Sunday, January 27, 2013

Fiscal Whiz Paul Ryan Mistaken About Debt Ceiling

Paul Ryan has been playing the Sarah Palin game of trying to stay relevant since losing the election last year and with each congressional delay Paul Ryan is making the rounds to try and sound knowledgeable by throwing around financial terms as if they were beads at Mardi Gras.  Paul Ryan made some blatantly ignorant comments on Meet the Press on Sunday.

“We think these sequesters will happen because the Democrats have opposed our efforts to replace those cuts with others and they’ve offered no alternative,” said Ryan. "I think the sequester is going to happen, because that $1.2 trillion in spending cuts, we can’t lose those spending cuts, that was to pay for the last debt-ceiling increase, let alone any future increase."

This is where Ryan's partisanship begins to show.  While he has carefully crafted an image of a numbers wonk and somewhat-moderate-yet-severely-conservative Midwestern politician, ignoring his entire voting record prior to 2008 of course, he throws in financial words into a sentence and then pretends to sound like the victim of some cruel Democratic joke.  Let's look at the crux of Ryan's Meet the Press statement: "$1.2 trillion in spending cuts... [will] pay for the last debt-ceiling increase."

The debt ceiling is not the authorization of new expenditures so it therefor does not require spending cuts (or revenue increases) to cover the costs.  The debt ceiling provides the United States to pay for existing commitments Congress has already made - the Congress that Paul Ryan is a part of (and part of the majority party in the House no less).

Paul Ryan is basically trying to manipulate the media in trying to convey the message that the Democrats are a bunch of uncompromising weasels by twisting facts and easily confused financial terms (debt vs. deficit).  Ryan is counting on the moronic masses to actually believe that spending cuts from the previous session of congress pay for something that isn't a matter of new spending. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

GOP Serious About Government Shut Down. Solution: Cut Them Off First.

House Republicans are seriously entertaining dramatic steps, including default or shutting down the government, to force President Barack Obama to finally cut spending by the end of March.

The idea of allowing the country to default by refusing to increase the debt limit is getting more widespread and serious traction among House Republicans than people realize, though GOP leaders think shutting down the government is the much more likely outcome of the spending fights this winter.

“I think it is possible that we would shut down the government to make sure President Obama understands that we’re serious,” House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state told us. “We always talk about whether or not we’re going to kick the can down the road. I think the mood is that we’ve come to the end of the road.”
Here is a simple solution to the prospect of a government shutdown - cut off services to Republicans first.

The Republican party is eager to shut down the government or make the government default in order to score some policy wins and they do not care who suffers for their ignorance.  For instance, the debt ceiling only allows the government to continue making payments on outstanding debts.  It does not authorize new spending, but the GOP do not care about that and insist entitlement reform and budgetary cuts (to everything but their pet projects) must be included in any deal to increase the limit.  If the Democrats do not cave the GOP will force the government to grind to a halt and if that is their wishes and they should be the ones to feel the effects first.

Cut off any benefits they may receive from the government.  Travel.  Healthcare.  Franking.  Salary.  Staff.  Offices.  End them all.  Why should the GOP benefit while they attempt to make everyone else suffer?   

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Michele Bachmann's Fiscal Cliff Grandstand

Since her disastrous loss in the Republican primaries last year, Michele Bachmann has kept rather quiet allowing Mitt Romney to garner all the bad publicity (presumably so that she may say "I told you so" to the GOP elite), but recently, Bachmann decided to try and contribute something to the national debate regarding the so-called "fiscal cliff" and score some points with her base.  Seizing on news that in an executive order President Obama would allow for congressional pay increases, Bachmann, the principled penny-pinching conservative (who loves collecting federal and state subsidies) sought to block the executive order.
“I am calling on my colleagues in the House and Senate to rescind President Obama’s executive order that gives members of Congress a pay raise,” Bachmann wrote in a statement. “This executive order was not requested by Congress and we should reject it. We have a spending problem in our country and we should be looking for areas to cut spending. At a time when families across the country are cutting back we should not increase government spending and add to the debt burden by giving members of Congress a pay raise. We need to begin with ourselves and I urge my colleagues to join me in this effort.”
There are two things about Bachmann's move.  One, while being the most vocal critic, Bachmann was hardly the first to call for the pay hike to not take place. Democratic U.S. Congressman John Barrow beat Bachmann to the punch urging his fellow members of Congress to block the raise alongside him, which it seems Bachmann tried to do (and take credit for).  Secondly, Bachmann's move was pointless considering the fact that the Senate's fiscal cliff deal already blocked the automatic pay increases.

So basically, Bachmann's attempt to make the news (as well as finally get something with her name passed) was just tea party pillow talk.

Oh yeah.  While she pointlessly pushed for provisions to block the pay increases, Bachmann still voted against the compromise.  Go figure.