Congress should split the difference between Boehner, Reid debt plans

I was listening to Arthur Laffer on Fox News and, whether you agree with his Reagan-era curve he made perfect sense on how to resolve the debt limit imbroglio. Pass both the Boehner plan and the Reid plan and then have Congress reconcile it by splitting the middle. The Boehner plan raises the debt limit by almost $1 trillion; the Reid plan raises it by slightly more than $2 trillion. So, agree to raise the debt limit by about $1.5 trillion or somewhere there, get this fiscal problem finished and let the battle continue in 2012.

There are several Tea Partiers, among them Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who want to kill the Boehner bill and try to implement Cut, Cap and Balance. While resolve can be admirable, it doesn’t really work when you turn into Don Quixote. Even conservative economist Thomas Sowell understands this. He writes: “Is the Boehner legislation the best legislation possible? Of course not! You don’t get your heart’s desire when you control only one house of Congress and face a presidential veto.

“The most basic fact of life is that we can make our choices only among the alternatives actually available. It is not idealism to ignore the limits of one’s power. Nor is it selling out one’s principles to recognize those limits at a given time and place, and get the best deal possible under those conditions.” (Read)

Republicans have already bucked the DC establishment by managing a debt plan that avoids taxes. President Obama will not veto a compromise bill comprised of what is on the table.

This entry was posted in The Political Surf and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Congress should split the difference between Boehner, Reid debt plans

  1. Owain says:

    I think that Boehner in the end will get the votes to pass the House bill. Even though Democrats control the Senate, the last analysis I read indicated that Reid did not have the votes necessary to pass the Senate bill.

    Each plan has to pass in the Senate and in the House, respectively, before reconciliaton can take place. The Senate Bill may need to be changed before it can pass.

  2. Doug Gibson says:

    Owain, you are correct that the bills have to have some connection to be reconciled. I would hope that could be done. I worry that some GOPers are abandoning a glass 2/3 full by voting against Boehner.

  3. Lang says:

    So now that it serves YOUR opinion you want the GOP to stop their obstructive behavior? As a Democrat it is nice to see the GOP so badly splintered with its own subversive factions causing a disagreement. It’s kinda like watching the two unruly neighbors you don’t like get into a fight and beat each other up. Let me get my lawn chair and some popcorn.

    • Bob Becker says:

      Let me get my lawn chair and some popcorn.

      It would be fun except it’s the rest of us — the middle class on which the Republicans have been making war for the past decade — who’ll have to pay the piper for extremist Republican ideologues taking the reins in the House. Default will not be good for any of us, and so the temper tantrum the GOP extremists are indulging themselves in at the moment is likely to be very costly for the entire nation.

      Insisting that “government is the the problem” may play well as a campaign tactic, but it’s not a script that serves someone who is elected to be part of a government well — nor does it serve his constituents well. Nor does it serve the nation. Extremism in Congressmen rarely does.

      • Lang says:

        oh dude …you are not wrong. I was middle class and when AIG took a dump in 9/08 the revenue of my business disappeared and I became what is called poor.
        It sucked but I still have my family. :) as I am sure you know money isn’t everything.

        I believe there is a cycle to everything in life. I just think we are seeing the implosion of the GOP; and the birth of a new conservative movement. I find much of this fascinating and can find the same exact issues at least 20 times in the past 240 years.

        The Constitution of the United States is built to weather such storms. I believe we are witness to the American experience, and its not always as pretty as the Grand Canyon. I am a victim of this financial storm, but the biggest fan of the fight.
        God Bless America

  4. Howard Ratcliffe says:

    Debt Limit $14.3T
    Current Public Debt $14.6T Total unfunded obligations $55T
    Interest on Debt $3.6T Federal Spending $3.6T
    Budget Deficit 2011 $1.7T
    Morons Reid, Boehner, Paul Ryan and Obama need to retake basic math and look up the definition of Traitor.

  5. Bob Becker says:

    Another fine example this morning of Republican hypocrisy on federal spending. Gov. Perry of Texas, Tea Party “we must slash federal spending now!” darling has attacked the Obama administration for cutting spending on NASA [HQ in Houston]. Perry, it seems, like Sen. Hatch and Congressman Bishop is for cutting spending in other peoples states or districts, not his. Here’s what Perry said:

    In a statement following the safe return of the space shuttle Atlantis this morning, the governor took his own moon shot at President Obama for cutting Houston jobs and NASA. Citing the 42nd anniversary this week of the first moon walk, Perry went on to say that, “this administration has set a significantly different milestone by shutting down our nation’s legacy of leadership in human spaceflight and exploration, leaving American astronauts with no alternative but to hitchhike into space.”

    Hypocrisy aside, Perry also got his facts wrong — another Republican characteristic these sad days. It was President Bush who decided to pull the plug on the space shuttle program.

    But hey, non-hypocrisy and facts are so limiting when you’re trying to gin up the rubes to support your next campaign.

    • Owain says:

      Not all government spending is created equal, Bob, as I’m sure you’d agree if you were to comment honestly on the subject.

      President Bush pulled the plug on the space shuttle, mostly because it was becoming too old and too expensive to continue to fly safely, but during his administration, the Orion program was started to help fill the gap in US space launch capabilities and would have handled logistic flights to the international space station.

      The Orion program was cancelled October 2010. By President Obama.

      So the REST OF THE STORY is that President Bush had a planned replacement for the aging Space Shuttle, which President Obama canceled. Isn’t that correct, Bob?

      • Bob Becker says:

        Which makes no difference at all with respect to Perry demanding more funding for NASA at the same time he’s demanding drastic federal spending cuts. Just as Cong. Bishop denounces rampant federal spending at the same time he threw a hissy fit when the Administration axed a way over-budget and below performance rocket program at ATK in the Congressman’s district.

        Perry, Bishop, Hatch: they’re all the same. “We must drastically cut spending — someplace else, but not here. ” Wasteful spending, it seems, only occurs on someone else’s patch, not on theirs.

        • Owain says:

          Do you think that it would be a good idea to boost NASA’s budget to further the cause of space exploration, Bob?

      • Bob Becker says:

        You wrote: “Not all government spending is created equal, Bob, as I’m sure you’d agree if you were to comment honestly on the subject.

        We don’t agree on much, O, but generally I don’t accuse you of dishonesty because of that. Just for the record, the below is a reply I posted to a comment by E. on the SE site. Link follows:

        As for your distinguishing between different kinds of federal spending, I agree: one size [description] does not fit all. But that’s a kind of nuanced analysis that we don’t much hear from Cong. Bishop or Senator Hatch these days.

        • Owain says:

          Bad wording. What I meant was, “If you want to discuss it honestly”. I mean that as an invitation, not an accusation.

  6. Mikeasell says:

    Of course people mimic what they see on television and regurgitate it here, creating the same impasse and missing the entire point, being willing to hurt the country in order to score some imagined political point for who they consider to be real Americans: their political party. Every time there is a crisis, mob leaders step forward with the slogan “it’s them, get them!” and people follow blindly.
    Since the recession began, which was cause by bad policy, overspending and mismanagement on everyone’s part, we have elected a number of professionally angry people whose depth of character and thought go as deep as the bumper sticker that got them elected. Now these people are in office and we are asking them to be reasonable, when in fact they got elected because they refused to be. We cannot travel in our regret and blame time machine and revisit what Bush did or hash out what Obama should have done, its done already. Because of the timing, we need an emergency solution, unfortunately. more importantly, we need a system that allows America to accumulate wealth not just print money in the long run. In order to do this we will need to elect great men and women who are willing to use reason and intelligence to accomplish the rewriting of America’s financial success. We can no longer squabble about the past and past policies that no longer work and defend them simply because they are traditionally the ideology of whatever political party we belong to. This is the real crisis, a crisis of character among American and specially in Washington. Please, at the next election don’t be so simple minded to decide on every issue before you have even heard it, based on what your party tell you and please, please, don’t vote angry.

    • Owain says:

      So what do you suggest be done in the current circumstance?

      • Mikeasell says:


        Whatever I suggest, it will not matter. I am not a decision maker. As I stated, there will have to be an emergency decision, the debt ceiling will have to be raised, as it has been on so many occasions. The GOP is holding the country hostage and tying for the first time, the overall budget to a debt ceiling raise. This is a POLITICAL move. Of course the Democratic party would be doing the same thing if they had a chance. This is what everyone is frothing at the mouth about. It has little to do with what is best for our country.
        A balanced budget is like a game of hot potato (so is immigration, job creation, trade deficit, the war, etc): if you are in office and its going poorly, I will blame you, if its going well I will take credit…and we eat this BS gladly, we love it, we eat it and regurgitate it in blogs and we think that our party will fix it all. With this situation all we can do now is extend the real problem so it does not turn into a worse problem. A bad decision in lieu of a worse one.

        What we need to do is ask better questions, such as: how the hell is America in this much debt? How can both parties have allowed our country to have such a large trade deficit? How can we possibly keep electing clowns to office? How do we allow political parties to split America down the middle politically in order to remain in control? How can we brainwashed ourselves to think that a particular political party is on our side? How can do we always decide important things on the lowest mental common ground? Did we really just have a presidential election in which the debate was whether the president had a real birth certificate? Did we really contemplate having a president that can’t name a newspaper? Is the voice for reason and principles among the GOP a guy who wanted to put Hispanics in work camps until they were “sorted out” (Chaffetz)? Do we really elect actors, wrestlers, comedians, racists, constitutional defenders whose first goal is to amend the constitution (Lee)? This is how stupid we have become.
        All that remains until significant changes are made is to hash out the same minutia that we are cable-fed every night, and like my opinion, will do nothing in creating a better country for us all.

        • Owain says:

          “Of course the Democratic party would be doing the same thing if they had a chance.”

          I’ve got news for you, Mike. The Democratics ARE trying to do the same thing (or at least Obama) when he tried to tie $1 Trillion in new taxes to the debt limit deal, which not even the Democrats in the Senate thought was a good idea.

          “how the hell is America in this much debt?”

          It was bad before 2008, but what with the stimulous, bailouts, and so forth, Obama TRIPLED the debt with his drunken spending binge. That’s how we got in this much debt, and why it’s a crisis at the current moment.

          “Whatever I suggest, it will not matter.”

          Not helping Mike. Neither is suggesting “don’t vote angry”. You say, “we will need to elect great men and women who are willing to use reason and intelligence to accomplish the rewriting of America’s financial success.” Great. What should they be doing. No idea? None at all?

          Thanks for playing. Thanks for nothing.

          • Bob Becker says:

            Interesting how you discount entirely the about $1.4 trillion in lost revenue the Bush tax cuts created as a cause of the present problem.

            We got here by (a) overspending and (b) foolishly cutting tax revenues at the same time. The solution is to reverse both policies, to cut back on spending and to restore federal tax revenues to at least where they were during Reagan’s presidency. The Republicans’ “only spending cutbacks” solution makes as little sense as an “only tax increases” solution would — which by the way, Democrats have not suggested. The only one-wayers in this disagreement is the GOP.

          • Bob Becker says:

            On how we got here, the most recent contributions:


            Full story accompanying the graph is here:


            From the story: “A few lessons can be drawn from the numbers. First, the Bush tax cuts have had a huge damaging effect. If all of them expired as scheduled at the end of 2012, future deficits would be cut by about half….”

            And yet, the GOP’s solution to the problem ignores entirely the tax cuts responsible for much of it.

            This ed cartoon comment isn’t half bad either. From the Austin TX American Statesman, on running the government like a business:


          • Mikeasell says:

            Owain, I am not sure what it is that is wrong with you. You are under the great misunderstanding that I personally care for your opinion. Taking what I say out of context and arguing with it is beyond the level of energy I will spend on a complete stranger. Apparently you care for my opinion a great deal as you think that it will help with the country’s current situation. But if its not what you want to hear then begin with childlike insinuations? Have you been watching Hannity? I am glad that the billions in debt that Bush spend are better than the ones Obama spent, you clearly got my point.
            you know how I feel and what I think! you should run for office Owain! I hear they are electing melodramatic windbags.

          • Owain says:

            Where did you get the number $1.4 Trillion? I’m finding conflicting information.

            “But the real jolt for tax-cutting opponents was that the 03 Bush tax cuts also generated a massive increase in federal tax receipts. From 2004 to 2007, federal tax revenues increased by $785 billion, the largest four-year increase in American history. According to the Treasury Department, individual and corporate income tax receipts were up 40 percent in the three years following the Bush tax cuts. And (bonus) the rich paid an even higher percentage of the total tax burden than they had at any time in at least the previous 40 years. This was news to theNew York Times, whose astonished editorial board could only describe the gains as a “surprise windfall.” ”

            I haven’t seen the raw Treasury Department data this article cites, but it seems to be at odds with the number you claim, so if you have a source for that figure, I’d be most interested in checking the data.

            I had thought that deficits increased under Bush not because tax receipts dropped, but rather because spending increased. The cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were responsible for some of that. The 2003 expansion to Medicare added more. Still more was added when Democrats took control of both the House and the Senate.

            Was it increased spending or decreased revenue that was at fault? I’m not entirely sure, which is why I’d like to see your data.

            In the mean time, this chart is still relevant to the discussion.

          • Owain says:

            Mike, I don’t post here because I think I have a snowball’s chance in Hell of changing your mind. I’m running under the assumption that people who may be undecided read these threads, so I try to present the best argument I can offer. To do that, I try to engage people who don’t agree with me. If I get the better of the argument, great. If not, that’s OK too. Maybe someone else will learn something they didn’t know in the process.

            If you are trying to convince anyone of anything useful, you are doing it wrong.

          • Owain says:

            Bob, I saw that NYT article the other day, and I thought their numbers were suspicious then. I don’t know where they got their numbers, but then I don’t know where the Washington Times got the numbers in the article I linked either. They both can’t be right.

          • Owain says:

            Well, the debt debate is over for the moment, but problems that led to the crisis are still with us.

            Bob, regarding the NYT article you linked, here is a good rebuttal.

            “Leave aside for a moment the fact that Bush’s entire eight-year record is being compared to policies enacted during Obama’s first two and a half years. The fundamental flaw in the New York Times graphic is that it assumes that a president’s fiscal policy is confined to “new” policies enacted under his watch. Every year, the president proposes a budget that contains a mix of new policies and old policies. The result is a comprehensive vision of what federal tax and spending policy ought to be. A president who simply continues the fiscal policy he inherits must bear his share of responsibility for its consequences.”

            I think this article presents a more accurate assessment of the issues, which is ‘a pox on both your houses’.

  7. Lang says:

    …and its gone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>