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Opinion

Opinion

Opinion: GOP should employ resistance strategy

January 19, 2013

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— It has become conventional wisdom that Republicans are suffering an internal split that President Obama is successfully exploiting to neuter the Republican House. It is not true, however, that the Republican split is philosophical and fundamental. And that a hopelessly divided GOP is therefore headed for decline, perhaps irrelevance.

In fact, the split is tactical, not philosophical; short-term, not fundamental. And therefore quite solvable.

How do we know? Simple thought experiment: Imagine that we had a Republican president. Would the party be deeply divided over policy, at war with itself in Congress? Not at all. It would be rallying around something like the Paul Ryan budget that twice passed the House with near 100 percent GOP unanimity.

In reality, Republicans have a broad consensus on program and policy. But they don’t have the power. What divides Republicans today is a straightforward tactical question: Can you govern from one house of Congress? Should you even try?

Can you shrink government, restrain spending, bring a modicum of fiscal sanity to the country when the president and a blocking Senate have no intention of doing so?

One faction feels committed to try. It wishes to carry out its small-government electoral promises and will cast no vote inconsistent with that philosophy. These are the House Republicans who voted no on the “fiscal cliff” deal because it raised taxes without touching spending. Indeed, it increased spending with its crazy-quilt crony-capitalist tax “credits” — for wind power and other indulgences.

They were willing to risk the fiscal cliff. Today they are willing to risk a breach of the debt ceiling and even a government shutdown rather than collaborate with Obama’s tax-and-spend second-term agenda.

The other view is that you cannot govern from the House. The reason Ryan and John Boehner finally voted yes on the lousy fiscal-cliff deal is that by then there was nowhere else to go. Republicans could not afford to bear the blame (however unfair) for a $4.5 trillion across-the-board tax hike and a Pentagon hollowed out by sequester.

The party establishment is coming around to the view that if you try to govern from one house — e.g., force spending cuts with cliffhanging brinkmanship — you lose. You not only don’t get the cuts. You get the blame for rattled markets and economic uncertainty. You get humiliated by having to cave in the end. And you get opinion polls ranking you below head lice and colonoscopies in popularity.

There is history here. The Gingrich Revolution ran aground when it tried to govern from Congress, losing badly to President Clinton over government shutdowns. Nor did the modern insurgents do any better in the 2011 debt-ceiling and 2012 fiscal-cliff showdowns with Obama.

Obama’s postelection arrogance and intransigence can put you in a fighting mood. I sympathize. But I’m tending toward the realist view: Don’t force the issue when you don’t have the power.

The debt-ceiling deadline is coming up. You can demand commensurate spending cuts, the usual, reasonable Republican offer. But you won’t get them. Obama will hold out. And, at the eleventh hour, you will have to give in as you get universally blamed for market gyrations and threatened credit downgrades.

The more prudent course would be to find some offer that cannot be refused, a short-term trade-off utterly unassailable and straightforward. For example, offer to extend the debt ceiling through, say, May 1, in exchange for the Senate delivering a budget by that date — after four years of lawlessly refusing to produce one.

Not much. But it would (a) highlight the Democrats’ fiscal recklessness, (b) force Senate Democrats to make public their fiscal choices and (c) keep the debt ceiling alive as an ongoing pressure point for future incremental demands.

Go small and simple. Forget about forcing tax reform or entitlement cuts or anything major. If Obama wants to recklessly expand government, well, as he says, he won the election.

Republicans should simply block what they can. Further tax hikes, for example. The general rule is: From a single house of Congress you can resist but you cannot impose.

Aren’t you failing the country, say the insurgents? Answer: The country chose Obama. He gets four years.

Want to save the Republic? Win the next election. Don’t immolate yourself trying to save liberalism from itself. If your conservative philosophy is indeed right, winning will come. As Margaret Thatcher said serenely of the Labor Party socialists she later overthrew: “They always run out of other people’s money.”

— Charles Krauthammer is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.

Comments

Gandalf 1 year, 9 months ago

Thank god, charlie is back his same old nut farm. I don't think I could have handled agreeing with two opinions in a row!

"What divides Republicans today is a straightforward tactical question: Can you govern from one house of Congress? Should you even try? "

Answer is NO. A one house majority is not a madate by any stretch. Government includes boht chambers, the president and SCOTUS. When any party earns the label of the party of no, by stating their only goal is to make a president a one term president, and destroy US credibility, economy and credit rating in the process, has no concept of government.

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chootspa 1 year, 9 months ago

A one house majority won in large part by gerrymandering is even less of a mandate.

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 9 months ago

THe GOP has been the party of resistance to new industry,new jobs and economic growth going on 33 years. It is known as supply side economics.

And instead of supporting an assault weapons ban they support arming anyone that can get their hands on dangerous weapons to go kill lots of people. It is their right to kill lots of people with their gun of choice.

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 9 months ago

Massive Unemployment by way of supply side economics is not a fiscal responsible economic growth plan. 33 years of failure has been documented.

Tax Corp USA $75,000 for every USA job sent abroad each year that jobs stays abroad. Tax every leveraged buyout scheme another $75,000 per job sent abroad. INSTEAD of providing the tax code that protects the profits as a result of those USA industries and jobs sent abroad.

No one can prepare for terrorism because no on knows if or when terrorism will strike. Look at all the tax dollars spent on crime fighting yet crime is still on the rise even in Lawrence,Ks.

Of course if 20 million unemployed had good paying jobs again there would likely be less crime and violence.

Massive home loan scams create crime and violence by putting millions upon millions out work and homes = depression and more crime.

Real good jobs = less crime and violence.

20 million jobs to replace the 20 million lost by way of leveraged buyout artists and Wall Street bankers should fix the economy.

If guns were the answer the USA should be the safest place on earth. I say put people back to back at no less than $17.50 per hour instead.... and remove assault weapons from the retail market. Now the USA might be on to something.

The USA cannot afford massive unemployment nor access to assault weapons.

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Trumbull 1 year, 9 months ago

"Of course if 20 million unemployed had good paying jobs again there would likely be less crime and violence."

And there would be less defecits and budget problems too.

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 9 months ago

It's "resistance", not "resistence". Can I get a spell checker please?

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average 1 year, 9 months ago

Considering the weakness of the GOP House holding, more of the same? Look Repubs, you've lost House seats in two straight elections. In the 2012 elections, over 1.3 MILLION more people actually voted for a Democratic member of the House than a Republican (districts being drawn the way they are is the only reason Boehner is Speaker and not Pelosi).

Most people would look at that trendline and consider some changes. Unless you think calculus is a communist plot.

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weeslicket 1 year, 9 months ago

well, cal did get this paragraph correct:

The party establishment is coming around to the view that if you try to govern from one house — e.g., force spending cuts with cliffhanging brinkmanship — you lose. You not only don’t get the cuts. You get the blame for rattled markets and economic uncertainty. You get humiliated by having to cave in the end. And you get opinion polls ranking you below head lice and colonoscopies in popularity.

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bearded_gnome 1 year, 9 months ago

"resistence strategy?"
spelling by the wire or LJW?

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bearded_gnome 1 year, 9 months ago

considering that even Michelle Dowery, Obama Phone Woman, has turned against Obama, and many poorly informed people have suddenly awakened along with her to Obama's lies, Obama's losing traction fast now.

I had an interesting talk with a black small businessman a couple weeks ago. he told me directly he regrets his vote for Obama because he just faced his health insurance premium increase, a huge one, on top of Obama's promise to target hard working businessmen like him who earned above a certain income because of putting in very long hours and much personal risk.
another 20-something who used to adore Obama now spits at the TV when he speaks because of his lies about taxes.

I tried to warn .

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Carol Bowen 1 year, 9 months ago

Obamacare does not address health insurance premiums. I wish it did. Health insurance premiums were significantly increasing long before Obamacare. In California, Blue Cross (Anthem) tried to raise premiums more then 30% in one year before Obamacare.

If you have suggestions for reducing the cost of health insurance, I'd like to hear them.

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jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Require that health insurance companies operate as non-profits.

Also the ACA does address them, at least indirectly, by mandating that a certain percentage of premiums are spent directly on health care delivery - I believe it's 80-85%. Companies that don't comply have to send back some money to customers.

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jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

I thought some had an 80% requirement, and others 85% - can't remember why.

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bearded_gnome 1 year, 9 months ago

hey Merrill, didn't see you post on the low vacancy blog story! oh yeah, that's right, because it disproves everything you say.

Merrill, you are completely without basis of fact and just keep cut-and-pasting on here. you are the Godfather to the local Occupy nuts.
you are a walking liberal cliche.

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Liberty275 1 year, 9 months ago

You could have just called him a shill and saved a few a few words.

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Trumbull 1 year, 9 months ago

"Today they are willing to risk a breach of the debt ceiling and even a government shutdown rather than collaborate with Obama’s tax-and-spend second-term agenda."

A breach of the debt ceiling is like deciding not to pay your credit card bill. This is messing with the solvency of the United States currenency and obligation. In my mind this is economic sabatoge that could create a financial crisis world-wide. It would be greater than the 2008 crash. If politicians are willing to do this they need to be booted out of office.

Said it before and I say it again. The debt ceiling and the budget are two separate issues.

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jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Yes and no.

The reason we need to keep raising the debt ceiling and borrowing more money is that we're running huge budget deficits each year.

It's analogous to borrowing more money each month on a credit card to pay your home mortgage - not a good idea.

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Trumbull 1 year, 9 months ago

Not with you all the way Jafs. I believe we should eliminate our defecits and pay down our debt, but remain good on our prior commitments. Not raising the debt ceiling is like filing bankruptcy. That is way too extreme and would certainly be very low point in our history to do that. Are we there yet?

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jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

I didn't say we should default on our debts.

I just pointed out that the reason we have to keep raising the debt ceiling and borrowing more money every year has to do with deficits, so the budget and the debt ceiling are connected.

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Ken Lassman 1 year, 9 months ago

But not raising the debt ceiling would result in precisely that: defaulting on our debts.

We've created a spending scenario in our country where we cannot cover our debts without raising the debt limit periodically, a scenario that is only justified if it results in stimulating the economy enough that our revenue increases through a healthier economy, covering our commitments. This strategy is no longer working. Cutting spending through severe austerity measures threatens to create a Hoover style deflationary spiral. So we're faced with two ugly options, it seems, with a high probability that neither will get us to the healthy economic situation that we all want.

Seems to me that the rules have changed enough that the old tricks no longer work and since nobody really knows what the new rules are, we may flounder quite a while before we come up with anything that really works. My sense is that we're going to have to become more locally and regionally self reliant for more of our goods and services as the global alternatives are going to become ever more corrosive and unreliable as a source for those things due to a wide range of causes ranging from international political instabilities, increasing costs associated with climate change, shifting alliances, etc.

Good time to pray for rain, brush up on those gardening skills and get to know your neighbors better.

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chootspa 1 year, 9 months ago

Fallacy of composition there.

The US debt isn't the same as a credit card bill. Not the same at all. Not only does the government get a considerably better interest rate on the deal (the 10 year rate hit a record low this summer), government spending can actually stimulate economic growth and reduce the overall debt. As the economy recovers, more tax revenue is generated and the need for spending on things like unemployment is reduced. A virtuous cycle. Conversely, paying off the debt too quickly (as Europe has learned) can actually shrink the economy, reduce tax revenue, and increase the debt. Such a thing is not true at all of credit cards, because personal credit cards do not drive economies.

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Trumbull 1 year, 9 months ago

You say it way better than I could have. I was only using a credit card to set an example.

We also got to see what is happening in Europe and what resulted from there Austerity experiment. Yet, right wing politicians want to do the same exact thing.

It is not necessarily that we spend too much (ie even though we can do much better and be more efficient) it is also that our economy is not producing enough tax revenue.

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jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

I don't know about that.

If people borrow money on their credit cards and spend it, that "drives" an economy, since it depends on consumer spending.

The point is that we are running huge budget deficits, and borrowing lots of money, so much so that we have to keep raising the debt ceiling every year, and keep borrowing more money each year.

It sounds like a terribly bad idea to me.

In theory, government spending could function as you suggest, but if you look at history, our national debt has steadily increased over the last 40-50 years, with only a small dip during the Clinton administration.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 9 months ago

But the percentage of the budget spent to service the debt is actually much less than 1/2 of what it was during the first Bush administration.

With regards to the credit card analogy-- sovereign governments create the money that the economy is based on. They can literally print up more money to pay off their debts. That's not without potential negative ripple effects, inflation being the most prominent, but the fact is that there is pretty much no history where putting more currency into circulation caused hyperinflation. Hyperinflation is almost always caused by external forces, such as demands by other governments for brutal payments on debts of one sort or another (think Weimar Germany, Argentina not so long ago.) And this is highly unlikely to happen, given that the US economy drives the world economy, and it would be suicide for other governments to take such a hard line.

Increasing the money supply, especially if it's done in ways that put people back to work doing things that need doing, is good for the economy (unless you define "good for the economy" only in terms of what's good for plutocrats.) And even if there is a bit of inflation, that would lower the value of the dollar relative to other currencies, which would improve the balance of trade, which is pretty out of whack right now, also putting people back to work. And decreasing the unemployment rate means increasing tax collections, which lowers the deficit.

http://backtofullemployment.org/2013/01/15/a-modest-proposal-for-jacob-lew-acknowledge-three-simple-facts-about-u-s-fiscal-reality/

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jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Yes, of course we could just print more money instead of borrowing, which would probably be better up to a point.

But, it would devalue the dollar and possibly result in inflation, neither of which are great things either.

The best solution is a combination of tax revenue increases and spending cuts, to get to balanced budgets, in my view.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 9 months ago

"But, it would devalue the dollar and possibly result in inflation, neither of which are great things either."

As I pointed out, devaluing the dollar would actually stimulate the economy, resulting in greater revenues to the government, which would decrease the deficit. And as I also pointed out, any inflation is likely to be very moderate. The Fed has been printing up lots of money over the last few years. Unfortunately, it's all gone to the banks, who have chosen to sit on it and pad their bottom lines rather than lend it to stimulate the economy, but it has had almost no inflationary effect.

I'm all for spending cuts, but it should come in areas that do little else but feed the plutocrats without doing any good at all for the quality of life for the vast majority of Americans. Sadly, all we hear from Republicans, and way too many Democrats, is that it's the poor and the middle class, the elderly, the disabled and kids, and the environment, who should pay for reducing a deficit that isn't any more real than the numbers written on paper or computer screens to represent it. But the suffering that is caused by being a slave to reducing it is very, very real.

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jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Well, I'm not as sure as you that devaluing our currency would be a good thing.

And, if printing the money does result in circulation, as it's supposed to, then inflation is the likely result. The fact that we haven't had inflation is precisely because the money hasn't circulated much.

There's no free lunch.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 9 months ago

If lowering the unemployment rate from 8% (it's actually much higher) to 4% causes inflation to go from 2.5% to 3.5%, it's well worth it. And history shows that that's pretty close to what would happen.

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jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Where do you get those figures from?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 9 months ago

There's been a huge amount of deficit/stimulus spending over the last 5 years, yet inflation is pretty low.

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jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Can't have it both ways.

Either much of the money is being sat on by banks, etc. or it's being used to stimulate the economy.

Unemployment isn't great either, so again where do you get the idea that we could reduce unemployment by 1/2, and only have a very slight increase in inflation?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 9 months ago

The money the Fed gave the banks primarily restored the wealth that the wealthy lost during the collapse of the economy, but did nothing for everyone else-- which is why unemployment is where it is.

Hyperinflation is caused when money is printed but production is falling or extremely inadequate. If the stimulus spending causes increased production, there will be little or no inflation.

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jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Again, where do you get that idea from?

You claimed we could reduce unemployment by 1/2, with only a very small rise in inflation.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 9 months ago

Inflation is caused when the money supply increases without any increase in productivity. With a real unemployment/underemployment rate likely somewhere in the range of 15%, it's clear that we aren't anywhere near as productive as we could be, and supporting all those un/underemployed folks, even though we don't do it very generously, is a very major contributor to the deficit.

So if we increase the money supply in a way that increase productivity, and we have lots of things that urgently need doing, there would be little inflation.

The numbers I suggested are just guesses, but they are fairly well supported by history, and the history of austerity hysteria is of economic disaster.

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jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Not necessarily.

Inflation is a rise in the cost of goods and services.

If more people have more money, and spend it, it's likely that inflation will be the result.

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Trumbull 1 year, 9 months ago

Increased money supply will not create inflation if capacity and/or supply is also increased....which is often the case when GDP is growing.

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chootspa 1 year, 9 months ago

Actually a devalued dollar relative to other countries leads for better foreign purchasing power - more of our goods and services would be purchased, and there would be more of an incentive to keep manufacturing jobs here instead of overseas.

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jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

That may be a possible upside, but there are also downsides.

There's no free lunch.

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chootspa 1 year, 9 months ago

Sure. The downside is that traveling to Europe would be more expensive - as would spending money on foreign goods and services.

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jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Actually, having thought about this a little more, I suspect that the result of minor devaluations in our currency would just be a rise in the costs of goods manufactured in other countries.

It would take a lot for companies to invest in new production facilities here, combined with higher costs of labor and environmental regulations.

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chootspa 1 year, 9 months ago

It's starting to happen already, though. There are social pressures to manufacture here, and those will increase as people become aware of the working conditions it takes to support those cheap devices. Couple it with smart tax policy, and it may make a lot of sense to keep production lines in the US and not risk the news headlines showing that your garment factory fire killed several hundred impoverished workers in India or that your factory in China has to keep nets on the buildings to prevent jumpers.

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jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Well, then it's not the minor devaluation in currency that gets us there then.

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chootspa 1 year, 9 months ago

Not by itself. It's usually never something by itself. But the point remains that the US could devalue its way out of much of the debt obligation without crashing the economy. It's one of many options and one of the reasons the debt isn't our biggest problem right now.

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jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

I don't know what that means.

Are you suggesting that we just print scads of money and use it to pay down our debt?

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Trumbull 1 year, 9 months ago

There is one option that given the current economy might not be such a crazy idea. And that would be monetizing the debt. I am not sure how much this really would dilute the US dollar because 1) The dollar is used all around the world these days and is a cash outflow. 2) We are dumping a lot of US dollars into Afghanistan and Iraq for there infrastructure and much of this money is not cycled back into our economy 3) Our economy is slow to begin with so this would make the inflationary impact less.

I am well aware that monetizing debt is a wildly radical idea. But is it an option if it would not cause hyperinflation.....just a temporary inflation? It is something that might just get us out of this mess.....something we should never allow ourselves to get into ever again.

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chootspa 1 year, 9 months ago

Not exactly. The percentage of debt relative to GDP has risen and fallen over the years, and it tends very much to be related to depressions. After the economy recovers, so does the debt.

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jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

That chart is a per capita chart.

In actual numbers, our debt has risen steadily over the last 50 years or so, as I said. Now, it's greater than our GDP, for the first time since WWII.

I'm not sure why a per capita measurement would be useful.

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chootspa 1 year, 9 months ago

That chart is a per capita chart in relation to GDP, so it takes both population and GDP into account. Yes, the debt relative to GDP was high right around WWII. Did it fall again? Yes. And the US didn't really make a huge effort to pay it down in order for it to shrink. It shrank relative to GDP as the economy grew.

Would it be stupid to ignore the debt when the economy is strong? Yes. That's when it should be paid down. It would also be very very stupid to pay it down too quickly right now, because that would actually contract the economy and increase the debt relative to GDP. That's right, it would make the problem worse.

Welcome to the paradox of thrift.

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jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Yes, and why do we care about per capita figures?

Debt relative to GDP seems like a much more informative number to me, and perhaps debt alone, since we can't always grow our way out of debt, as we did after WWII.

Yes, but we don't do that - we don't pay it down when the economy's strong, as is shown by the steadily increasing debt. That's why the TP folks came along - they saw, quite correctly, that neither D nor R actually show fiscal responsibility for the most part.

So, the economy's not great now, and we shouldn't pay down the debt, then if it gets stronger, we won't do it,....

Even Obama says it's a "medium term" problem that should be dealt with.

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chootspa 1 year, 9 months ago

Per capita figures were an easy grab to illustrate my point because they went back further historically when I did a quick search. You're the one fixated on it. Both per capita and against GDP alone show the same trend - it doesn't stay that high forever, and as the economy grows, the debt shrinks relative to GDP - even without austerity measures. Not that I was in favor of tax cuts for the rich and two wars right as the economy was declining, but it's not an insurmountable hole.

The TP folks are wrong. We have the data from Europe. Austerity now means a shrinking economy and possibly another recession. Economists knew economies shrank when you cut back on spending, but they thought they'd shrink less than the debt would. They were wrong. The contraction was even worse than most predicted. That's not fiscal responsibility. Not by a long shot.

Obama - also wrong. But then that's because he's never been a liberal progressive Kenyan colonialists socialist, no matter what some people claim. His fiscal policies are conservative leaning moderate at best. He just looks liberal compared to some of the ignoramuses in the House.

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jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Per capita is misleading, in my view. Having more people doesn't mean we should carry more debt.

What's your solution? How will you ensure that when times are good, we pay down the debt, instead of simply increasing it, as we have tended to do for a long time?

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jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Also, of course, balancing the budget wouldn't even necessarily mean paying down the debt, it would just mean that we're not increasing it all the time, which would be a step in the right direction, I think.

I looked at a chart of debt from the '40's until now - it shows a rather even level of debt, perhaps very slightly shrinking from the mid '40's to the '80's, followed by steep increases from then until now, with a very small dip at the end of Clinton's presidency.

Debt in the '40's at the highest level was about 4 trillion, now our debt is 4x that, at about 16 trillion.

We're borrowing more money each year just to keep up with paying existing debt.

It really doesn't make any sense to me, and seems like a very bad idea, with serious ramifications. An analogy would be a household that's always putting more money on the credit card to pay their monthly bills.

That's just not sustainable, and credit card companies put limits on borrowers for exactly that reason.

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chootspa 1 year, 9 months ago

Balancing the budget - as in no deficit spending and budgeting only to projected revenues - would mean that we would have a stark reduction in spending during hard economic times. That would make recessions worse and slow recoveries.

The large rise in debt in the 80s came from both a recession and a massive tax cut. I fully support getting our tax system in order, including more progressive income taxes, fewer loopholes, and taxing capital gains like regular income. If we wanted to address this like a medium to long term problem, we could write those increases into the code and allow them to increase gradually. And I'm not saying that we should ignore spending, but we should look at individual items instead of imposing global, economy slowing cuts.

Once again, a government is not a house. A national debt is not a credit card. It may seem like an appealing analogy, but it is wrong. Governments should reverse the spending patterns of houses. Spend more in bad times, less in good.

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jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Not necessarily - we could actually follow Keynesian theory and save money during good times, to use in the hard times, which is the best of both worlds.

Then we can have stimulus spending when necessary, without running large budget deficits.

And, it should be targeted, so that it's efficient and effective at accomplishing our goals.

I stand by my general take that running large budget deficits and increasing the national debt each year, as we tend to do, is a bad idea, and a rather obviously bad one.

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chootspa 1 year, 9 months ago

That would be great -- until you have a massive downturn that wipes out the reserve, and you realize that you've painted yourself into a corner. I stand by my position that we should have the option of deficit spending, even if I agree that we should be working harder on paying off the deficit during good times.

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jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

I thought the whole point of Keynesian theory was that the government acts to mitigate those boom and bust cycles, so we don't have those massive downturns.

I might agree on the "option" of deficit spending, but only as a last resort, and only if used very sparingly, which obviously isn't the case right now.

If we had reasonable tax policies combined with a bit less spending, we might be able to get ourselves out of this mess, but I fear we won't do that, and it'll just get worse.

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Liberty275 1 year, 9 months ago

Representatives and senators should vote the way their constituency expects then too. I can only hope Americans keep opposition in the congress and not enough senators of like mind to break a filibuster.

Government in gridlock helps keep America free.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 9 months ago

In reality, the current rules on filibuster don't required 41 senators to block any bill or nomination before the Senate. It really only takes one Senator to do that, and that's just idiotic.

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Liberty275 1 year, 9 months ago

Isn't the filibuster set up so it can be stopped by a 3/5th majority?

And I'll be waiting to hear how idiotic you think it is when the power shifts and the right can only be stopped from passing anti-abortion legislation by a filibuster. You will sing a different tune when that day rolls around.

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bearded_gnome 1 year, 9 months ago

yeah L275, I know I could've saved some words, but felt like "shill" was just too short for his mental pollution, i.e. his multilie posting above RE guns, terrorism, savings and loans, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum

hey Merrill, in case you had trouble finding that story that disproves your hypercut-and-paste fetish, here it is: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2013/jan...

*now, re republican resistance, it is the only right thing to do. from one side of his mouth the president admitted that raising taxes in this bad economy would hurt the recovery, yet he insists on raising taxes.

furthermore, debt, massive Obama debt is its own kind of tax on the economy when it is this size and slows growth.

so, insisting that spending be cut in order that the debt limit be raised is only reasonable.

it's like in the real world family when you run out of money and out of room on your credit cards. get real.

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Trumbull 1 year, 9 months ago

"so, insisting that spending be cut in order that the debt limit be raised is only reasonable"

This is like saying, I will not pay my credit card bill, unless I cut my spending.

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jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Vs. just continuing to borrow more money each month on the credit card?

Credit cards have limits.

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Trumbull 1 year, 9 months ago

The continuing to borrow part is a separate process.

The debt ceiling is the Finance aspect of the budget. We simply have to finance what we borrow.

Arguing about what we spend and what we should cut is done during the budgetary process. It one considers our current budget defecits irresponsible, I would argue that not raising the debt ceiling is way beyond irresponsible. I would call it reckless.

The other irritating point about all of this is that some politicians are doing this only because they want to use it as leverage and/or want to see President Obama fail. There was hardly ever even a slight argument about raising the debt ceiling during the past Republican administrations. Why are the Republicans all of a sudden willing to go of this cliff? Is it political. Damn right it is.

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jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

It is not separate at all.

Raising the debt ceiling is increasing our debt, which means borrowing more money.

If we didn't need to borrow more money, we wouldn't need to raise the debt ceiling.

Of course you're right about the political nature of this argument for many people. For me, it isn't political, and I don't care about the D/R nature of the argument. I care about common sense and fiscal responsibility, both of which are in short supply in Washington, regardless of who's in power.

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Trumbull 1 year, 9 months ago

I still believe it is separate. Finanacing and budgeting are separate. Even a balanced budget would require a raise to the debt ceiling to cover the accumulating interest.

As far as common sense, ruining the credit rating of the United States currency will result in higher interest rates on our debt. Some estimate this could be 1.2 trillion. This does not strike me as a wise way to spend tax dollars. This would also throw many economies back into a recession, thus leading to even larger defecits. This could potentially result in another stock market crash. This would be unwise and no common sense either.

Balancing the budget, stimulating economic growth and increasing tax revenues all need to be done to get us out of this mess. I don't know if accomplishing all three at the same time has ever been done. But not raising the debt ceiling will only add fuel to the fire and make things much worse.....unless we agree demolishing our economy and building anew from the ground up. I'd like to think we still have a chance to avoid this.

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jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

That's just not true - a balanced budget would mean that we're taking in enough revenue to pay our expenses, which include debt payments.

Think of it as a household - if you're making enough money each month to cover your payments (mortgage, utilities, etc.) you don't need to borrow more money each month, right?

I've never advocated not raising the debt ceiling and defaulting on our debt - I'm simply pointing out that your idea that the budget and the debt ceiling are separate is incorrect.

And, I understand why some would like to tie some sort of ideas to balance our budget to increasing the debt ceiling - they see that we're running large budget deficits each year, and think that's a bad idea, and this gives them a bit of leverage.

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Trumbull 1 year, 9 months ago

I see your point Jafs. And it is valid. I still see it as separate because if we have a government shut down, the debt ceiling can and should still be increased. In this way, the debt ceiling is separate from the budget. Just as it can be lowered if we ever get back to budget surplus. The debt ceiling can also be adjusted at any time during the year and it does not have to coincide with the timing of any budget.

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Carol Bowen 1 year, 9 months ago

But, jafs, we are not borrowing more money. Raising the "credit" limit allows us to pay for existing debt. The credit card analogy is not really very good. It only describes how we can raise the ceiling but not why we need to.

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jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

That's absurd.

Raising the debt limit allows us to borrow more money - if we didn't need to do that, we wouldn't need to raise the debt ceiling at all.

Why would we need to raise our debt limit if we weren't borrowing more money?

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Carol Bowen 1 year, 9 months ago

To cover the interest on our debt. We're not paying it off fast enough. It's kinda like not making the minimum payment on a credit card.

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jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Raising the debt limit means borrowing more money to pay that interest.

And, you point out the terrible nature of the problem - we're borrowing more money every year just to keep up with existing debt payments - it's terrible.

It's analogous to getting a second credit card and borrowing more money on it each month in order to pay your first credit card payments.

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Carol Bowen 1 year, 9 months ago

Yes, however, I do not think we should ruin our investments in Social Security and Medicare. They did not cause the deficit. Tax cuts and wars did cause the deficit.

I'm wondering why we don't try to close tax loopholes. It was promoted as a viable option during the campaign.

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jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Well, the way that SS and Medicare are run right now, they're not sustainable, even according to the SSA.

Agreed about tax loopholes.

One thing that drives me absolutely nuts is the way the government dealt with the "trust fund" - it's the insanity of government thinking. We saved up a bunch to deal with Baby Boomer retirement, which was a generally good idea, and then instead of leaving it alone, we lent it to ourselves and replaced that money with "non marketable securities". Where exactly do you think all of that money will come from when we need it?

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jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Or, it means that we're just not even paying enough to keep the debt constant, so it steadily increases.

Either way, it amounts to the same thing - our debt just goes up and up.

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msezdsit 1 year, 9 months ago

Grasping for stars krauthsy. However, what you have divulged is that the republican party can't get along with anybody, not even themselves. Even if you pretend they won the presidency. By the way Chuckie, they didn't win the presidency so your little pipe dream is just that.

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scott3460 1 year, 9 months ago

President Obama convinced the country that his view of fiscal priorities was superior in the last election. What do you suppose the result will be when such a budget is produced and blocked by repugs?

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JackMcKee 1 year, 9 months ago

More obstructionism will create more marginalization. Listen to Krauty, GOP, and you'll never see the Oval Office again.

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beatrice 1 year, 9 months ago

"Imagine that we had a Republican president."

Haha. That is some imagination. How about we imagine that unicorns exist. After all, if one were to run for President it would likely get more electoral votes than Romney.

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jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

I'd have voted for a Unicorn over both major parties, to be honest.

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notaubermime 1 year, 9 months ago

"If your conservative philosophy is indeed right, winning will come."

I believe that this is the reason why one has to "imagine" that there is a Republican president in office right now in the first place.

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Liberty275 1 year, 9 months ago

Did you have to imagine Bush SR and Jr? How about Reagan? We have a democrat in office because Obama is a charismatic leader and Romney was a mormon. Don't get too excited, you are running low on Obama's. What are you going to do in 2016? Run the idiots algore and kerry again? Or that howler monkey dr dean?

You need to enjoy Obama while you can because he has no heir to his throne.

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jayhawklawrence 1 year, 9 months ago

Interesting title to this column and I suppose we can say that Krauthammer wants to be the leader of the resistance.

We used to call them saboteurs.

Saboteur: "A person who destroys or ruins or lays waste to; "a destroyer of the environment";

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Armstrong 1 year, 9 months ago

The GOP should use the lemming stragegy. Sit back and watch the D's take everyone over the cliff. A disaster elected by the takers, of the takers and for the takers.

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notaubermime 1 year, 9 months ago

Technically, Obama was elected mainly through winning the majority of those states that pay more in to the federal government than they receive.

Not that you will let anything like facts, reasoning, or "intelligence" get in the way of your attempts to bring back some version of social darwinism.

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Armstrong 1 year, 9 months ago

Intelligence and Obama Democrat do not go together in the same sentence

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jayhawklawrence 1 year, 9 months ago

That neighborhood organizer black dude from Chicago really got his butt kicked by all these brilliant Republicans didn't he?

Maybe you have to be intelligent to be able comprehend what it is.

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