Home » Politics » We Give Up! Part 2: Republicans Cave On Budget, Debt Limit, Everything

We Give Up! Part 2: Republicans Cave On Budget, Debt Limit, Everything

by John Rubino on December 12, 2013 · 23 comments

A growing number of Americans seem to have concluded that elections offer no real choice, that whoever wins is going to spend and borrow more each year and extend Washington’s power here and abroad, so why bother voting? That point of view is being ratified by the budget deal now working its way through Congress.

Budget Deal to Ease Spending Cuts Gets Republican Backing

Congressional negotiators selling a budget accord won Republican endorsements for the plan to ease automatic U.S. spending cuts for two years, remove the risk of a government shutdown and cut the deficit by $23 billion.

The limited agreement seeks to end three years of political gridlock in Congress over spending and revenue that culminated in a 16-day government shutdown in October. Lawmakers’ approval ratings in opinion polls have tumbled amid the regular partisan standoffs over the budget.

The deal was faulted by some Republicans, including those backed by the small-government Tea Party movement, who say it trades concrete spending cuts that are part of sequestration for future promises. In the House, they are poised to resist Boehner’s attempt to win passage this week.

“There is a recurring theme in Washington budget negotiations,” Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, said today in a statement. “It’s: I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today. I think it’s a huge mistake to trade sequester cuts now, for the promise of cuts later.”

The bipartisan plan would set U.S. spending at about $1.01 trillion for this fiscal year, higher than the $967 billion required in a 2011 budget plan. The agreement sets spending for defense at $520.5 billion and for non-defense at $491.8 billion.
The agreement also cushions the military from a $19 billion cut scheduled next month as part of the across-the-board cuts that lawmakers from both sides warned would hollow out the military and cost U.S. jobs.

The agreement, though, falls short of the panel’s original goals. It doesn’t fully replace the automatic cuts and it will have a marginal effect on the U.S. debt because it doesn’t address the growing entitlement programs that are its long-term drivers. It produces a sliver of the $1 trillion to $4 trillion in savings previous budget negotiators sought to identify.

Some Thoughts
Note the return to business as usual, in the form of more spending now and promises to cut later (just to be clear, the $23 billion of deficit reduction mentioned in the first paragraph of the above article is over ten years, so even if it happens it’s a rounding error in a $4 trillion+ annual budget). The past few months’ experience with real cuts via the sequester was more than enough for politicians who have never before had to say “no” to constituents. Now, with great relief, they can go back to saying yes.

This week the Republican Party effectively ceased to exist — though one could argue that it actually died during the first Bush administration and has since been wandering the land as a political “Walking Dead” zombie. (For non-zombie aficionados, that’s the slow, shambling, pathetic kind rather than the fast, destructive “28 Days Later” kind.) Put another way, with this deal the Republicans have officially become Democrats, albeit dumber and uglier ones.

Which is not to say the Republicans won’t win some more elections. Even with all their incoherence and timidity, the fact that they’re running against Obamacare might keep them in office in 2014, though that would redefine “irrelevant outcome” for the modern political age.

The one notable change that might come from all this is increased odds of the libertarian/Tea Party sub-culture finally forming a separate party. It wouldn’t get more than 15% in national elections but would, at least, present voters with a visible choice.

Now, why does it matter who’s in charge if they’re all the same? Because until this week Republicans continued to talk about small government, even though they didn’t do much about it, which at least presented a rhetorical choice. Now they can’t even talk the talk. The Republican capitulation thus removes the last (admittedly minor) restraint on government spending and borrowing. The doves are in charge of the Fed and “extend and pretend” has captured Congress, so the debt ceiling will quietly jump by another couple trillion, QE will live on (though perhaps under a different name) and the debt monetization orgy will shift into even higher gear.

If you’re anywhere else in the world but here, and you’re comparing our flaccidity to China’s strategy of buying so much gold that Swiss refiners are struggling to fill the orders, emulating China is going to look even smarter than before.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

transumer December 12, 2013 at 2:25 am

Politicians know the right thing to do, they just don’t know how to get re-elected after they do it. It’s not left v. right. It’s us against the state. Forget ideology and start building a life raft. Soon.

Reply

MacFly1 December 12, 2013 at 9:36 pm

Yep! It ain’t about the red or blue, anymore, its about them getting the green.

Reply

ccitizen60 December 12, 2013 at 8:28 am

Nothing is going to be solved in DC. The only sensible action is to prepare for the inevitable consequences. Sell paper assets and buy tangibles.

Reply

Bruce C December 12, 2013 at 11:11 am

“Republicans have officially become Democrats, albeit dumber and uglier ones.”

Dumber I’ll give you, but uglier too? I’ll have to think about that. If so then we really are doomed.

Reply

Jim Pa December 12, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Yeah, Nancy Pelosi sure is a hottie.

Reply

pipefit9 December 12, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Do you really think even one single Tea Party type wants to usher in Greece style conditions? ‘Available’ is already the most common business name in America, if you go by the signs out front, and you want to double or triple available’s popularity and have that linked to your name?

That scenario is pretty much inevitable, but who is willing to take ownership of it. The Tea Party philosophers suggest that as soon as we cut the size of government the economy will start growing vigorously in short order. Nothing could further than the truth. Once interest rates normalize and people start living within their means, we will have decades of excess capacity in the retail, wholesale, office, and residential sectors. With higher interest rates, the absurd practice of building a new strip mall across the street from one that is 75% occupied will end.

Reply

Lumpy Grits December 12, 2013 at 2:28 pm

GOOD… we need to ACCELERATE the COLLAPSE (you know there’s
no avoiding it, so…) … EVERYBODY… SIGN UP for FOOD STAMPS, GOV’T Assistance… Get YOUR money back …!!!…
Don’t think (any longer) “I will never accept charity” … IT’S YOUR MONEY… Get it back any way you CAN …!!!…

Reply

Jim Pa December 12, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Hey, where’s my Obamaphone?

Reply

d mo December 13, 2013 at 11:52 pm

I have NEVER been on the dole, even “unemployment insurance” between jobs, AND I have come to the same conclusion. Let’s burn this f@#%er down!!!!!!!

Reply

Chris Howell December 21, 2013 at 8:19 am

You are correct Lumpy. I completely agree. We need to do what we can to accelerate the collapse so that we may start over. As a Texan and a man that wants to remain truly free, I think succession is the best option if you want to try to resolve this problem immediately but that will not happen so let us accelerate. Put your foot down and reclaim your money from the government before the Corporate Socialists do. Corporate Socialism/Fascism is perhaps the most accurate term for America’s current dilemma. If you think that Microsoft, Google, Goldman Sachs, Raytheon, etc. did not benefit from their partnership with the U.S. government, you are a complete fool. Government contracts or “public private partnerships” are both entities bread and butter in all aspects. Anti-Trust laws were meant to avoid this very thing but are now used to crush competition. The funny thing is the so called “Progressives” think it is O.K. to a certain point and that big government can be benevolent. LOL They are truly lost and have no grasp on reality or history. Read “Progress and Poverty” by Henry George and you will find the same 10 planks that are in the Communist Manifesto. Most self-titled Progressives do not even know what they are claiming to be when they call themselves Progressives. LOL We can call them fools either way.
Redeo ad fontes
Expat

Reply

Jim Pa December 12, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Well, since deficits don’t matter, and it’s all just a computer entry anyway, I say let the good times roll! We’re all Krugmanites now!

Reply

MacFly1 December 12, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Until we die of starvation due to hyper-inflation and then of course a deflationary depression lasting years.

Reply

Jim Pa December 13, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.

Reply

hellbentgerbils December 12, 2013 at 5:50 pm

3rd party please

Reply

MacFly1 December 12, 2013 at 9:36 pm

The two wings of the one party system won’t let that happen. Notice what happens in the debates.

Reply

Dan December 12, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Perhaps if we spent more time on jobs for Americans in America, not third world countries we’d have more taxes to collect to pay down the debt incurred by mostly Republican policies. Role back the Reagan tax breaks on those who have benefited the most the last thirty years to pay for the two wars and their unfunded tax breaks that never created any jobs.

Reply

jim_robert December 12, 2013 at 10:28 pm

… and I have NO DOUBT gold dropped on the news of more spending and free lunches. And the collusion continues. I will all end with a massive implosion one day soon….

Reply

Joe_Wazzzz December 13, 2013 at 1:51 am

The wall has been breached and the barbarians are pouring through. Remember those who fought so bravely. It is now truly everyman for himself.

Reply

tom thumb December 16, 2013 at 12:28 am

First you must burn it to the ground then the rebuilding begins, until then the beatings will continue.

History proves this Time and time again.

Reply

Anthony J. Alfidi December 17, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Once the Simpson-Bowles commission’s recommendations were out of the headlines, there was no impetus to return to fiscal sanity. The debt ceiling charade has taught Washington that it can play games with credit markets and suffer no penalty. The long-postponed crash will be worse than we can imagine.

Reply

commonsensesd December 19, 2013 at 10:34 am

I may be an optimists but I think that Paul Ryan and a few others think to win the war you have to pick your battles at least that is what I hope. As for Boehner ,he caved and added insult to injury with his stupid comments, his efforts to shame the TEA party folks was pathetic, if he felt threaten or intimidated by them his best move would have been to explain why he did what he did and say little more , but nope his thin skin reminds us of Obama the rest of the victim culture that gets so much air time now days.All he did was play to the entitlement MSNBC community .He needs to grow a couple and man up if he has any integrity.

We all could stand to learn from ‘DUCK DYNASTYS “and stick with our principal’s and beliefs and don’t cave to the twisted media trying to vilify any one who doesn’t fall in line with their screwed up way of thinking.

That way of thinking has led to a 17 trillion dollar deficit ,out of control spending and the lack to acknowledge that a 500 billion annual budget shortfall is a bad thing is a shining example of the control the liberal culture has been gifted from the media.

Everyone has a right to their own beliefs and ideas , and stating a difference in opinion is called freedom of speech. Its not hate speech to disagree with a minority , we all just need to let common sense guide us and not cave to the Media and the entitlement culture who want entitlements as a way of life.

Thats what Boehner makes it look like he is doing when he attacks Conservatives, he knows they are right, or at least that’s what he’s been saying the last 4 yrs but now attacks them and joins in with the great biased media campaign to shame the conservatives. This really doesn’t hurt conservatives as much as it hurt him. He needs to stand by his principals ,even when the media says its not the cool thing to do.

Politicians need to stand strong for values and commonsense economic decisions .They need to tell the loud ,parasitic, liberal idiots who refuse to admit the obvious to shut up ,get out of the way and let the majority bring this country back to the great nation it used to be.

Reply

Chris Howell December 21, 2013 at 8:22 am

II completely agree. We need to do what we can to accelerate the collapse so that we may start over. As a Texan and a man that wants to remain truly free, I think succession is the best option if you want to try to resolve this problem immediately but that will not happen so let us accelerate. Put your foot down and reclaim your money from the government before the Corporate Socialists do. Corporate Socialism/Fascism is perhaps the most accurate term for America’s current dilemma. If you think that Microsoft, Google, Goldman Sachs, Raytheon, etc. did not benefit from their partnership with the U.S. government, you are a complete fool. Government contracts or “public private partnerships” are both entities bread and butter in all aspects. Anti-Trust laws were meant to avoid this very thing but are now used to crush competition. The funny thing is the so called “Progressives” think it is O.K. to a certain point and that big government can be benevolent. LOL They are truly lost and have no grasp on reality or history. Read “Progress and Poverty” by Henry George and you will find the same 10 planks that are in the Communist Manifesto. Most self-titled Progressives do not even know what they are claiming to be when they call themselves Progressives. LOL We can call them fools either way.
Redeo ad fontes
Expat

Reply

Orwellwasright December 23, 2013 at 5:12 am

To those of you who say “burn it down so the rebuilding will begin,” what immediate rebuilding do you see happening once the dollar is gone? Once the riots begin and unrest spreads the military will come in and martial law will take over. All elections will be suspended and all political process terminated. Then what? How do you remove a government that has a bigger gun than you do and the means to execute?

Reply

Leave a Comment


[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com] [Most Recent USD from www.kitco.com] [Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]