The Watcher Cat

The Watcher Cat

Thursday, September 26, 2013

"My Offer is Nothing..."

From The National Review:
Below is an outline of the GOP’s debt-ceiling bill obtained by National Review Online. The document originated from staff to a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee and is dated yesterday.


One Year Debt Limit Increase

Not a dollar amount increase, but suspending the debt limit until the end of December 2014.

Similar to what we did earlier this year.

Want the year long to align with the year delay of Obamacare.

One Year Obamacare delay

Tax Reform Instructions

Similar to a bill we passed last fall, laying out broad from Ryan Budget principles for what tax reform should look like.

Gives fast track authority for tax reform legislation

Energy and regulatory reforms to promote economic growth

Includes pretty much every jobs bill we have passed this year and last Congress

All of these policies have important positive economic effects.

Energy provisions

Keystone Pipeline

Coal Ash regulations

Offshore drilling

Energy production on federal lands

EPA Carbon regulations

Regulatory reform


Regulatory process reform

Consent decree reform

Blocking Net Neutrality

Mandatory Spending Reforms

Mostly from the sequester replacement bills we passed last year

Federal Employee retirement reform

Ending the Dodd Frank bailout fund

Transitioning CFPB funding to Appropriations

Child Tax Credit Reform to prevent fraud

Repealing the Social Services Block grant

Health Spending Reforms

Means testing Medicare

Repealing a Medicaid Provider tax gimmick

Tort reform

Altering Disproportion Share Hospitals

Repealing the Public Health trust Fund
Now, before I comment, let me lay out two other facts.

First, the debt ceiling or debt limit:
doesn’t authorize new spending; instead, it provides the funding to pay for spending commitments that Congress has already made. The Treasury can’t issue new debt once the limit has been reached, but it can forestall a crisis for several months via stop-gap measures. Once these measures are exhausted, the government would be forced to slash spending - an outcome that could result in a partial government “shutdown” and/or a debt default (i.e., the failure to make interest and/or principal payments on time).
The mere threat by Republicans to refuse to raise the debt ceiling in 2011 were a major factor in the downgrading of the USA's credit rating being lowered by Standard & Poor that year. As The New York Times summarizes today:
Economists of all political persuasions have warned that a failure to raise the debt ceiling by the Treasury’s deadline of Oct. 17 could be catastrophic. The world economy’s faith in the safety of Treasury debt would be shaken for years. Interest rates could shoot up, and stock prices worldwide would most likely plummet.

“Defaulting on any obligation of the U.S. government would be a dangerous gamble,” Doug Elmendorf, the director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, told the House Budget Committee on Thursday. “In a very uncertain world, the one thing everyone has been able to count on is that the U.S. government will pay its bills on time.”
In other words, the Republicans in Congress are, effectively, demanding that President Obama surrender his entire agenda, every victory from his first term, or they will crash the economy like the Titanic into the iceberg. On purpose. Even though he was just re-elected, and the House is only in Republican hands through gerrymandering--as the GOP itself acknowledges--they will dash the U.S economy into the rocks unless he surrenders unconditionally. Because if they win this time, they will do it again next year. And the year after. And the year after that.

There is only one proper answer to them:

Ronald Reagan was right to deplore negotiating with terrorists, although he later was forced to admit he did just that. Today, his party is playing the part of those with whom Reagan negotiated, against his own precepts. So far, the White House is treating them as such, quite rightfully.

Stay the course; no deal, Mr. President.

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