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Taco John 12-11-2013 11:36 AM

Undoing the Sequester Is a Step Backward
 
I'm hoping this thing gets voted down. It's a terrible deal that gives away the only real conservative accomplishment of the last 6 years. Why is Paul Ryan and Boehner willing to cut it open when Obama's not willing to gut the ACA?

It's a terrible deal, and it shows why the Republican leadership needs to be primaried and replaced - Paul Ryan included. I don't care how conservative he makes himself out to be when he so willingly guts our accomplishments, he's acting for the left.


TODAY’S BUDGET AGREEMENT: GOOD POLITICS, MAYBE, BUT NOT GOOD POLICY

The current continuing resolution on federal spending expires in January, and Paul Ryan (on behalf of the Republican House) has been negotiating with Patty Murray (on behalf of the Democratic Senate) for an agreement to set spending levels for the remainder of FY 2014. It is not hard to understand the political considerations that drive House Republicans: the Democrats have been threatening to shut down the government again, as a means of diverting attention from the Obamacare fiasco. Republican understandably don’t want that to happen. But in policy terms, today’s agreement, while not terrible, represents a step backward.

Spending levels under current law were set by the Budget Control Act of 2011, which was the resolution of that year’s epic budget battle. Republicans agreed to increase the debt limit by $2.1 trillion, in exchange for which they supposedly got $2.1 trillion in spending cuts over the following ten years. Because the parties were unable to agree on a different set of cuts (i.e., slower increases), those specified in the sequester portion of the Act kicked in. The sequester had its faults, but it was the Republicans’ biggest domestic policy achievement of recent years. Unless I am mistaken, it represented the most significant restraint on federal spending of the post-World War II era. Under the sequester/BCA, discretionary spending for 2014 was set at $967 billion.

The Democrats hated the sequester, and have been trying to bust it ever since it went into effect. Today, they succeeded. The Ryan/Murray deal pegs FY 2014 spending at $1.012 trillion, which Ryan’s press release described as “about halfway between the Senate budget level of $1.058 trillion and the House budget level of $967 billion.” What Ryan didn’t say is that $967 billion isn’t just the House proposal, it is the discretionary spending limit under current law. The sequester is now out the window.

Republicans did get something in exchange for increasing spending: notably, federal employees will have to increase their pension contributions. But we can say goodbye to the $2.1 trillion in spending cuts that the GOP trumpeted following the 2011 Budget Control Act. That is the real moral of the story–long-term budget agreements are meaningless. Typically, minuscule spending cuts up front are augmented by major cuts in the out-years. But the reality is that the out-years never come. No Congress can bind a future Congress, and political will to reduce spending is always in short supply. Consequently, any spending deal is meaningless, except insofar as it applies to the current year or next year’s spending. Beyond that, all claims to have cut government spending are fatuous.

We will probably have more to say about today’s agreement–which, of course, needs to clear the House to become effective–as more details become available.

UPDATE: A number of observers are praising today’s deal as a “compromise.” Patty Murray set the tone: “‘Compromise has been a dirty word” in Washington, D.C., Murray complained in an evening news conference, but “we have broken through the partisanship and the gridlock.” But wait! The 2011 Budget Control Act was itself a compromise. The $967 billion discretionary spending limit was a compromise, just two years ago. So why should a higher spending number now be lauded as a “compromise”? How about if we reduce spending by another $50 billion, to $917 billion? That would be a compromise too, wouldn’t it? But somehow that isn’t the sort of compromise that is ever entertained in Washington.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archive...ood-policy.php

jettio 12-11-2013 12:26 PM

Congress should decide what government programs and spending are good for the country and the economy and then tax at the rate that will bring in that amount of revenue to fully fund the authorized spending.

The problem with what goes on is that people argue over spending numbers without any explanation about what programs are beneficial or wasteful and then there is some separate discussion about revenue that only argues marginal tax rates without any regard for whether or not those rates raise sufficient revenue to cover authorized spending.

This thread's opening post truly represents the major problem. The politics is all about uninformed debate about cutting spending for the sake of cutting spending and assuming that revenue will never be enough to pay the bills.

Taco John 12-11-2013 12:46 PM

In an ideal world, I'd say you're right. In the world we actually live in, both parties spend like drunken morons.

The only way that I know to get to the idealized world you speak of is to cut and cut and cut until we finally see blood, and then do whatever repair work needs done then.

KC native 12-11-2013 12:48 PM

Holy shit a powerline link. Haven't seen one of those in a while.

KC native 12-11-2013 12:48 PM

And not surprised that the fringe idiot thinks this is a bad compromise.

Direckshun 12-11-2013 01:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Taco John (Post 10268244)
It is not hard to understand the political considerations that drive House Republicans: the Democrats have been threatening to shut down the government again, as a means of diverting attention from the Obamacare fiasco. Republican understandably don’t want that to happen.

That is amazing.

Taco John 12-11-2013 01:13 PM

I'm not sure what the Democrats are compromising here. What's so great about this "compromise"? I don't see any benefit in trading cuts we're getting now for cuts in 10 years.

BucEyedPea 12-11-2013 01:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jettio (Post 10268416)
Congress should decide what government programs and spending are good for the country and the economy and then tax at the rate that will bring in that amount of revenue to fully fund the authorized spending.

Unfortunately, what is considered good or bad for the country and economy is a matter of opinion. The two parties have different views on such things. That's the heart of the matter.

Direckshun 12-11-2013 01:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Taco John (Post 10268549)
I'm not sure what the Democrats are compromising here. What's so great about this "compromise"? I don't see any benefit in trading cuts we're getting now for cuts in 10 years.

You typically want to make more effective cuts that respect a delicate economy. You don't want to just lop off hundreds of billions when you've got 1% growth and 7-8% unemployment.

Taco John 12-11-2013 01:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Direckshun (Post 10268546)
That is amazing.

ZOMG!

BucEyedPea 12-11-2013 01:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Direckshun (Post 10268564)
You typically want to make more effective cuts that respect a delicate economy. You don't want to just lop off hundreds of billions when you've got 1% growth and 7-8% unemployment.

Those numbers are LIES! Keep drinkin' the Kool-Aid. Afterall Jim Jones shared the same ideology as you. How'd did they end up?

Taco John 12-11-2013 01:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Direckshun (Post 10268564)
You typically want to make more effective cuts that respect a delicate economy. You don't want to just lop off hundreds of billions when you've got 1% growth and 7-8% unemployment.

When did you find any amount of reverence for respecting a delicate economy? Democrats lost that ground when they passed Obamacare.

Yes, I do want to lop off hundreds of billions. That money is better off in the private sector.

Direckshun 12-11-2013 01:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Taco John (Post 10268573)
When did you find any amount of reverence for respecting a delicate economy? Democrats lost that ground when they passed Obamacare.

Yes, I do want to lop off hundreds of billions. That money is better off in the private sector.

That's not really a counter argument to anything I've said. Other than "nuh uh."

BucEyedPea 12-11-2013 01:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Direckshun (Post 10268585)
That's not really a counter argument to anything I've said. Other than "nuh uh."

Well, that's about all your argument deserves. His answer works for me. You just want the argument framed in your self-fulfilling terms.

Amnorix 12-11-2013 01:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BucEyedPea (Post 10268563)
Unfortunately, what is considered good or bad for the country and economy is a matter of opinion. The two parties have different views on such things. That's the heart of the matter.


That post is actually reasonable, intelligent, succinct, and doesn't use any labels whatsoever.

Are you feeling unwell?


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