I truly enjoy my position as the President/CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis as it affords me great insight into the machinations of public policy. When I was in Congress I had a sitdown with a woman who truly served as an astute mentor. Her name was Judy Schneider and she worked over at the Congressional Research Service (CRS). I will never forget when she taught me the seminal lesson about Capitol Hill — everything is about politics, policy, and procedure. She challenged me to learn the “Three Ps” in order to be a powerful Member. And so yesterday when I awoke and learned about the secret “debt ceiling budget deal” reached just before midnight, her lesson came back to me. You can read the 144-page bill here — chances are you’ll be doing better than most Members of Congress,I want to give you a simple assessment as to why this is just another horrible Washington D.C. piece of bovine excrement. It reminds me that with government, “if you think the problem is bad, wait ‘til you see the solution.”
As reported by Fox News, “Speaker John Boehner is making one final appeal to restive Republicans: Pass a hard-won agreement with President Barack Obama to fund the government and forestall a debt crisis before Rep. Paul Ryan assumes the top job later this week. But he encountered immediate resistance when he laid out the plan Monday night.The budget pact, in concert with a must-pass increase in the federal borrowing limit, would solve the thorniest issues awaiting Ryan, R-Wis., who is set to be elected speaker on Thursday. It would also take budget showdowns and government shutdown fights off the table until after the 2016 presidential election, a potential boon to Republican candidates who might otherwise face uncomfortable questions about messes in the GOP-led Congress.
Congress must raise the federal borrowing limit by Nov. 3 or risk a first-ever default, while money to pay for government operations runs out Dec. 11 unless Congress acts. The emerging framework would give both the Pentagon and domestic agencies two years of budget relief at $80 billion in exchange for cuts elsewhere in the budget.”
Once again we see why Americans distrust Washington D.C. with this last minute, late night 144 pages of a secret deal. This is not how our system of Constitutional Republic governance was designed to function. Four people — John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, and Harry Reid — go over to the White House to sit with Barack Obama and they decide what to do with our fiscal matters. They decide what the fiscal future will be for our Republic, and that folks is an aberration of our Constitution. So who went back and wrote these 144 pages? Was it done in committee where the assigned members had the opportunity to review and prepare amendments? And what happened to the so-called “72 -hour rule” because this is being pushed for immediate vote?When will this be brought to the House floor for debate and will it be a closed rule, meaning no amendments will be offered? By the way, that decision was made by the House GOP leadership.
What is most infuriating is that we continue to see from our Congress crisis action management that leads to insidious “deals” that truly never solve anything. And to hear outgoing speaker John Boehner say he’s cleaning out the barn — well, this is the reason why he’s cleaning out his office.
When will we stop raising the debt ceiling? You must understand this deal “suspends” the debt limit until March 2017 — ok, here’s a lesson in congressional semantics, “Suspending” the debt limit basically allows the federal government to borrow as much as it wants until March 2017.And guess what will happen two weeks before? We’ll be told we must do the same all over again or else we will default on bills already determined to be paid. So this is what happens politically: every GOP candidate is now set up to answer the question, will you raise the debt ceiling in March 2017? If you respond “nay” then you will be deemed irresponsible and incapable of being president.
What John Boehner and Barack Obama have done is ensure that between now and March 2017, we will have potentially another $4 trillion added to our national debt – and that doesn’t include unfunded liabilities (Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security). It means an American household will incur a $34,000 increase in their share of the debt. Just swell huh?
So Obama threw a tantrum about wanting increased domestic spending – he’s holding the Fiscal Year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) hostage because he wanted $38 billion more in domestic spending, i.e. welfare state expansion. We wrote about that last week.And what did Boehner and McConnell do? They acquiesced, but the signing of the Fiscal Year 2016 NDAA STILL hasn’t been done — and wasn’t part of this “deal.” We need someone who’ll look Obama in the eye and say we don’t give a damn about your childish rants. We’ll provide for the common defense, not the common welfare.
They will tout, as always, reduction to the deficit, well guess what? In Fiscal year 2015 the federal government had record tax receipts and still ran an almost $550 billion deficit. You trust these folks?
Here’s what needs to happen: tackle the cause of our debt — mandatory spending (Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security). That is 63 percent of our federal budget. Tackle the issue of baseline budgeting and end it, to be replaced with zero-based budgeting. Cuts in spending in Washington D.C. only mean a cut to the rate of spending increase — but there will still be an increase. And since there are some twenty new taxes as part of Obamacare, 50 percent of those taxes should have been eliminated. And guess what else is part of this deal? These chuckleheads decided to sell off strategic oil reserves to raise revenue. Brilliant.
And as a final nail in the coffin, John Boehner brought the reauthorization of the poster child of crony capitalism and corporate welfare, the Export-Import Bank, to the House floor yesterday. It passed 313-118 (“only” 127 House Republicans voted in favor for reauthorization).
The D.C. kabuki dance continues and now our elected representatives are forced into a corner. Either vote for this mess or risk fiscal catastrophe — I for one am tired of a dysfunctional federal government that cannot manage the operations of this country. And again, I reiterate, the debt of the United States when Obama becoming president was $10.67 trillion, it is now approaching $18.4 trillion. A new U.S. president will inherit a $20 trillion dollar U.S. debt — and be threatened into continuing with the same practice. Obama in his eight years will have doubled the accumulated debt of this nation.
He and John Boehner can go play golf together and celebrate their great achievement.