Prepare to Bump Your Head on the Debt Ceiling

Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said today:  “The tax issue is finished, over, completed.  That’s behind us.  Now the question is what are we going to do about the biggest problem confronting our country and our future, and that’s our spending addiction.”

Then for good measure McConnell threw in the Greece canard, which is very effective in scaring people, but is irrelevant to our situation.  Greece’s problem is not having its own floating currency and its own central bank.

I agree that we need to cut spending (How about getting out of Afghanistan ASAP?), but you cut spending by negotiating on stuff you haven’t bought yet.  You don’t demand spending cuts by refusing to pay for the things you’ve already bought.  And we need to balance spending cuts by reforming the tax code to get additional revenue.

If the GOP were so concerned about the national debt, they wouldn’t be willing to mess with our credit rating, driving up borrowing costs and throwing away money on interest payments.


All Campaign, No Government

Congress won’t do anything significant between now and the election.  Then they’ll have a lame duck session and won’t do anything then either.  So the government is effectively shut down for the next nine months, till the end of January 2013.

I know some of us, mostly Republicans, think that’s a good thing because they want less government.  But they’re not getting less government, they’re getting outdated and inefficient government.  We desperately need reform in so many areas — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, energy, immigration, weapons systems, the tax code.

We pride ourselves on innovation and ingenuity in our business sector.  But what’s the point of having a dynamic private sector harnessed to a stagnant public sector?

The Public and Private Faces of the Ryan Budget

From “Paul Ryan’s Budget Plan:  At Least It’s a Start,”  James R. Stewart, NYT:

“The Ryan plan is clearly an opening move. … It’s easy to tweak the Ryan tax rates to generate more tax revenue while still lowering rates and broadening the tax base….

“In return, Republicans would get lower rates and curbs on entitlement spending.  Democrats would get more tax revenue and preserve the essential elements and long-term solvency of Medicare and Social Security.  The nation would get a fairer tax code, long-term deficit reduction, a secure credit rating, stronger economic growth and a social safety net.

“‘The overwhelming majority of Congress would agree to this on a secret ballot,’ [Jim] Cooper [D-TN] told me.  ‘But they wont do it publicly.  Each side considers it unilateral disarmament.  The Democrats want to bash the Republicans on Medicare and the Republicans want to bash the Democrats on taxes.'”  Emphasis added.