The Deficit – What’s the Strategy Now?
Many press accounts of the debt ceiling compromise say “… the tea party won…”, and President Obama was forced to capitulate. It does not feel that way to me. For some reason, this feels as bad as the malaise that followed the passage of the Affordable Care Act. For days it seemed like the sun would not shine again.
Many in the tea party and 912 world are very disappointed in the outcome, and for some reasons that have not been widely explored. Yes it may have been difficult to get more from the divided Congress. But several aspects of the bill seem to have given the initiative for further action completely to the Democrats. The question that hangs in the air like smoke after a firefight is …. what now? What is the strategy to fend off the coming tax increases. How will the “select committee” resolve ideological differences over the role of government and fend off the “trigger” that will decimate the military?
Many tea party and 912 members worked hard to get Congressman Allen West elected, some going back to the 2008 race. We want to be loyal, we want to support him in 2012. But we really need to understand. This is some of what we need to know:
- The bill cuts about $1T over 10 years, but the reduction from planned spending over the next two years is pocket change. Since this Congress can’t bind a future Congress to a course of action, why is anything in the out years even relevant?
- The second “tranche” requires agreement of 6 Republicans and 6 Democrats, yet to be named, or else massive cuts are applied to the military budget and to Medicare providers. Since cuts of the suggested size would severely impact our war fighting capablility and leave us weak in a world of increasing danger and instability, how could this even be contemplated? And as to Medicare providers – will not cutting doctors and hospitals create massive supply disruptions that will make care for seniors difficult to obtain?
- Since both aspects of the mandatory actions on failure of the commission could be considered results sought by a majority of Democrats (based on past actions), hasn’t this bill essentially handed all the leverage over to that party? Why would the 6 Democrats on the commission have any incentive to compromise?
- Speaker Boehner’s PowerPoint charts say that the commission will not be able to raise taxes. Both Harry Reid and President Obama on the other hand, say “balance” – (meaning tax increases on “the rich”), is what they expect of the commission. How are these points of view to be reconciled?
- The CBO scoring of the bill assumes the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire, raising taxes by several trillion, possibly accounting for all the “savings” from the bill over 10 years. What is the plan to prevent this massive tax increase on small businesses and the middle class?
- We understand that necessary changes cannot be made in one step, and that control of only the House and not the Senate and White House makes progress difficult. Accepting the premise that August 2 was a drop-dead date narrowed the range of options. That said, what leverage is remaining to the conservatives and what further steps can be taken short of defeating the President and winning control of the Senate in 2012? How do we continue the fight?
- And lest we forget, what happened to the pledge to have bills published on the Internet for a few days before a vote?
Both of our local conservative Congressmen from districts 22 and 16 voted for this bill. The Palm Beach County Tea Party is preparing a set of questions for them to help us understand their positions. We will report the answers when they are available.