GOP Devil in the Lack of Details

I could sit down and pick at the GOP’s new proposal “Pledge to America” to cure the nation’s budget and deficit and debt crisis, but why bother? The Washington Post just did a lovely job. See it here (clck)

I will just reiterate what I’ve been saying all along: Any damn fool can claim to want to cut government spending, but until you say in detail what it is you plan to cut, you’re just blowing hot air. And nobody will give those details because they don’t want to admit they have no intention, or perhaps no ability, to actually cut that spending.

Every President since Lincoln, including all parties, has claimed to have a plan to balance the budget, but none except Nixon and Clinton has achieved that minor miracle, and then mostly through dint of circumstance, not actualy cutting of actual spending.

The GOP proposal, in short, is precisely the same as the Tea Party’s many bleats and, to be honest, a lot we hear from the Democrats as well – designed to sound good but only if you don’t ask for numbers. And, really, how good does it sound?

This will allegedly cut federal spending $100 billion? Woopy-doo — the deficit is 13 times that, and keeping the tax cuts that Bush put into place will continue to add to that deficit.

What they’re doing, of course, is sound good for a while, hoping to get into office so they can push through tax cuts — everyone loves tax cuts, even democrats — but when they are unable to cut any spending for major programs like Social Security or Education or anything else they’ll blame the democrats as “tax and spend” jerks.

So, in short, as this editorial by the Post says, with thinking like this in Washington, the national debt, and deficit, have nothing to worry about.

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12 Responses to GOP Devil in the Lack of Details

  1. tom says:

    I’m not sure Mr. T, but I was under the impression that the US has not had a balanced budget since Eisenhower back in the mid 50′s.

    Maybe you can enlighten us on all of the Presidents who actually had one?

  2. ctrentelman says:

    uh, I said Clinton and Nixon. Maybe you speed-read past them. Did Ike? Sorry, I was too young to pay close attention to the papers back then. Pre-roosevelt, I don’t know and don’t much care.

    But Nixon had a balanced budget, if you define “balanced” as not having a deficit, income and outgo matching. At least one year, I forget which one. Around 71, I think.

    And Clinton did. Clinton left office with a surplus. That surplus was the chief selling point of Bush’s tax cut — why should the government have your money? he said. Of course, when the deficit bloomed his cure for that was a tax cut as well — two contradictory problems, one remedy. Quite the miracle, that.

    But it is a matter of definition. If by “balanced” you mean “No national debt,” then, no, no budget since Washington has been balanced. By that measure the state of Utah never has a balanced budget either since it has scads of bonded debt.

  3. Neal Humphrey says:

    The Pledge to America and it’s hardware store roll-out – undignified fluff. The Republicans may enjoy some victories in the mid-term elections, but we still have zero evidence they have either the ideas or the cajones to fix anything.

  4. Owain says:

    So, presuming that one thinks that debt reduction and fiscal responsibility are good things, candidate should get that person’s vote? The candidate that plans to continue to spend irresponsibly or the candidate who at least makes a pledge to bring spending under control?

    Republicans may not achieve everything they promise, but as has been demonstrated already in this election cycle, those who arouse the displeasure of the voters can find themselves no longer in office. Term limits by ballot box.

    Hopefully, that will be a sufficient motivator.

  5. ctrentelman says:

    that’s absolutely correct, Owain. Do you know of any candidates who have said they will do that? Because if you are thinking of the GOP, you obviously didn’t read their pledge which, yes, uses the words fiscal responsibility, but then goes on to describe actual actions that are anything but.

    Heck, a burglar taking your wallet can say “I am giving you a gift” but you know he’s still taking your wallet. A party proposing to take $4 trillion out of the budget (the effect of extending the bush tax cuts over 10 years) can say “We are balancing the budget” but we know otherwise.

    From Paul Krguman’s column today: Howard Gleckman of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has done the math. As he points out, the only way to balance the budget by 2020, while simultaneously (a) making the Bush tax cuts permanent and (b) protecting all the programs Republicans say they won’t cut, is to completely abolish the rest of the federal government: “No more national parks, no more Small Business Administration loans, no more export subsidies, no more N.I.H. No more Medicaid (one-third of its budget pays for long-term care for our parents and others with disabilities). No more child health or child nutrition programs. No more highway construction. No more homeland security. Oh, and no more Congress.”

  6. Owain says:

    Well, well soon have an opportunity to put the issue to the test. If Republicans make significant gains in both the House and the Senate, and if they make good on their pledge, and if their program achieves what they hope to achieve, then they will have been justified. If not, we’ll have another election after that, and we’ll see what happens then.

    The voters, at least according to recent polls, seem to be unwilling to allow the Democrats to continue out of control spending, so the pendulum looks like it’s swinging back, just as it did after the disastrous Carter administration, and for pretty much the same reasons.

    That’s American politics for you.

  7. Niawo says:

    It seems that the Republicans proposing this “Pledge to America” are intent on canceling out everything Obama has done thus far. Sure, Obama’s measures haven’t been as successful as many of us would like, but you have to take where we were prior to him Obama being elected. The person that was going into the White House needed to come up with some course of action, whether they were Republican or Democrat. If he hadn’t done anything, people would’ve chastised him for not taking action, but instead he received criticism for doing too much.

    The key to coming out of this dark economic period is coming up with fresh, new solutions that are going to solve the problems that caused this fiasco in the first place. I seriously doubt that taking a step backward and going back to Bush-era politics is going to solve the issues we’re experiencing. It may help, it may not. You never know. The Republicans and Obama have something in common. Their solutions are like spaghetti thrown against the wall. Both of them are trying to throw out whatever they can to see if it sticks. In the end, the efforts of both might be futile.

    The difficult problem here is finding solutions that don’t cost a lot of money. In my opinion, the process of going backwards and implementing new policies has the potential to cost more than pressing on with an adjusted version of the current measures. I will gleefully point out the Republicans’ hypocrisy if they take power and spend just as much, if not more than what Democrats have spent thus far. At that point, I’m sure they will say every dollar is justified because it’s in the name of their version of “progress.”

  8. ctrentelman says:

    What really bothers me is that Owain is absolutely correct: The voters will look at this GOP thing, say “yeah, that’s what I want,” and vote for it. It’s all about advertising hype — cleaner! brighter! tastes great! less filling!

    From what I can tell, the American voter (as a class, not individuals) wants the following:

    – lower taxes.
    – no reduction in any services.
    – highly funded military
    – a promise of a balanced budget.
    – Even lower taxes. Or, better, no taxes.

    yes, there are obvious contradictions in this list. But, as Vice President Cheney said, “deficits don’t matter,” and absolutely nobody called him on it at the time because the people at the time who were in power and thus were in a position to do something about it were the GOP. Democrats/liberals did say something but they’re idiots.

    The Republicans, led by the Tea Party, are happily willing to promise these things. Because Obama has had the bad form to actually speak of higher taxes and reduced benefits (Medicare Advantage) he is being lambasted as a “tax and spend” democrat who pushes “out of control” spending, unlike the carefully controlled spending we had under Bush, Reagan, Bush, et al.

    As Owain so correctly observes, the American Public hates out of control spending.

    So, he’s right. The American public will vote for the “fiscal conservative” who promises to cut taxes while maintaining all services and balance the budget.

    And, of course, when the budget doesn’t balance it will be the fault of those damn liberals again.

  9. ken thomson says:

    Lets see,” We have to pass this bill to see what is in it”, Pelosi comment in case you have forgotten.The Dem congress has yet to present a budget. Of course they wouldnt want that just before the election. And all the whining about the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy when the Dems biggest concern is to keep the Bush tax cuts for the middle class in place. Now how did the tax cuts for the middle class get in there. The lying Dems and I believe the author of this article have for years been screaming Bush tax cuts for the rich, Bushes rich buddies and so on. And now the Dems who have the greatest ideas are punting this until after the election. You folks are so phoney!

  10. Jim Hard says:

    Spot on, Charles. Reminds me of the Republicans’9 three page “budget” they trotted out on ’09; the one with no numbers in it. To really understand their “pledge” one has only to listen to what Boehner said in the news conference “we’re not going to be any different than we have been…” Nothing new, in fact, nothing at all.

  11. Dovie says:

    I assume everybody has seen the Jon Stewart clip, he calls it a “shot by shot remake” of 1994 – Here’s the Christian Science Monitor’s take on the “Pledge”. They agree with Jon Stewart. Hmm…

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Election-2010/Vox-News/2010/0924/GOP-s-Pledge-to-America-has-lots-of-new-ideas-or-does-it

    How it is similar to the “Contract With America”: As in 1994, Republicans are proposing a variety of ideas to reform how Congress works. Just as they did then, they want to make sure that most committee meetings are open, and they want to reduce how much Congress spends on its own operations.

    How it differs: Republicans in 1994 proposed term limits (12 years for members of Congress), an idea they have abandoned. Their ideas to demand that bills be posted online 72 hours before votes and to cite the constitutional authority for them are new.

    So it’s pretty much a shot-by-shot remake

  12. The Truth says:

    Paragraph internet articles captured and merged into the power of a single thought that could tell a story. AmeriChoice Launches National Support Initiative for Community . Joins initiatives in more than 300 locations nationwide to recognize and support the work of Community Health Centers to provide health care to the …
    AmeriChoice of New Jersey is sponsoring or participating in 22 events at community health centers, in support of National Health Center Week, August 9-15, led by the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). “As a partner with the New Jersey Department of Human Services in Medicaid, Personal Care Plus and NJ Family Care, we are committed to improving access to quality, affordable health care for the most vulnerable populations in America,” said John Kirchner, AmeriChoice of New Jersey president. Community Health Centers serve 18 million people at more than 7,000 sites nationwide, providing quality health care, supported by AmeriChoice corporate parent, UnitedHealth Group. About AmeriChoice of New Jersey, AmeriChoice of New Jersey serves approx. 275,610 Medicaid and NJ Familycare members in the state. The health plan is a unit of AmeriChoice, the public sector health care business of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH). UnitedHealth Group is a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company. AmeriChoice serves 2.6 million people in more than 20 states and the District of Columbia. CEO of AmeriChoice Health Bolts. John J. Kirchner – Director, Operations John Kirchner joined Healthfirst in May 2010 with over 25 years experience in health care management. Mr. Kirchner’s background includes responsibility for health plan P&L, strategic planning and operations, and government and regulatory affairs. Mr. Kirchner will be responsible for supporting all aspects of NJ health plan operations. Prior to joining Healthfirst, Mr. Kirchner held a variety of positions at AmeriChoice of New Jersey serving as President from 2007 through 2009. Judical decision, It’s true there is email thanking AmeriChoice health for their $25,000 cash gift and requesting much larger amounts for the pending year etc. from Community Health Center located in Bridgeton N.J.etc. It’s also true a licensed Health agents was fired for his refusal to deliver these checks. It’s true this behavior violates all the laws concerning bribes, kickbacks,fraud and Stark laws. It’s true this taint’s all the business then received from Community health center to AmeriChoice Health Company and then submitted to Mediciad and should be then held accountable and subject to all violations. Among its provisions, the anti-kickback statute penalizes anyone who knowingly and willfully solicits, receives, offers or pays remuneration in cash or in kind to induce, or in return for: A. Referring an individual to a person for the furnishing, or arranging for the furnishing, of any item or service payable under the Medicare or Medicaid program; or B. Purchasing, leasing or ordering , or arranging for or recommending purchasing, leasing or ordering, any goods, facility, service or item payable under the Medicare or Medicaid program. Violators are subject to criminal penalties, or exclusion from participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, or both. A violation of the anti-kickback law is a felony offense that carries criminal fines of up to $25,000 per violation, imprisonment for up to five years and exclusion from government health care programs. The federal anti-kickback statute, 42 U.S.C.§ 1320a-7b(b), prohibits individuals or entities from knowingly and willfully offering, paying, soliciting or receiving remuneration to induce referrals of items or services covered by Medicare, Medicaid or any other federally funded program. For purposes of the anti-kickback statute,remuneration means or includes the transfer of anything of value, directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in-kind. ps Wonder how many other cash checks were disbursed to community centers by AmeriChoice Health guess only the Shadow knows the DOJ certainly does not. Don’t you just love the words partner, collaborate, team player and yes, these words should be made trigger words for someone or something getting screwed.

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