Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Boehner Plan: Bad for Conservatives, Bad for the Republican Party, Bad for America

In my last post, I wrote about how the current debt deals, Cut, Cap and Balance mostly, are showing the problem with “Conservatives” (not really conservative, but that will be discussed in an upcoming post, Heritage Conservatism: The End of Conservatism?).  In this post I will be writing about why the Boehner Plan is in no way conceivable, conservative and why the best option is Cut, Cap and Balance.  In case you are reading this from a deserted island, the Boehner plan I speak of is Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner’s debt limit plan.  His plan calls for “$1.2 trillion” in cuts, which was later found out to be actually $850 billion in cuts.  The plan also doesn’t actually include cuts; it does limit discretionary spending over the next ten years, but doesn’t actually cut anything.  You may be asking, “Then why does the Speaker get to call them cuts?” The answer: the “cuts” in the Boehner plan are only “cuts” from the CBO baseline, which is an imaginary path of future spending designed as a planning tool for Congress. Boehner can propose to spend any amount in any future year he wants, and in this plan he chooses to have a steadily rising spending path. The Boehner plan also only “cuts” $6 billion from the FY2012 budget, which is $105 billion short of Cut, Cap and Balance. Most importantly, the Boehner plan doesn’t lead to a Balanced Budget Amendment like Cut, Cap and Balance does.  A true conservative plan would involve, at a minimum, sending the Balanced Budget Amendment to the states along with statutory caps on spending to restrain Congress while the Balanced Budget Amendment is being ratified.  Cut, Cap and Balance, while not the perfect plan (see last post), is the best available option to get a Balanced Budget Amendment to the states, which should be the goal of these negotiations. 

The Boehner Plan doesn’t cut, cap or balance (Bad for Conservatives), the Boehner Plan doesn’t fulfill the promise of $100 billion in cuts that the Republican Party promised in the last election (Bad for the Republican Party) and the Boehner plan raises the debt ceiling without getting anything real in return (Bad for America).  To sum it up, The Boehner Plan is Bad for Conservatives, Bad for the Republican Party and Bad for America.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Debt Limit Talks showing the problem with “Heritage Conservatism”

The last few weeks, along with the next two, have been pretty exciting here in D.C.  Both sides are trying to haggle their way into getting what they want.  The Democrats (and some Republicans) want to raise taxes and “cut” spending (yeah right), the Republicans want to cut spending and pass Cut, Cap and Balance (which, in theory, includes passage of the balanced budget amendment).  A lot of my fellow libertarians have been very vocal about not liking Cut, Cap and Balance and saying that we cannot under any circumstance, raise the debt limit.  While this sounds great in theory, it falls a tad bit short in reality.  The truth is that the debt limit is going to have to go up, BUT we also need to get something for it and that is where Cut, Cap and Balance comes in.

So far, Republicans (the ones not in the Gang of Six) have held up well against the idea of tax increases and minimal cuts, but they also are still stuck in the mode of no cuts to defense.  This is simply not acceptable.  Recently, the Heritage Foundation released a Web Memo titled, “Cut, Cap and Balance Makes Sense – So Does Providing Adequate Support for Defense.”  By “adequate support” they mean a minimum of $720 billion a year.  WOW!!! If that’s what adequate is, damn! 

In the Web Memo, Heritage states:

"Thomas Jefferson once said that “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” Today, as has always been the case, the cause of liberty is under assault. Internationally, authoritarian states and the supporters of Islamist extremism in non-state groups seek to use violent coercion to extinguish liberty everywhere. Failing to prepare for these threats would not only weaken U.S. national security but undermine the international security of world commerce and trade if the U.S. is unable to defend the open seas and maintain a global military presence."

This suggests that it is the job of the United States to defend liberty everywhere, no matter the cost in dollars or lives of our troops.  This is exactly the problem with modern conservative movement, it has been hijacked by this “Heritage Conservatism.”  The very fact that they dare use a quote by Thomas Jefferson to justify spending 100s of billions a year on a massive empire defies all common sense and logic. 

To get back to the debt limit talks, it is vital that Republicans realize that spending “adequately” on defense is not quite adequate.  Republicans must put every kind of spending on the chopping block including defense spending.  Cut, Cap and Balance is a good plan and our best chance at a Balanced Budget Amendment and real spending cuts, but it needs to include defense cuts.