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Get Them to the Greek

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Word has it that the Republicans are losing the debt ceiling fight. According to some polls, while most Americans are opposed to raising the debt ceiling, they blame Republicans for failing to raise the debt ceiling. These polls also show that, having voted for Republicans in response to what was generally agreed to be out-of-control spending, the voters are angry at Republicans for attacking the deficit by reducing spending.

Apparently, when the President lays down a list of nonnegotiable demands, such as “This debt ceiling increase has to be done in a way that doesn’t harm my reelection campaign,” and “I will veto any debt ceiling legislation that doesn’t include tax increases,” the American people respect him for seeking compromise, but when Republicans say “This is not a revenue issue, this is a spending issue,” they are pilloried for obstructionism.

It’s really hard to understand why when the President warns senior citizens that he will stop their Social Security checks on August 3, the Republicans get blamed. The fact is, in the event of a failure to raise the debt ceiling, if Social Security checks are stopped it will be the result of a decision made in the White House. It will be a decision targeting the most vulnerable, as payback for Obama not getting his way. There will be plenty of money for Social Security, military pay, veterans benefits, and interest on the national debt.

The federal government pulls in about $180 billion every month (and spends $335 billion)! Social security runs about $60 billion, military pay $12 billion, disability $7 billion, and interest on treasury notes, $29 billion, for a grand total of $108 billion. That leaves $72 billion left over to cover the rest. If seniors don’t get their social security checks, that’s something they ought to take up with Obama.

This isn’t to whitewash the Republican performance during this debacle. They badly misplayed a winning hand. The moment they took their first step down the road to compromise they began to lose traction. Having been elected with a mission, having passed a budget that at least began to address  the deficit, they didn’t have to do anything else, except beg, plead, cajole and demand that the President and his Congressional allies either act on the House version of the budget, or come up with a proposal of their own. The Democrats had become an embarrassment to themselves, so hamstrung were they by their inability to make a decision.

Obama proposed a budget earlier this year which was laughed out of the room. It addressed the debt by promising to increase it by more than $7 trillion over the next decade. He proved himself then to be childishly unserious when it came to fiscal responsibility. He has done nothing since to change that fact, though he speaks as though he has become convinced of the need for deficit reduction. But his speech consists of just words. He speaks in generalities about a willingness to consider entitlement reform, while adding that it may cost him his Presidency. In exchange for those words, he wants Republicans to give in on taxes.

His offer is “Give us tax increases now, and we will set a date to begin talking about spending cuts after the election.” As unconscionably insulting an offer as this is, even it is meaningless. Absent a serious, written, concrete plan to reduce spending in specific areas, Republicans should not act. Word has it that the Republicans are losing the debt ceiling fight. According to some polls, while most Americans are opposed to raising the debt ceiling, they blame Republicans for failing to raise the debt ceiling. These polls also show that, having voted for Republicans in response to what was generally agreed to be out-of-control spending, the voters are angry at Republicans for attacking the deficit by reducing spending.

Apparently, when the President lays down a list of nonnegotiable demands, such as “This debt ceiling increase has to be done in a way that doesn’t harm my reelection campaign,” and “I will veto any debt ceiling legislation that doesn’t include tax increases,” the American people respect him for seeking compromise, but when Republicans say “This is not a revenue issue, this is a spending issue,” they are pilloried for obstructionism.

It’s really hard to understand why when the President warns senior citizens that he will stop their Social Security checks on August 3, the Republicans get blamed. The fact is, in the event of a failure to raise the debt ceiling, if Social Security checks are stopped it will be the result of a decision made in the White House. It will be a decision targeting the most vulnerable, as payback for Obama not getting his way. There will be plenty of money for Social Security, military pay, veterans benefits, and interest on the national debt.

The federal government pulls in about $180 billion every month (and spends $335 billion)! Social security runs about $60 billion, military pay $12 billion, disability $7 billion, and interest on treasury notes, $29 billion, for a grand total of $108 billion. That leaves $72 billion left over to cover the rest. If seniors don’t get their social security checks, that’s something they ought to take up with Obama.

This isn’t to whitewash the Republican performance during this debacle. They badly misplayed a winning hand. The moment they took their first step down the road to compromise they began to lose traction. Having been elected with a mission, having passed a budget that at least began to address  the deficit, they didn’t have to do anything else, except beg, plead, cajole and demand that the President and his Congressional allies either act on the House version of the budget, or come up with a proposal of their own. The Democrats had become an embarrassment to themselves, so hamstrung were they by their inability to make a decision.

Obama proposed a budget earlier this year which was laughed out of the room. It addressed the debt by promising to increase it by more than $7 trillion over the next decade. He proved himself then to be childishly unserious when it came to fiscal responsibility. He has done nothing since to change that fact, though he speaks as though he has become convinced of the need for deficit reduction. But his speech consists of just words. He speaks in generalities about a willingness to consider entitlement reform, while adding that it may cost him his Presidency. In exchange for those words, he wants Republicans to give in on taxes.

His offer is “Give us tax increases now, and we will set a date to begin talking about spending cuts after the election.” As unconscionably insulting an offer as this is, even it is meaningless. Absent a serious, written, concrete plan to reduce spending in specific areas, Republicans should not act. They cannot rely on this President to keep his word. This President has demonstrated a willingness to say anything to achieve his goal. Remember, this President lied about his own mother’s deathbed experience in order to get his way on Obamacare. Obama’s mendacity is so slimy and overweening that he makes Bill Clinton look The Beaver.

Whether it is possible for Republicans to have any input into the national dialogue on the debt is open to question, but they need to try. They need to say, every day, that this is not a revenue issue, this is a spending issue. They need to work hard to get their message across. If they fail to do so, and if the American people swing back to the Democrat party in the next election, then we will have announced that we want to be like the Greeks. We are as soft, lazy, selfish and stupid as the Greeks, and we don’t give a flying hoot about anything but immediate, short-term self-gratification. Obama’s mendacity is so slimy and overweening that he makes Bill Clinton look The Beaver.

Whether it is possible for Republicans to have any input into the national dialogue on the debt is open to question, but they need to try. They need to say, every day, that this is not a revenue issue, this is a spending issue. They need to work hard to get their message across. If they fail to do so, and if the American people swing back to the Democrat party in the next election, then we will have announced that we want to be like the Greeks. We are as soft, lazy, selfish and stupid as the Greeks, and we don’t give a flying hoot about anything but immediate, short-term self-gratification.

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