So Senator Mitch McConnell has released a “solution” to the debt ceiling crisis. Jason has already jumped on this topic, but I feel the need to add my own two cents. For me, the crucial portion of this non-solution is that it gives additional power to the White House, and perpetuates a seeming tradition of Congress abdicating responsibility that we’ve seen over the past decade.
The entire deal punts the debt and spending over to the President. Essentially, he decides to raise the debt limit. While Congress can pass a “bill of disapproval” with a two-thirds majority, the President can simply veto, which would then require a 2/3 vote to override. The plan would also require the President to make spending cuts roughly equal to the increase in the debt limit (as I understand it.) Yet there is no enforcement mechanism that I can see to ensure he does so. What would Congress do if he raised the debt limit with no corresponding cut in spending? Stamp their feet? It might be all they can do.
Haven’t we seen enough power consolidated in the Oval Office yet?
I mean, the President can assassinate people with a drone without so much as a whoopsie-daisy; have anyone imprisoned on suspicion of terrorism and interrogated; can have a lovely jaunt off to war and only send Congress a politely-worded letter; formulate budgets and tax policy while merely requesting Congressional approval; through executive agencies and department make and enforce law without a vote; and now we’re going to give him the power to unilaterally raise the debt limit with requirements that are so wishy-washy they make Natty Light look good?
In his press conference, President Barack Obama said that we must close the deficit by tackling everything—naturally, with as many contradictions as possible—including entitlements, though we must still “keep faith with seniors and children with disabilities.”
It sounds grand and noble, but the problem is that if Obama decides to “keep faith” with seniors, he’s going to have to do that by vigorously screwing over the next generation. As Professor Lawrence J. Kotlikoff of Boston University points out in a recent Bloomberg column, we’re broke. (Yes, I know that’s his schtick. But he’s absolutely right.)
How big is the fiscal gap? By my own calculations using the CBO data, it now stands at $211 trillion — a huge sum equaling 14 times the country’s economic output. To arrive at that figure, I assumed that annual noninterest spending, as well as taxes, would grow indefinitely by 2 percent a year beyond 2075, the point at which the CBO’s estimates end.
Most of that comes from entitlement spending, which was where Cato policy analyst Michael Tanner came up with the $119.5 trillion in the hole figure just a few months ago. Obviously, it’s getting worse all the time.
We’re about to close the book on another year. 2010 was hard fought as we were unsuccessful in beating back ObamaCare. Thankfully, court challenges to the constitutionality of the health care reform law could pose a threat. In just the last month Judge Roger Vinson struck down the law on the basis that the federal government could not use the Commerce Clause to force individuals to purchase health insurance. It also looks like Judge Henry Hudson is prepared to do the same in Florida. And with another annual budget deficit well over $1 trillion, spending remains out of control thanks to single-party control in the Executive and Legislative branches of government.
But we did have some victories for liberty as the Second Amendment finally incorporated to the states in McDonald v. Chicago, outdated “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was repealed and WikiLeaks released another round of documents that helped shine light on what the federal govermment is doing in our names.
In a shocking turn of events, the federal government has voted to maintain the status quo. That is, of course, sarcasm as the feds have an amazing track record of kicking the can. The “irresponsible” Bush tax cuts have been extended based on a deal cut by the Obama administration with the Congressional Republicans. In addition, unemployment benefits have been extended yet again.
This debate has been somewhat of a false debate. The Bush tax cuts were passed in 2001 with a provision to expire at the end of 2010. Rates would then return to the levels which prevailed during the Clinton administration. The debate and rhetoric on this issue have allowed Washington to shine at its finest.
Of course Republicans don’t want to tax the job creators, because that will bring revenue down… Ah, your answer is that spending money drives the economy, and I don’t think that’s right. It’s the creation of jobs that drives the economy. The truth is, that the unemployed will spend as little of that money as they possibly can… Do we want… to continue to ignore the issue of jobs and increase taxes?
As you may have heard, Herman Cain is planning on forming an exploratory committee for a presidential run in 2012. I’m not surprised. Cain has always held ambition to hold elected office. He ran for the United States Senate here in Georgia in 2004; losing to now-Senator Johnny Isakson without a runoff.
Many don’t realize that this isn’t the first time Cain, who once served as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, has discussed a presidential bid. As Matt Lewis has noted, Cain ran for president in 2000.
Like many conservatives, Cain has used the tea party movement as a platform to build up his name and slam the policies of Barack Obama and Democrats. Unfortunately, the criticism of Obama and friends inside the tea party movement is no longer limited to economic policy.
However, Cain was largely silent during the six years of runaway spending under the Bush Administration and a Republican-controlled Congress. Like most Republicans, he only acknowledged his party’s failings after it was too late to do anything about it.
He backed the Wall Street bailout, or according to Cain, the “recovery plan,” as he called it on his radio show. Cain wrote that nationalizing banks “is not a bad thing.” He even went as far as criticizing opponents of the bailout, calling them “free market purists” and absurdly claiming that no valid criticism had been brought forward.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010 will be recorded in the history books as one of the most historic and tumultuous in the annals of American politics. Just two short years after a relative political neophyte named Barack Obama swept across the political landscape, winning the presidency, increasing Democrat majorities in the House and Senate, and driving out record numbers of youth and minorities to the polls with his steady mantra of “Hope and Change”, it seems some of the luster has faded.
Indeed, it is precisely because America saw little hope in their smooth-talking but results-deficient president that they turned on him and his party resoundingly. Even up to Election Day he was rallying the Democrat troops, and Speaker Pelosi was proclaiming that Democrats would retain control of the House, yet the rest of America had seen the writing on the wall for months. As it turned out, the American people had placed their hope in changing the balance of power.
With a smattering of races across the country still too close to call and undergoing recounts, here is what we know. The Republican Party has picked up at least 61 seats in the House, giving them their largest majority there since 1946, and five in the Senate, rendering Democrats impotent in any attempts to ram through any more controversial legislation. Republicans have picked up nearly a dozen governorships, including Michigan and Pennsylvania. The state legislatures in North Carolina and Alabama have turned Republican for the first time since the end of the War Between the States. This was part of the 11-state pick-up for Republicans of state legislatures.
This historic Republican wave ended the tenure of some of the longest serving Democrats, including Ike Skelton (elected in 1976), John Spratt (1983), Paul Kanjorski (1982), Rick Boucher (1982) and Russ Feingold (1992).
“Last night was devastating, no question.” - MoveOn.org
The dust is still settling on last night’s returns. We’re going to hear a lot of analysis over the mid-terms and what it means for both the new majority for House Republicans, Democrats that survived in both chambers and President Barack Obama.
As it currently stands, Republicans gained over 60 seats in the House and six in the Senate. They also picked up at least nine governerships and 19 state legislatures. The states where the GOP made significant gains make up a chunk of the electoral college.
Keith Olbermann and others can deny it all they want, it was a historic night. Newt Gingrich, who was behind the Republican Revolution in 1994, is calling last night “a more decisive repudiation” than what President Bill Clinton faced. The Republican Party will enter the 112th Congress with their largest majority since 1928, during the Hoover Administration, and the largest pick-up for either party since 1948.
Pollster Scott Rasmussen takes a look at the expected results of today’s elections and notes that they have a message for Republicans, but not the one they may think:
The reality is that voters in 2010 are doing the same thing they did in 2006 and 2008: They are voting against the party in power.
This is the continuation of a trend that began nearly 20 years ago. In 1992, Bill Clinton was elected president and his party had control of Congress. Before he left office, his party lost control. Then, in 2000, George W. Bush came to power, and his party controlled Congress. But like Mr. Clinton before him, Mr. Bush saw his party lose control.
That’s never happened before in back-to-back administrations. The Obama administration appears poised to make it three in a row. This reflects a fundamental rejection of both political parties.
More precisely, it is a rejection of a bipartisan political elite that’s lost touch with the people they are supposed to serve. Based on our polling, 51% now see Democrats as the party of big government and nearly as many see Republicans as the party of big business. That leaves no party left to represent the American people.
Voters today want hope and change every bit as much as in 2008. But most have come to recognize that if we have to rely on politicians for the change, there is no hope. At the same time, Americans instinctively understand that if we can unleash the collective wisdom and entrepreneurial spirit of the American people, there are no limits to what we can accomplish.
In this environment, it would be wise for all Republicans to remember that their team didn’t win, the other team lost. Heading into 2012, voters will remain ready to vote against the party in power unless they are given a reason not to do so.
If you’ve been following the race for United States Senate in West Virginia between Gov. Joe Manchin and John Raese, you’ve probably heard about the latest poll from Public Policy Polling that shows:
- Manchin: 50%
- Raese: 44%
- Undecided: 6%
The problem here is, once again, the details of the polling. Below is the party ID breakdown from the last four public polls for which the information is available.
- Public Policy Polling (Oct. 25): 55/35/11
- Rasmussen (Oct. 20): 48/35/17
- Public Policy Polling (Oct. 12): 55/33/12
- Rasmussen (Oct. 6): 45/38/17
- 2008 Exit Poll: 48/34/19
- 2006 Exit Poll: 51/32/16
- 2004 Exit Poll: 50/32/18
As you can see, there is reason to take this poll with a grain of salt, much like the last poll that Public Policy Polling produced in this race. To believe this, you would have to believe that the Democratic Party’s base is motivated within the state to levels in hasn’t been within the last three cycles.
Dick Morris needs to shut up.
University of Virginia Center for Politics Director, Larry Sabato, issued some insightful tweets on October 2nd that have gone largely ignored by many Right Wing Pundits, including Dick Morris.
1:15 PM Oct 2nd: Some GOP leaders need a refresher course in basic campaign strategy. Predicting R House pickups of +60, +80, +100 is just plain dumb.
1:17 PM Oct 2nd: (1) It isn’t going to happen;(2) It induces overconfidence;(3) If Rs win a narrow majority or just fall short, big gains look like a loss.
1:18 PM Oct 2nd: You’d think after all this time, people would’ve caught onto the polling game & wouldn’t take polls so seriously. And you’d be wrong.
Meanwhile, Dick is still out there claiming that the GOP will pick up 60+ seats in the house and regain control of the Senate as well.
Prediction: The Republicans will win the Senate, capturing seats in Indiana, Arkansas, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Washington state, Illinois and Nevada. And they could prevail in New York, Connecticut, Delaware and California to boot.
The GOP will capture the House by a goodly margin, winning upward of 60-plus seats now held by Democrats. And it could go a lot higher!
To be clear, any combination that includes either a new Speaker of the House and or a New Senate Majority leader will be a victory for the GOP. But predicting a sixty seat pick up in the house is not only silly, it sets up the Democrats with tools they need to marginalize their defeat.