“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Friday, July 15, 2011

Constitutional Checks & Balances: Eric Cantor vs. Wonderboy

It's Thursday morning as I write this post. The media has been rife with stories of Wonderboy's temper tantrum last night over Eric Cantor's remarks, allegedly ending with his taunt,

'Don't call my bluff, Eric.'

Then the First Child reportedly slammed his chair into the table and stormed out of the meeting.

You know Cantor was on to something because this morning, Harry Reid is criticizing him.

But, seriously, you have to respect our Founding Fathers' design of the Constitution at moments like this. Why?

Well, we have a president, elected nearly three years ago, whose grandiose spending, borrowing and taxing schemes have come a cropper. They've failed. The economy continues to stagnate, employment hasn't rebounded, and, now, the federal debt has risen to its legal limit.

Meanwhile, a GOP House majority elected less than a year ago, on a tide of Tea Party anti-spending and -taxing fervor, are responding by passionately blocking Wonderboy's attempt to blithely continue his spending, while raising taxes, too, as his terms for signing a debt limit raise.

The specter of dozens of freshmen GOP Representatives intent on upholding their promise to constituents to cut spending while not raising taxes is a key part of James Madison's Constitutional check and balance system.

At present, however, we have a president given to tantrums and egotistical grandstanding. He demonizes those who disagree with him.

Perhaps the most ironic moment came yesterday, as Wonderboy was reported to proclaim that his presidency 'may go down' on the debt limit issue, but he wasn't going to give in to House demands for spending cuts without tax hikes.

It's the president's job to manage Treasury issues, which now include having sufficient money to fund obligations. Too bad Obama pushed Congress to spend so many trillions in the past 2 1/2 years, while his party held majorities in both houses of Congress, but neglected to take the opportunity to raise the debt limit.

This is how you know the First Rookie is, well, a rookie. A more seasoned executive would have realized, in advance, to attend to that important detail.

Now that his spending binge has hit the debt limit, Wonderboy is behaving like a three year-old, blasting everyone else and claiming to be the only adult in the room. The reality is that his own spending and borrowing, combined with his lack of managerial experience, led to this impasse.

Now a recently-elected House GOP majority is fairly representing their voters' wishes for less spending, less borrowing and no more taxes.

In opposition to those voters' wishes is an imperial president who believes he can do no wrong. And intends, as he threatened Cantor, to take to the airwaves- again and again, as he has done recently- to try to convince Americans that he is right and Cantor/Boehner are wrong.

Trouble is, as of Wednesday night, Dick Morris was explaining on Bill O'Reilly's Fox News program that polls show Americans see the president as the source of this standoff, not the GOP.

Should be an interesting July in Washington. But one thing to take solace with is that what you see is nothing more than Madison's intended design of checks on presidential imperialism specifically of the sort. Wonderboy is attempting to exercise.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mitch McConnell's Sensible Debt Limit Recommendation

I read yesterday's lead staff editorial in the Wall Street Journal describing GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell's idea for Congress to allow Wonderboy to unilaterally increase the debt limit in three steps through 2012.

According to the editorial, many conservatives think McConnell is bailing out on the GOP and Tea Partiers. But I found myself agreeing with the piece's position, i.e., the Republicans, controlling only the House, and not the Senate nor White House, were not ever guaranteed of being able to force the president to compromise on the debt limit issue.

Nobody will want to be responsible for a default, so even the GOP House will eventually have to vote for the increase. McConnell sensibly sees that Wonderboy has played the 'Grandma's going to lose her Social Security because the Republicans won't make the rich pay their fair share of taxes.' Whatever fair share means in that context.

But it's a good idea to simply cut to the chase, end the faux-negotiations, and offer the Democrats an option for Wonderboy to increase the limit on his own, with no GOP votes in support.

It's impossible for a party holding only one house of Congress to make the president of the other party knuckle under on something like this. And as the Journal's editorial noted, the longer the GOP waits to relent, the worse it will look, and perhaps even be.

The piece quoted former Texas Republican Senator Phil Gramm as having said, to paraphrase,

'Don't take any hostages you aren't prepared to shoot.'

Clearly, the GOP isn't truly prepared to have the US default on its debt interest payments.

But as soon as Wonderboy went to the fear card, rather than working with Geithner to figure out how to meet the most important obligations without a debt limit increase, the GOP gambit was basically over. It's not going to shoot that hostage.

It's enough, for now, that most intelligent observers have seen that the president was never serious about cutting spending. He only wants to tax and spend some more.

Point taken.

Now the Republicans can offer a means by which the First Rookie can cement his big spending image on his own, or with House and Senate Democrats, and let the GOP continue their refinement of their spending reduction and tax reform messages for 2012.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How Liberal News Anchors Slant Terms of the Debt Limit/Spending Debate

As I was writing this post yesterday morning, I happened to be listening to Dick Armey, former GOP House Majority Leader, guest-hosting on CNBC's morning program for an hour.

He and the co-anchors were discussing the very subject of my post- the debt limit talks.

Armey had just finished explaining why taxes should not be raised and spending should be cut when network co-anchor and liberal Becky Quick began to cut in with,

".....but if spending is cut then the economy will....."

Her remark's end was lost amidst Armey's continuing comments and her realization that her words weren't getting any attention.

But notice what Quick's baseline hypothesis is. The elevated levels of federal spending under Wonderboy, up to 24% of GDP, are now to be considered sacrosanct by such liberal apologists as CNBC's liberal anchors.

Any attempt to cut the bloated spending is criticized as what Quick was trying to say- causing economic contraction because spending is removed from the economy.

Of course, last I read, the Keynesian 'C+I+G' equation still obtained, meaning that if government spending is decreased, then that money can be used by consumers to either spend, or save, in which case it can be used for investment.

Just because government doesn't spend money doesn't mean it disappears. Granted, deficit spending is spending that may not occur otherwise. But, then, perhaps it shouldn't.

But it's noteworthy that Quick and her ilk no longer recognize freeing up government spending for other uses as legitimate or appropriate but, rather, risky. So much for investing for growth. Instead, these media Keynesians are for more government spending now and forever, but calling it investment. That way, cutting it will seem bad- either because demand is lessened, or, heaven forbid, government investment in key technologies and projects has been eliminated.

They no longer see any room for non-government economic activity.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Wonderboy's True Colors

If you happened to see Wonderboy's press conference yesterday, or clips of it, later, you probably saw/heard him say something which was perhaps an unconsciously naked, unvarnished expression of his true political desires. After complaining about having to handle the debt limit crisis, which he ignored until the 11th hour, he went on to say he would,

"....want to be talkin' about things everybody wants....like new programs!"

Thank you Mr. Obama, for revealing your raw, unspun view of the role of government.

To create new programs.

Further, Wonderboy doesn't get the message of Tea Partiers and the independents who joined them to shrink the Democrats' Senate majority and hand the House to the GOP last November, i.e., "everybody wants" these new, undefined programs.

This is why there hasn't been a simple compromise on spending and the debt limit as Pat Toomey described recently. In the First Rookie's mind, anything that derails the creation of new federal programs isn't to be seriously considered.

That's why this president will never oversee federal government behavior which reverses losses of personal liberty and freedom, not to mention shrinking federal spending and intrusion into the economy.

People often accidentally engage in candor beyond what they would normally allow when speaking extemporaneously, and Wonderboy, gifted orator that he is said to be, is apparently no different.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Debt Limit Talks- Again

Following on this recent post about the debt limit talks, I'm pleased to have awoken this morning to news that the so-called 'grand bargain' is off the table.

Fortunately, as a recent lead staff editorial in the Wall Street Journal hoped, Boehner wisely rejected the 'give something now for nothing later' tactic that Wonderboy was trying to lure him into accepting.

Democrats really don't seem to accept that people behave according to changes in taxes and regulations, as I wrote here in the prior linked post,

"What nonsense! That seems to be where Democrats show their innate stupidity. They treat tax rates arithmetically, never seeming to comprehend that you get less activity of what you tax. That consumers and producers respond to minimize taxes paid, which is why the long run average is 18% of GDP."

I'm beginning to believe that, with the end of the cold war and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Democratic party has stepped in to take the place of the USSR in trying to destroy the United States.

Certainly, the Dems have eagerly embraced the old Soviet Union's habit of assuming what they have is theirs, then negotiating to take what is the other party's. In this case, Wonderboy assumes taxes should rise to punish those who've succeeded financially, while offering phantom, future spending cuts.

Why, with decades of evidence demonstrating that tax revenues simply do not rise above 18% of GDP, would any sane, intelligent, informed federal official believe that raising tax rates and creating new taxes will do anything but drive more job- and investment-killing, tax-avoiding behavior?
Let's hope that we get, instead, small-ball along the lines of what John Taylor wrote recently in the Journal. Something like a $2-3T spending cut deal for raising the debt limit now by slightly less, then return to the topic after November, 2012.