Entries Tagged as 'debt ceiling'

Gridlock Forever

January 5th, 2012 at 4:50 pm 28 Comments

Far from yielding an ambiguous electoral outcome, the Iowa caucuses solidly confirmed the Balkanization of the Republican Party, a fact that will lead to potential electoral failure in 2012 unless neutralized soon. These internal divisions hurt the party’s leadership in Congress in 2011; they have already improved Democratic chances to retain the Senate, gain substantial seats in the House, and keep the White House in 2012.

Super-imposed on this chaos is a 2012 Congressional legislative schedule that virtually no one on Capitol Hill believes has a snowball’s chance in hell of ever passing.

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Boehner Can’t Control his Caucus

September 22nd, 2011 at 2:10 pm 55 Comments

At some point, Speaker John Boehner was going to have to show the most conservative members of his caucus that he would get work done in the House without them.

Yesterday revealed that day has not yet come. The ramifications of the failure to pass the Continuing Resolution (CR) for FY12 in the House will be far-reaching. It’s true that Democrats took advantage of the Tea Party defections from the GOP leadership and aided in killing the CR. But this was the second embarrassment on a critical vote for the House Republican leadership this year.

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Will The GOP Listen to This Fed Hawk?

August 17th, 2011 at 7:34 pm 21 Comments

Republicans believe the economy is weak because of “uncertainty” created by the Obama administration. Yet a recent statement by a Federal Reserve President suggests that if there is any uncertainty, it should be blamed on the Republicans for forcing a standoff with the White House over the debt ceiling. This is not from the remarks of an inflation dove, but rather, one of its hawks who recently dissented from the Fed’s plan for further easing.

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Bachmann’s Bad Civics

August 15th, 2011 at 1:16 pm 96 Comments

Fresh from her win at the Ames Straw Poll, Michele Bachmann went on Meet the Press Sunday morning.

I cannot understand how any conservative can watch her and not be appalled by Rep. Bachmann’s decidedly unconservative approach to governing. She ignores basic civics and doesn’t understand that our country is a representative republic rather than a direct democracy.

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Not The Onion

David Frum August 1st, 2011 at 3:37 pm 24 Comments

This is the Washington Post’s emailed bulletin report on the budget debate:

Asked for single-word characterizations of the budget negotiations, the top words in the poll — conducted in the days before an apparent deal was struck — were “ridiculous,” “disgusting” and “stupid.” Overall, nearly three-quarters of Americans offered a negative word; just 2 percent had anything nice to say.

“Ridiculous” was the most frequently mentioned word among Democrats, Republicans and independents alike. It was also No. 1 in an April poll about the just-averted government shutdown. In the new poll, the top 27 words are negative ones, with “frustrating,” “poor,” “terrible,” “disappointing,“ “childish,” “messy” and “joke” rounding out the top 10.

Bartlett: End the Debt Ceiling

August 1st, 2011 at 11:21 am 6 Comments

One consequence of the psychodrama over the debt ceiling is that we can now discuss how to remove it. In his column Bruce Bartlett reminds us that we have known since the 1950′s that the debt ceiling doesn’t reduce spending:

While politicians and the general public believe that the debt limit is an important constraint on national indebtedness, not one iota of evidence supports this belief. Economists have been making this point repeatedly for more than 50 years. In 1959, Marshall Robinson of the Brookings Institution came to this conclusion in a book-length study of the debt limit:

On the record, the debt ceiling experiment has failed. Although at times the ceiling has clamped down on government spending, it has not prevented the long-term growth of debt. Indeed, there is some evidence that reactions to its short-run pressure may ultimately contribute to the growth of debt.

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Seven Ideas for the GOP After Debt Day

David Frum August 1st, 2011 at 10:26 am 50 Comments

In my column for CNN, I discuss seven ideas for the GOP to take up after the debt crisis has passed:

1) Unemployment is a more urgent problem than debt.

The U.S. can borrow money for 10 years at less than 3%. It can borrow money for two years at less than one-half a percent. Yes, the burden of debt is worrying. Yet lenders seem undaunted by those worries.

Meanwhile, more than 14 million Americans are out of work, more than 6 million for longer than six months. The United States has not seen so many people out of work for so long since the 1930s.

2) The deficit is a symptom of America’s economic problems, not a cause.

When the economy slumps, government revenues decline and government spending surges.

Federal revenues have collapsed since 2007, down from more than 18% of national income to a little more than 14%. To put that in perspective: That’s the equivalent of losing enough revenue to support the entire defense budget.

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Too Soon Old, Too Late Wise

David Frum August 1st, 2011 at 12:16 am 32 Comments

I wish my defense hawk friends at the American Enterprise Institute and the Weekly Standard had discerned before it was too late that a budget framework that calls for: (1) no additional revenues and (2) big cuts in discretionary spending, is not a hospitable climate for a robust defense budget.

The cut-taxes-forever faction of the Republican party knew what it wanted – and got it.

The live-to-fight-another-day Obama administration mostly lost this round, but at least put some points on the board.

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Obama Fails His Test of Strength

David Frum August 1st, 2011 at 12:05 am 134 Comments

Obama adviser David Axelrod offered up a sad little whistle through the graveyard after the debt ceiling deal:

“In the short term, everyone suffers politically …. In the long term, I think the Republicans have done terrible damage to their brand. Because now they’re thoroughly defined by their most strident voices.”

Is it possible that the Obama people actually believe that junk?

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Boehner’s New Plan – Even Deader

July 29th, 2011 at 3:46 pm 75 Comments

A few thoughts on the implications of Boehner adding a “Balanced Budget Amendment” to his debt-ceiling bill (which would now require that Congress pass a BBA before a second debt-ceiling increase could take place early in 2012):

Adding the BBA makes the bill very likely to pass the House. This addition appeases Tea Partiers, who had denied Boehner the majority he needs to pass it.

The Boehner bill as it stood on Thursday night might not have been able to pass the Senate; the Boehner bill of today definitely can’t. The very thing that makes the bill likely to pass the House – its Tea Party pedigree – will kill it in the Senate.

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