A Gadfly Debt Ceiling Proposal: The Boehner-Krauthammer Plan
There has been much good discussion elsewhere on RedState about the state of the various votes, arm twisting, machinations, and probable outcomes of the current “negotiations” between Tea Party conservative Republicans, the Republican Leadership, Senate Democrats, and the Pretender President. It would be redundant for me to discus them here, and frankly I doubt I could add anything to what has already been written. But what path forward? I concur with the consensus that whatever the House passes, Harry “the cheat” Reid will gut it, stuff his own plan in, and send it back to the House, daring them to reject it because it has Boehner’s name on it. So what should House Republicans do about it when he does? My answer, take them up on the dare, then offer up a two phase plan I will dub the Boehner-Krauthammer Plan.
While there is much to dislike about the various incarnations of the Boehner Plan, there is a fair bit in their that we can like. It contains actual immediate decreases in federal spending. Yes, they are only reductions from baseline projections, not reductions in current spending, but at least they are real, instead of the smoke and mirrors we’ll get from The Cheat and the Pretender. The problem with the Boehner plan is phase 2: another congressional committee and an automatic approval process for whatever the committee decides; and the committee will be stacked with tax and spenders. So jettison it. Offer only the cuts of the first phase and the increase in the debt limit that goes with it. Add some rhetorical flourishes that we aren’t opposed to increasing revenues, then point to increasing the rate at which permits for drilling in the gulf are issued, and approving the transcontinental gas pipeline, both of which will pump more money into the American economy which will increase revenues as well as reduce expenditures, which will extend the operating room under the now increased debt ceiling. Pass this as a clean bill before voting on a revised phase 2.
The revised phase 2 is a single page bill that specifies priorities for spending cash in the future if the debt ceiling is reached. Interest and scheduled bond redemption come 1st, the troops second, medicare and medicaid, third, and after that everything else get prioritized according to when it was adopted by Congress as a program we should run. There should be a statement in the bill that whereas Social Security is NOT a federal tax expenditure and if funded by an independent tax and a lock box, there is no need to prioritize its payments because those monies are already sacrosanct. And yes, they are allowed to twist the knife as they deliver that one. And yes, that means the last thing funded would be Obamacare. We can of course be conciliatory and willing to entertain future changes to the order of spending priorities, but given the emergency circumstances, only the current bill will be debated.
Finally, having passed both phases out of the House, preferably late at night when all of the senators have gone home, implement the Krauthammer plan – adjourn for the summer. Then if Harry Reid and Obama want to run out of debt ceiling, they can vote it down. ‘But Gadfly’, you say, ‘if Republicans do that, they’ll be criticized for not compromising.’ We already are grasshopper, so you might as well get some mileage out of it.