Earlier this week, House Speaker John Boehner spoke to a group of legislators in an effort to sell his impending deal with Barack Obama. Before his presentation, not only was staff cleared from the room, but waiters and waitresses busy bussing the room were thrown out also.
Why do you think that is?
Don’t know? Well, let me ask a follow-up question: How many secret negotiations during the Obama administration have been followed by a pleasant surprise?
Everything we know about the real parameters of the sleazy deal being hatched behind closed doors causes us to be more and more convinced of the enormity of the fraud and betrayal.
Of the promised $2.5 trillion in debt reduction over 10 years (perhaps increased to $4 trillion over 12 years)
- $600 billion to one trillion comes from phony defense cuts based on phony assumptions on Iraq and Afghanistan;
- as much as $500 billion comes from a reduction in interest on the debt predicated on the implementation
of all the other phony cuts;
- $400 billion comes from tax increases -– which you can bet will be real and irreversible;
- the remaining $500 billion to $1 trillion in domestic cuts won’t kick in until 2014.
Now, a domestic cut which doesn’t occur until 2014 is, in and of itself, fraud. Although Congress can theoretically appropriate for future years, it didn’t do it in order to lock in defense modernization money for START, and it won’t do it here. Those cuts will never happen.
But what about entitlement cuts?
Well, first of all, what is a “cut”? One member of the House Democratic leadership suggested removing the $106,000 ceiling on the payroll tax. This isn’t a spending cut; it’s a tax increase.
But let’s assume the deal actually proposes to cut spending. We’ve been down this road before with the 1997 cuts in Medicare reimbursement to providers. Those by-now over $250 billion in cuts were, generally, not allowed to go into effect, and are, each year, eliminated by a bill which is euphemistically referred to as the “doc fix.”
Particularly in the second term of an Obama administration, we’re going to be doc-fixed on any entitlement cuts contained in this deal.
But so much for the good news.
Now for the really bad news, which is this: At the instigation of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, all but 21 Senate Republicans just voted to cut off a filibuster on the motion to proceed to Harry Reid’s legislation to demand tax increases (“shared sacrifice”) on any debt limit deal.
But, you ask, can’t we salvage the deal by ——
A BALANCED BUDGET CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT????
Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana, a champion during the fight over the $352 million continuing resolution deal, suggested this as a bottom line on Fox News Friday.
Let me say this: Any final version of a proposed constitutional amendment will have an “escape hatch” –- either for an emergency or by a supermajority vote.
And the time will come when someone –- a court, or an administrator, or the head of the Congressional Budget Office -– will say that Congress must go through that escape hatch in order to save Medicare.
If Congress is not willing to stand up to Barack Obama on the debt limit –- when it’s relatively easy -– why does anyone think it will stand up then, when it’s virtually impossible?
A TAX INCREASE, BUT JUST FOR MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES????
Remember 2009, when Obama swore he would not raise taxes for anyone earning less than $250,000?
I have circulated an amendment in the Senate to the “shared sacrifice” bill currently pending on the floor. The amendment would repeal all Obama tax increases on the middle class. Depending on how you view ObamaCare’s “mandate,” that could be hundreds of billions –- or perhaps trillions of dollars of tax increases on the middle class.
I guess when Obama says “millionaires,” he’s talking about a million pennies.
And when he talks about “billionaires,” he really means YOU.
So ask not for whom the ObamaTax tolls; it tolls for thee.
A “REVENUE-NEUTRAL” TAX INCREASE????
Republicans who thought the debt limit deal could be used to enact a flat tax thought they were soooo clever.
So how did that work out?
The liberal media used their statements as evidence that they had caved.
And the most recent behind-the-scenes plan by Democrats is to swap a 10-year “fix” on the Alternative Minimum Tax –- which HAS to be passed -– for big tax increases which don’t.
BUT, IF THERE’S NO DEBT LIMIT AGREEMENT, WON’T OBAMA JUST INVOKE THE “CONSTITUTIONAL OPTION” AND IGNORE CONGRESS?
Section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendment says, in part:
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, … shall not be questioned. [Emphasis added]
So Obama’s point is what? That a debt not authorized by law is also not capable of being questioned?
If I were a Republican, I would say this:
If Obama decides to “go rogue” and ignore the Constitution, I certainly wouldn’t make an illegal loan to him. Because that loan isn’t going to be paid back.
THE BOTTOM LINE
After Presidential Candidate Michelle Bachmann and Senator Jim DeMint publicly made the point, it seems to have gotten into even the itsy bitsy heads of Washingtonians that the question is not whether the government will default on its debts. With revenues exceeding debt payments ten-fold, it will not.
It is not even a question of whether the government can continue to pay most of its entitlements, its veterans, its troops, and its prison guards. There will be just enough money for those too.
But if there is not debt limit agreement:
- the government will not be able to subsidize 324,000 abortions a year through Planned Parenthood;
- the National Labor Relations Board will not be able to continue to pay off Obama’s union contributors by making coercive organizing easier;
- the Federal Communications Commission will not be able to regulate the Internet;
- the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms will not be able to arm Mexican drug cartels and compile gun registries of multiple firearms sales;
- the Environmental Protection Agency will not be able to end-run Congress with cap-and-trade regulations;
- new regulations requiring Americans to drive tiny, dangerous cars by imposing unattainable Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards will be
- Barack Obama will not be able to fund-raise for his reelection through contrived presidential trips.
And the problem is……?
by Michael E. Hammond, former General Counsel Senate Steering Committee 1978-89.