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From Crazy To Insane: Conservatives Still Want More In Debt Ceiling Deal

Over on the progressive side of politics, they’re nursing their wounds and drowning their sorrows as details of the deal to increase the debt ceiling emerge. They feel like they lost to a Republican party that dug in and used the debt ceiling to achieve their goal of dramatically shrinking government spending and solving the deficit problem without raising a single penny in new revenue.

So they might be surprised to know that conservatives don’t think they won, either. The right, despite apparently negotiating Obama into a corner that pits him against large parts of his base, still isn’t satisfied.

“While this deal is moving in the right direction rhetorically thanks to pressure from conservatives, it still falls well short of the standards we have consistently laid out,” wrote the Heritage Action’s Michael Needham.

The group, a sister organization to the Heritage Foundation, says the upfront cuts included in the reported deal are “insufficient” and the super committee in charge of creating the next round of deficit reduction is a bad idea as reported.

“This deal highlights how dysfunctional Washington has become and we will continue to oppose it as insufficient to the task at hand,” Needham wrote.

On TV Sunday morning, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he expected a large number of conservatives to share Heritage’s view.

“It’s a $3 trillion package that will allow $7 trillion to be added to the debt in the next decade,” Graham said, dismissively. “So how much celebrating are you going to do?”

Graham said he expected around half of the House GOP caucus to vote against the deal. It doesn’t have his vote yet, either.

One of the patron saints of those hardcore conservative Republicans in the House, blogger Erick Erickson, is also underwhelmed by the deal (it’s not the first time.)

Despite the fact that progressives and Democrats are publicly lamenting the reported deal as indicative of the effect of rhetoric like Erickson’s has had on Washington, Erickson sounds as if he feels as betrayed as some on the left.

“What we know about the pending deal is that the Democrats and Republicans are agreeing to a Deficit Commission,” Erickson wrote Sunday. “Despite the media spin — and the spin of some Republican sycophants — the deficit commission, which will be a super committee of the Congress, will have the power to come up with new tax revenue.”

By: Evan McMorris-Santero, Talking Points Memo, July 31, 2011

August 1, 2011 Posted by | Congress, Conservatives, Constitution, Debt Ceiling, Debt Crisis, Deficits, Democracy, Democrats, Economic Recovery, Economy, Elections, GOP, Government, Ideologues, Ideology, Journalists, Lawmakers, Media, Politics, President Obama, Press, Public, Republicans, Right Wing, Taxes, Teaparty, Voters | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No More Fence Straddling: Even Moderates Should Condemn Paul Ryan’s Budget

Political moderates and on-the-fencers have had it easy up to now on budget issues. They could condemn “both sides” and insist on the need for “courage” in tackling the deficit.

Thanks to Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget and the Republicans’ maximalist stance in negotiations to avert a government shutdown, the days of straddling are over.

Ryan’s truly outrageous proposal, built on heaping sacrifice onto the poor, slashing scholarship aid to college students and bestowing benefits on the rich, ought to force middle-of-the-roaders to take sides. No one who is even remotely moderate can possibly support what Ryan has in mind.

And please, let’s dispense with the idea that Ryan is courageous in offering his design. There is nothing courageous about asking for give-backs from the least advantaged and least powerful in our society. It takes no guts to demand a lot from groups that have little to give and tend to vote against your party anyway.

And there is nothing daring about a conservative Republican delivering yet more benefits to the wealthiest people in our society, the sort who privately finance the big ad campaigns to elect conservatives to Congress.

Ryan gives the game away by including the repeal of financial reform in his “budget” plan. What does this have to do with fiscal balance? Welcome to the Wall Street Protection Act of 2011.

Oh, yes, and this budget has nothing to do with deficit reduction. Ryan would hack away at expenditures for the poor. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates he gets about two-thirds of his $4.3 trillion in actual cuts from programs for low- income Americans. Note that this $4.3 trillion almost exactly matches the $4.2 trillion he proposes in tax cuts over a decade. Welcome to the Bah Humbug Act of 2011.

But you’d expect a progressive to feel this way. What’s striking is that Ryan is pushing moderates to stand up for a government that will have enough money to perform the functions now seen as basic in the 21st century. These notably include helping those who can’t afford health insurance to get decent medical care, a goal Ryan would have the government abandon, slowly but surely.

Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the co-chairs of the deficit commission and the heroes of the budget-cutting center, put out a statement saying some nice things about the idea of the Ryan budget. They called it “serious, honest, straightforward,” even though there is much about its accounting that is none of those.

But then they got to the real point, declaring themselves “concerned that it falls short of the balanced, comprehensive approach” needed for bipartisan accord because it “largely exempts defense spending from reductions and would not apply any of the savings from eliminating or reducing tax expenditures as part of tax reform to deficit reduction.”

Ryan, they argued, “relies on much larger reductions in domestic discretionary spending than does the commission proposal, while also calling for savings in some safety-net programs — cuts which would place a disproportionately adverse effect on certain disadvantaged populations.”

This is much like what I said, with an added layer of diplomacy. When even deficit hawks begin choking, however politely, on a proposal whose main motivation is ideological, you know there is an opening for a coalition between moderates and progressives on behalf of sane, decent government.

The Republican approach to shutdown talks should reinforce this possibility. Democrats have nearly given away the store to avoid a crackup, yet Republican leaders, under pressure from their right wing, have continued to ask for more and more and more. My word, even President Obama has finally gotten impatient.

However the shutdown saga ends, the negotiating styles of the two sides ought to tell moderates that they can no longer pretend that the two ends of our politics are equally “extreme.” No, conservatives are the ones who’ve been radicalized. The Ryan budget is definitive evidence of this.

It is conservatives who would transform our government from a very modestly compassionate instrument into a machine dedicated to expanding existing privileges while doing as little as possible for the marginalized and the aspiring — those who, with a little help from government, might find it a bit easier to reach for better lives.

Moderation involves a balance between government and the private sector, between risk and security, between our respect for incentives and our desire for greater fairness. The war against moderation has begun. Will moderates join the battle?

By: E. J. Dionne, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, April 6, 2011

April 7, 2011 Posted by | Budget, Deficits, Government Shut Down, Health Care, Ideology, Politics, Rep Paul Ryan | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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