Ross Douthat on the Budget Debate–The Republican's Misstep

It’s not that Republicans needed to tug their forelock and go along with whatever grand bargain the White House whipped up. But to win the endgame, they needed something they were willing to concede, something they could tout in public as an example of meeting the Democrats partway.

Their inability to make even symbolic concessions has turned a winning hand into a losing one. A majority of Americans want to close the deficit primarily with spending cuts ”” which is to say, they’re primed to side with conservatives in the debt-ceiling debate. But in trying to turn that “primarily” into a “completely,” the right has squandered this advantage….

Read it all.


Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, House of Representatives, Medicare, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Social Security, Taxes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

13 comments on “Ross Douthat on the Budget Debate–The Republican's Misstep

  1. francis says:

    There’s only one way to stop using plastic…cut up and toss.

  2. Br. Michael says:

    So what do the Republicans compromise on? Real tax increases today for reductions in the rate of spending increases in ten years (“cuts”) that will never take place?

    The only compromise would be to cover up their capitulation which exactly is what the McConnell plan is. Congress delegates its borrowing authority to the President? Not only is that un Constitutional, it’s still Congress’ action that allows the debt limit to be increased.

    If the debt limit is never going to be enforced it would be better for the Congress to either do away with it or make it without limit.

  3. robroy says:

    Obama has managed to turn the artificial deadline into a crisis and then he gets to use his M.O. – never waste a crisis.

  4. David Keller says:

    The thing inside the beltway culture just can not grasp is the 63 new “teapartiers” aren’t going along to get along. They actually were sent to Congress to stop the madness and they are going to try to do that. Anybody connected with the DC culture talks about teh new Republicans like they landed here from Mars and seized power without an election. Somebody needs to figure out that Sam Rayburn is dead. And the thing about making concessions on something reminds of the story that used to be told about Nixon and appplies to Obama–He saw a man drowning in the Patomac 50 feet from shore. He threw him a 30 foot rope and righteously declared he had gone more than 1/2 way with the man.

  5. David Keller says:

    #3–BTW he is having a $2M 50th birthday party in Chicago on the 3d. I guess we can all eat his cake.

  6. montanan says:

    I am independent and lean conservative. I am thrilled to see us approach enough of a financial crisis to have to finally deal with our unconscionable deficit. However, I agree with the article – the Republicans are losing a PR battle the country was planning to award them a ‘win’ for. Very perplexing.

  7. Marie Blocher says:

    All of them need to stop with pushing and shoving, and the pointing of fingers of junior high school boys and act like responsible men and get on with fixing the problem.
    They should realize that those 63 Tea Partiers were elected to replace obstructive legislators, and more Tea Partiers will be elected to replace current obstructive legislators next election. We, the people, are fed up with paying for a half-assed job in Washington.

  8. Br. Michael says:

    One this I think the GOP needs to realize is that this is not about the GOP. I have no desire to see a Republican in the White House if he/she is an Obama Lite, RINO etc. This is not about the GOP.

    If we are not going to curb spending and return to Constitutional Government I had rather the Democrats stay in office and get it over with quicker.

  9. C. Wingate says:

    Look, when they come up with a plausible “just cuts” version, then we can talk. They need to cut somewhere around $1.2 trillion based on the 2010 budget. Let’s see…. that’s about all discretionary plus all defense, leaving only SocSec, Medicare/caid, interest, and various mandatory expenditures (the last BTW are about $400B, so if you declare them all discretionary, then you could manage to cut defense by only a third). (Intragovernmental debt counts against the ceiling, as far as I know, so that has to be reduced too.)

    I doubt the republicans are serious about cutting that much. I certainly doubt that they are serious about cutting defense significantly. Realistically, something has to be done to increase revenues as well as cutting expenditures.

  10. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) says:

    “[b]Those who have been once intoxicated with power and have derived any kind of emolument from it can never willingly abandon it.[/b]” — Edmund Burke ( 1729 – 1797 )

    I shall begin with a key datum: [b][i]If we were simply to return to the budget outlays of 2005, the federal budget would be in balance.[/b][/i] Was 2005 such a bad year? Was grandma eating dog food? Were children dying of starvation in unsupervised schools? Was the air unbreatheable? Were the jails emptied for want of jailers?

    The current bloated budget is totally about power, specifically that of a political class that largely detests the people they represent. It is a phenomenal inter-generational injustice threatening to strangle any hope of economic progress for most people under 45, and they’re unlikely to put up with it much longer.

    The 113th Congress may be full of young, dynamic Constitutional conservatives who’ll do the job a growing majority of Americans want done.

    As it is, in the 112th it is the Democrats who are the “old” party demographically, and they really don’t have more than about 100 truly safe seats in the House and thirty or so in the Senate.

    If we’re fortunate the transition will be relatively non-violent, though there will certainly be [i]some[/i] violence from traditional government-dependent groups and Democrat interest groups, as we have already seen in Wisconsin.

  11. John Wilkins says:

    Bart – it’s interesting you quote Edmund Burke. I think he had little patience for ideologues, which was the traditional conservative position. Ideology was for revolutionaries and fanatics.

    There’s little connection between deficits and job creation. Right now, businesses are in the cycle of hoarding their profits rather than spending, and the only thing that would cure that is increased demand. How do citizens increase demand?

    Much of this would change if the cap on social security was increased by just a few percentage points.

    Social Security and medicare are obligations in so far that they once came out of people’s hard earned income. People put years of money into those accounts; it’s unconscionable to think that they shouldn’t receive what they themselves have put into it.

  12. JustOneVoice says:

    The ideologues are those who continue to think the problem is not enough taxes and think of Social Security and Medicare as sacred. If it is unconscionable to think that people shouldn’t receive what they themselves have put into these programs, then the only logical solutions is to set up individual private accounts for them. Unfortunately these programs have been used to pay people that have not put into them, therefore those that did put into them cannot get out what they put in, it has been given to others. They (We) must accept less than what we put in.

    The reason businesses are not investing (hoarding profits – really is that hyperbole necessary?) is because the uncertainty of costs, in terms of taxes, the value of the dollar, and health care cost associated with Obama care. All of these are directly associated with the deficit.

    People invest to make money, not to lose it. If they invest a dollar by hiring someone, they hope that person will help increase their after tax income by more than a dollar. People do not pay an employee a dollar expecting to get less than a dollar back after taxes. Every time you increase taxes, it makes the employee more expensive to hire and lowers the value of what they do. It makes it harder for that new employee to produce more than a dollar of after tax income for the employer, so the employer will just hold the money instead of pouring it down the government drain.

    If you want to get more jobs, make employees less expensive and the income they produce more valuable. If people with money can make money hiring someone, they will. Then the person hired will have income and will increase demand, without increasing the debt and devaluing the dollar.

  13. Mitchell says:

    #10 why 2005 after we entered into two disasterous wars and borrowed 1.2 trillion dollars to fund them?
    Roll back the budget for each agency to what it was on a per capita basis in 1999 and increase that by the rate of inflation (that accounts for population growth and inflation). Then roll back taxes to 1999 rates. We can then start from a surplus, and 1999 was a boom year for the economy.