House Speaker John Boehner is continuing to push a proposal to temporarily raise the debt ceiling and cut around $1 trillion in spending. But despite support from Majority Leader Eric Cantor (who lobbied his caucus hard) and Rep. Paul Ryan, Boehner is getting no help from conservatives in his caucus, grassroots and advocacy organizations or think tanks. Republican Senators have also panned the proposal.
Have you ever tried to visualize the national debt? It’s difficult put such an unfathomable number, what the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department treat as numbers in a computer program, into stacks or rows of $100 bills. But a new website, WTFnoway.com, has done it.
Here is what $15 trillion. just shy of the national debt, would look like:
And here is our unfunded liabilties (including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security) and other spending programs, which total $115 trillion:
Just like in 2008, the Club for Growth is putting together a series of white papers on candidates running for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. We’ve already covered their reports on the records of Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul. Next up is Gary Johnson, who served two terms as Governor of New Mexico (1995-2003).
The Club for Growth notes that during his eight years of service in New Mexico, Gary Johnson received at “B” on each of the Cato Institute’s biannual Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors (1996, 1998, 2000 and 2002). However, these scores don’t do him justice.
Johnson’s record on taxes is described by the Club as “excellent,” noting that he pushed back against all forms of tax hikes:
If you were looking for an agreement on the debt ceiling stalemate to happen on Monday, you were no doubt disappointed. House Republicans are, as they were over the weekend, pushing for a short-term extension in the debt ceiling with $1.2 trillion in spending cuts. Much like “Cut, Cap and Balance,” Boehner’s proposal doesn’t directly deal with entitlements. It merely creates a committee that would eventually produce a proposal for reform, which will be given an up or down vote. Committees on spending never really cutting much of anything, so skepticism there is justified.
The White House has rejected the short-term approach. Republicans say that President Barack Obama doesn’t want to deal with this fight again before the 2012 election.
Just like in 2008, the Club for Growth is putting together a series of white papers on candidates running for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. We’ve already covered their reports on the records of Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman. We missed the report on Michele Bachmann, but you can read that here.
Last week, the Club for Growth released the white paper on Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX),who fares well against President Barack Obama in a hypothetical matchup and is making Iowa and the Ames Straw poll priorities for his campaign.
The Club notes that Paul has received better than average ratings on their own scorecard, and they’ve gradually increased over the last five years. And while his record on spending is “impressive,” including votes against Medicare Part D, raising his own pay, TARP, the stimulus and other wasteful spending.
They also point out that Paul was once a stalwart in voting for amendments to strip wasteful earmarks out of spending bills; however, he has changed his tune recently:
Most of the weekend went by without word of anything resembling a deal on raising the debt ceiling. House Republicans kicked around a short-term hike, but Senate Democrats and the Obama Administration threw cold water on the idea.
The desire to come to an agreement has been expressed on both sides. Speaker John Boehner, who has earned kudos for his performance during these tense last few weeks, was very straight-forward with his caucus yesterday on the need for something that can pass both chambers, especially as markets begin to react to the stalemate. According to The Hill, Boehner wants an agreement today.
The Gang of Six spent most of Wednesday making the case for their deficit reducation plan to members of both parties and the media, but it seems that they’ve hit a snag as liberals in both chambers expressed opposition, not to mention that conservatives are less than thrilled over the revenue increases that the proposal would bring.
Others are expressing concern with the lack of details in the proposal. Chris Edwards, an economist with the Cato Institute, highlights this compared to the detail oriented plan separately put forward by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK):
The “Gang of Six” senators has released an outline of budget reforms that would supposedly reduce deficits by $3.7 trillion over 10 years. Revenues would rise by at least $1 trillion, while spending would be theoretically trimmed by various procedural mechanisms. The plan promises to “strengthen the safety net,” “maintain investments,” and “maintain the basic structure” of Medicare and Medicaid, which doesn’t sound very reform-minded to me.
The Gang of Six plan is a grander version of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s recent debt-limit proposal, which was aimed at putting off any spending cuts. The Gang outline has a few specific cuts, but the document mainly consists of promises to restrain spending and raise taxes in the future.
There was a breakthrough of sorts yesterday with the Gang of Six, a bipartisan group of Senators, that agreed to $3.7 trillion deficit reduction plan that they believe can break a filibuster in the chamber. The proposal was viewed favorably by President Barack Obama. Even Larry Kudlow, host of CNBC’s The Kudlow Report, had nice things to say about it.
Most of us following the budget debate know that President Barack Obama’s threat to hold Social Security payments hostage is empty. The Treasury Department will have the cash flow available to make these payments. Really what this fight over the budget has done more than anything else is expose the myth of the Social Security Trust Fund, but no one is paying attention to that.
The administration needs a scare tactic and they are taking full advantage of it. This weekend on CNN’s State of the Union, White House Budget Director Jacob Lew wouldn’t answer a direct question on prioritizing payments, including Social Security:
Hoping he can manage to get a favorable district during reapportionment, Alan Grayson, who was fired by the voters of Florida’s Eighth Congressional District last year, announced yesterday that he will make another go of it in 2012:
WFTV learned on Monday that former U.S. Congressman Alan Grayson is running for office again.
On Monday, Grayson said he doesn’t plan to do anything different. He said he’s running again because of all the people who have reached out and asked him to. Grayson already raised nearly $100,000 in donations before filing his paperwork on Monday.
“We need somebody who’s gonna stick up for what’s right. Somebody with guts,” Grayson said.
Grayson said his approach this time around depends on the circumstances, but for the sake of supporters who sent him donations before he announced he’s running again, he said he has no plans to hold back.
“We’re fighting for our survival. We’re fighting for our jobs, our homes. We’re fighting for Social Security and Medicare,” said Grayson.
Grayson may not be running for his old seat with redistricting under way right now, he may end up running for a newly created seat for Orlando. It’s still to early to know who he will be running against.