President Obama’s Bipartisan Commission’s Useless Report on Deficit Reduction

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 14th, 2010

Deficit Reduction:  Increase Taxes, Molest Our Women and Have Old People Hurry Up and Die

President Obama’s bipartisan commission has issued their report on deficit reduction.  A lot of unpleasant things in it.  But, then again, what do you expect from a commission/blue ribbon panel?  Politicians lie and kiss a lot of ass to get elected.  And they’re not going to throw that all away acting like they got a pair.  So they hide behind commissions and blue ribbon panels and say, hey, it isn’t me that wants to raise your taxes and cut your benefits.  It’s these guys.  These commission folks.  And they get a report that will meet with certain opposition and die in committee.  But they can say they tried.  And that’s how you do politics when you got no balls.

You know, Sara Palin probably could have done a better job.  She’s hunted bear.  She’s got balls.  Figuratively, of course.  That’s what you need to do the tough stuff.  Guts.  Pity Barack Obama is no Sarah Palin.

So what’s in this report that’s got everyone talking?  More taxes.  And spending cuts (see Fiscal Panel Chiefs Eye $1 Tril Tax Hike, $1.5 Tril Outlay Cut by Jed Graham, Investor’s Business Daily, posted 11/10/2010). 

  • Raise taxes by a cumulative $1 trillion through 2020.
  • Cut discretionary spending by nearly $1.5 trillion over the decade.
  • Raise Social Security’s retirement age to 69 and beyond.
  • Trim cost-of-living increases for current retirees and disabled beneficiaries.
  • Apply a 15-cent gas tax.
  • Cut $500 billion from Medicare and other federal health programs over 10 years.

Well, we know higher taxes don’t stimulate the economy.  So, to pay down the deficit we are going to prolong the recession.  Swell.  Well, at least old people won’t have to worry much.  They’ll be put out of their misery with the ‘hurry up and die’ provisions included.  Less money to live on.  And less health care so they will hurry up and die before reaching 69.  And, if they do, not only does the government not have to pay them their Social Security benefits, but they can keep all that money the newly deceased paid into the system (the deceased’s Social Security benefits don’t go to their heirs which explains why government is so opposed to private 401(k)s – those contributions can be bequeathed to surviving heirs).  And the cuts in discretionary spending?

They proposed cutting annual discretionary spending by $200 billion, half from defense and half from nondefense.

Ah, yes, the ubiquitous defense cuts.  Gotta have defense cuts.  But you know what?  I don’t think they’re going to sit well after this holiday season.  The fondling of our wives, mothers and daughters in our airports.  Strangers looking at semi-naked images of them.  It’s not right.  Is this the price of safety?  The molestation of our wives, mothers and daughters?  I think not.  There are other ways.  And I’m not talking about the apology tour.  And before all you peaceniks start blaming this on America’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, remember this.  We weren’t in those countries before 9/11/2001. It’s better to violate 3-4 enemy combatants a year (say by water-boarding) than having all our women and children molested whenever they fly.  And if it takes a great big fat defense budget to do this, so be it.  Let’s have someone else suffer the fear and humiliation for a change.

Republicans and Democrats Disagree.  Centrists See a Way to Lie to Independents.

So what are others saying?  Well, The New York Times notes there ain’t a chance in hell of it being enacted as-is (see the Op-Ed A Deficit of Respect by Tobin Harshaw posted 11/13/2010 on The New York Times).

“Among Democrats, liberals are in near revolt against the White House over the issue, even as substantive and political forces push Mr. Obama to attack chronic deficits in a serious way,” reports The Times’s Jackie Calmes. “At the same time, Republicans face intense pressure from their conservative base and the Tea Party movement to reject any deal that includes tax increases, leaving their leaders with little room to maneuver in any negotiation and at risk of being blamed by voters for not doing their part.”

And The Washington Post dittos that (see Analysis: Deficit panel pushes Dems, GOP by Andrew Taylor and Charles Babington, The Associated Press, posted 11/12/2010 on The Washington Post).

Their plan – mixing painful cuts to Social Security and Medicare with big tax increases – has no chance of enactment as written, certainly not as a whole.

But they also point out warring sides could reach compromise.

On the other hand, a 1982 Social Security commission chaired by Alan Greenspan came up with a plan for solvency that earned the blessing of President Ronald Reagan and House Speaker Thomas O’Neill, D-Mass. It passed Congress easily and generated almost three decades of program surpluses.

Then again, President Obama is no Ronald Reagan.  Reagan listened to the people.  He communicated with the people.  Unlike Obama.  Who’s detached and aloof.  He pushed his agenda against the will of the people.  For him, it’s all about him.  And there are some Democrats who like him as much as he likes himself.  They look at this report and see not what’s best for the country. But what’s best for Barack Obama (see Deficit Directive Tracks GOP Aims by John D. McKinnon and Laura Meckler posted 11/13/2010 on the Wall Street Journal).

Centrist Democrats are encouraging the president to embrace bipartisan ideas for deficit reduction, even if these are unpopular with the party’s liberal wing. They say that among other benefits, that would help Mr. Obama regain credibility with independent voters he will need to win re-election in 2012. Independents backed him in 2008 but shifted to the GOP this year.

A fight with liberals might even be politically helpful, said Jon Cowan, president of Third Way, a centrist Democratic think tank. “If you’re looking at re-election, your No. 1 imperative has got to be winning back the center of the electorate,” he said.

It’s nice to know where some people’s priorities are.

Gridlock Can Reduce the Deficit.  So Can Repealing Obamacare.

Of course, all this bipartisan rancor can be a good thing (see Deficit report favors ‘do-nothing Congress’ by David Sands posted 11/11/2010 on The Washington Times).

The report’s scariest deficit scenario relies on a Congressional Budget Office projection that under what it calls “current policy,” the U.S. government’s debt will soar from the current 60 percent of GDP to 100 percent of GDP by 2023 and to twice the country’s annual economic output by the year 2035.

Current policy?  What’s that?

But “current policy” as defined by CBO does — in the sometimes upside-down world of Washington — require action. It assumes that Congress will pass and President Obama will sign a continuation of at least some of the George W. Bush-era tax cuts set to expire; that lawmakers will once again vote to ease the bite of the alternative minimum tax (AMT); that Congress will block a scheduled increase in estate tax rates; and that the government will continue to pass so-called “doc fixes” to shield physicians from mandated cuts in the payments they get under Medicare.

And all that means what?

But if none of those actions are taken — what the CBO calls the “current law” baseline — the deficit numbers look considerably brighter.

In layman terms, we haven’t spent a lot of this money yet.  If Republicans and Democrats simply agree to disagree and give us gridlock, actual deficits won’t be as high as projected.  Yes, there will be pain for some.  But the hole we’ll dig for ourselves won’t be as deep.

And this is really the frustrating part of this whole debate.  These are projections.  They haven’t spent the money yet.  So don’t.  Just don’t spend the damn money.  Repealing Obamacare should be a no-brainer.  That trillion dollar abomination hasn’t given anyone anything yet.  So kill it.  Now.  Before it becomes another entitlement like Social Security.  Come on.  Do the right thing.  And legislate like you got a pair.

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