By Tom Flake
Yesterday House Speaker John Boehner spoke about the Republican position on raising the debt ceiling. The position was essentially that any increase in borrowing authority needed to be tied to an equal decrease in spending. Sounds good on the surface. The Democratic position is essentially that the increase in borrowing authority needs to be decoupled from any negotiations with regard to cuts in spending.
Here's the thing. Both parties seem to be working around an increase of $2.4 trillion in borrowing authority. When fully exercised (notice I didn't say if) the national debt will be $16.7 trillion. So let's say that both parties "compromise" and that the debt ceiling is raised and spending cuts of $2.4 trillion are agreed to. What they aren't telling you is that these cuts will be to a baseline budget over ten years. This means that in reality the cuts are going to be more like $240 billion per year. Who really talks about cuts in their aggregate amount over ten years anyway? Is that how you and your spouse discuss the household budget? "Gee dear I know we are still spending more than we make, but just think how much we'll save over ten years?"
The current deficit is $2.6 trillion per year. Cutting the budget by the amount that the Boehner is floating will reduce the deficit to $2.4 trillion... does that sound to you anything like what you thought you were sending the new guys to Washington to do? Reduce the deficit by 1/13? I am still trying to run the numbers but even this number doesn't sound anything like the Ryan plan. So essentially the Republicans have already caved on the Ryan plan (which was wholly inadequate) AND they are working in the wrong direction. BTW how much have the Democrats moved from their position?
As far as I can tell the Democrats have ceded no territory. "We need to increase spending and no cuts to anything is the only acceptable alternative". I like their tenacity and wishour guys had half the same testicular fortitude. You might consider calling and writing your Congressman and Senators. I suggest using the phrase, "Have I mentioned your job is on the line here."