From the diaries by Erick
It didn’t take long for former Senator Judd Gregg to use his influence to try to push the bidding of Wall Street at the expense of middle America.
Yesterday, Gregg wrote an Op Ed for The Hill where he thrashed the Balanced Budget Amendment “to dodge debt-ceiling action.” Gregg tries to redefine conservatism.
One of the best ways to guarantee that there will not be a balanced budget or a fiscally responsible initiative is to condition action on a debt ceiling increase on passage of a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget. This approach is favored by some conservatives who take the position that they will not vote to increase the debt ceiling unless such a constitutional amendment is passed. This is a road best not traveled if we want to come to some sort of real action on our nation’s impending fiscal crisis. “Lord save us from the well intentioned and those who are trying to score political points or raise money,” should be the response to this bit of “conservative” misdirection.
Gregg is wrong.
One of the best ways to pass a balanced budget amendment to the constitution is to demand passage before a debt limit increase is allowed to pass. Conservatives should jump aboard the effort to Cut, Cap, and Balance the budget as part of the debate over increasing the debt ceiling. There is even a Cut, Cap, and Balance Pledge to lock in conservatives to the effort to cut spending, cap the spending allowed by Congress and balance the budget. This is an idea that a young Judd Gregg may have supported before he became a jaded Washington and Wall Street insider who is more concerned with conserving the benefits of the elites than protecting the pocketbooks of middle to low income voters.
Gregg falsely implies that the demand of conservatives is to get the constitutional amendment ratified by 37 states.
This is a hurdle that is rarely jumped. In fact, it has not happened in this century and only occurred a few times in the last century. It takes years, if not decades, to accomplish such a feat.
Conservatives merely want the BBA passed by both the House and Senate to start the process of getting the constitutional amendment out to the states for ratification. Cut, Cap, and Balance a strong proposal that demands support or forces conservative members to push for an some other measure that will effectuate massive cuts to spending.
There are a few reasons to dismiss Gregg.
First, one has to remember the record of Judd Gregg to judge his motivation to trash a Balanced Budget Amendment that is supported by every single sitting U.S. Senator and an idea that he supported in the past. He is being paid by Wall Street to trash the BBA.
Former Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., is joining the Goldman Sachs Group as an international adviser, the investment banking firm announced on Friday afternoon. Gregg, also formerly New Hampshire’s governor, “will provide strategic advice to the firm and its clients and assist in business-development initiatives across our global-development franchise,” Goldman said in a news release.
Second, Gregg had a history of doing the bidding for Wall Street while a member of the Senate. Judd Gregg was a sponsor of the bailout of Wall Street and the bailout of the International Monetary Fund. He is was an appropriator and was no friend of the taxpayer when doling out money as Subcommittee Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee for Commerce, Justice, and State. Don’t forget that Gregg wanted to be President Obama’s Secretary of Commerce before he decided to cash out on Wall Street.
Furthermore, a young idealistic Senator Judd Gregg was for the BBA before he was became the jaded paid hit man for Goldman Sachs. Back in 1995, Gregg stated took to the Senate floor for an impassioned speech in favor of a balanced budget amendment.
I rise today to speak on behalf of future generations. Our national deficit for fiscal year 1994 stood at $203 billion. Gross interest on the national debt is now the second largest expenditure in the entire budget –higher than Defense spending. The Federal Government, this year alone, will spend an estimated $295 billion in interest on the national debt, which is a 400-percent increase since 1980 and an amount equal to 57 percent of all personal income taxes collected. Our total accumulated Federal debt stands at $4.65 trillion–$18,000 for every man, woman, and child in America. Like every family and business in America, when the Government borrows money it must pay interest on its debts. Given these grim statistics, I believe that we in Congress must amend the Constitution of the United States and pass the balanced budget amendment .
Finally, Gregg’s argument in The Hill yesterday was full of holes.
Conservatives should not tolerate those who would condition their willingness to make the tough, important votes that will address our fiscal chaos on unrealistic and impractical ideas that will have no impact on the problem.
Gregg provides to alternative solutions to the problem and he avoids any mention of other ideas on the table. He does not address efforts to cap spending at 18% of gross domestic product and he does not propose any specific cuts to programs. He accuses conservatives of “hiding in the corner,” yet this is a man who is hiding behind a mountain of cash on Wall Street who refuses to suggest one reform or cut to be added to the debt limit increase as the price to allow the debt limit to be raised over the current $14.3 trillion.
Gregg argues that “the debt ceiling is an opportunity for real action. It can be used to force immediate action to adjust the nation’s present course, which is headed towards fiscal disaster.” I bet that if other solutions are suggested, then Gregg will move the goal posts and find a reason to oppose any reforms that may slow passage of the debt limit increase.
Gregg smugly calls for ”statesmanship, leadership and fortitude.” Considering how little he showed during his tenure in the Senate, one should disreagard Judd Gregg’s critique of the balanced budget amendment as the rantings of a scorned Obama Administration Secretary of Commerce wanna-be and a Wall Street pimp.