax (but I am more skeptical on that).

    TomO (a524c5)

  60. “Did someone specifically suggest that?”

    ” ObamaCare already rips $500 billion out of Medicare. Did you miss that?

    Did you have a problem with partisan spending or cuts when the Democrats were establishing priorities or is it just when Republicans control the House?”

    Otherwise what partisan cuts were you talking about? The Pelosi-Reid Congress didn’t have partisan spending cuts (primarily cause they didn’t have cuts, but the point stands)

    TomO (a524c5)

  61. “The Pelosi-Reid Congress didn’t have partisan spending cuts (primarily cause they didn’t have cuts, but the point stands)”

    TomO – They pretty much did not have cuts at all, which explains how we got to where we are today, wouldn’t you agree?

    Democrats complaining that Ryan’s plan cuts Medicare, when what it does is reform it, is the height of hypocrisy when they won’t acknowledge that they already passed ObamaCare which strips away $500 billion from Medicare. Hypocrisy, though, has never been a problem for Democrats.

    BTW, the EPA bills have bipartisan support, federal funding of abortions is prohibited, and ObamaCare was sold based on a pack of lies and is as unpopular with the public today as it was the day it was passed. It has bipartisan unpopularity.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  62. TomO, your “solution” would fail to actually reduce the deficit long term. It would not do more than slow its growth rate a bit.

    SPQR (26be8b)


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