Debt Ceiling Deal Light on Cuts and Sets Stage for Future Taxes

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 1st, 2011

$2.4 Trillion Debt Ceiling Deal may spend $96.68 for each Dollar Cut

Everyone seems to hate the budget deal to raise the debt ceiling.  Conservatives are saying they’ve been screwed.  Liberals are saying they’ve been screwed.  Interesting.  So exactly what did they agree to in order to hike the debt ceiling $2.4 trillion?  Which, incidentally, is the largest increase in history (see Small spending cuts to have little economic impact by Christopher S. Rugaber, Associated Press, posted 8/1/2011 on Yahoo! News).

Discretionary spending, which excludes Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, would be cut by only $7 billion in 2012 and $3 billion in 2013, according a summary by Senate Democrats. That’s a tiny fraction of the nation’s $14 trillion economy…

The independent Congressional Budget Office offered its own analysis Monday. It said the agreement would reduce government spending by $25 billion next year. That’s compared to current law, which factors in a projected increase in spending.

The first phase of cuts would reduce spending by $917 billion over 10 years. A congressional committee would decide on a second phase of cuts totaling $1.5 trillion.

Whoever’s numbers you believe one thing is sure.  That’s not a lot of cuts.  The cuts are dwarfed by the amount of new spending the $2.4 trillion debt ceiling increase will give.  In fact, if you use the high $25 billion number, one could say these cuts are negligible.  For if they spend that $2.4 trillion next year, the cuts will only be 1.03% of the new spending.  Or an additional $96.68 spent for each dollar cut.  Now, granted, my math skills may be outdated, but I think if you spend more than you cut while you already have a $1.6 trillion deficit, I don’t think you’re going to reduce the deficit.  But that’s just me using arithmetic.

$7 Billion is a little shy of the $4 Trillion in cuts S&P said would prevent Credit Downgrade

And this is what was important.  Deficit reduction.  To stop spending money we don’t have.  So the debt doesn’t rise so high that it threatens the full faith and credit of the United States.  As S&P warned would happen if we don’t make some serious spending cuts (see FreedomWorks Opposes Budget Control Act of 2011 by Jacqueline Bodnar posted 8/1/2011 on FreedomWorks).

“The deal has few immediate cuts totaling one half of one percent of the budget, with most savings coming in the later part of the decade,” commented Matt Kibbe, President of FreedomWorks. “How can we be serious about reducing the debt limit when we are not even talking about cutting programs like AmeriCorps and agricultural subsidies? This is not the serious reform Tea Partiers demanded last November.”

Standard & Poor’s has stated that anything less than $4 trillion in cuts will lead to an inevitable downgrade from the United States’ current AAA credit rating. “The ‘Cut, Cap, Balance Act’ is the only option on the table that would preserve the nation’s AAA credit rating and secure our long-term economic future,” added Kibbe. “

So S&P will downgrade the full faith and credit of the United States despite this deal.  So it doesn’t appear that the Republicans got much for that additional $2.4 trillion of spending.  So it would appear that the Democrats screwed the Republicans.  But that sure isn’t how some see it.

Ruthlessly dictating Terms to the Opposition is Okay as long as Liberals are doing the Dictating

In fact, some are spitting mad (see The President Surrenders by Paul Krugman posted 7/31/2011 on The New York Times).

For the deal itself, given the available information, is a disaster, and not just for President Obama and his party. It will damage an already depressed economy; it will probably make America’s long-run deficit problem worse, not better; and most important, by demonstrating that raw extortion works and carries no political cost, it will take America a long way down the road to banana-republic status.

Come on, Paul, tell us how you really feel.

And then there are the reported terms of the deal, which amount to an abject surrender on the part of the president. First, there will be big spending cuts, with no increase in revenue. Then a panel will make recommendations for further deficit reduction — and if these recommendations aren’t accepted, there will be more spending cuts…

And even now, the Obama administration could have resorted to legal maneuvering to sidestep the debt ceiling, using any of several options. In ordinary circumstances, this might have been an extreme step. But faced with the reality of what is happening, namely raw extortion on the part of a party that, after all, only controls one house of Congress, it would have been totally justifiable…

In the long run, however, Democrats won’t be the only losers. What Republicans have just gotten away with calls our whole system of government into question. After all, how can American democracy work if whichever party is most prepared to be ruthless, to threaten the nation’s economic security, gets to dictate policy? And the answer is, maybe it can’t.

I don’t recall any such concern about the Democratic process that rammed Obamacare through the Congress along strictly party lines.  As bad as it is, the current deal was bipartisan.  Which is more than you can say about what Pelosi, Reid and Obama did with their health care bill.  Even the polls showed the people didn’t want it.  And many who voted for it paid the ultimate price at the next election. 

Apparently, ruthlessly dictating terms to the opposition is okay as long as liberals are doing the dictating.  In fact, liberals would be fine with doing away with the Democratic process if they held full power.  Let’s just hope they don’t resort to any legal maneuvering to make that happen.

The Sneaky Little Bastards are going to Escape those Spending Cuts and get their Tax Hikes

Liberals aren’t idiots.  They are very pragmatic.  And they’re liars and sneaks.  I think all this protesting is just smoke to make all the Tea Party Republicans think they’ve come out as winners in this deal.  Just take a closer look at the deal.  Negligible spending cuts up front.  A panel to determine future spending cuts (probably more heavily weighted on cuts that matter like out of control health care spending).  And a trigger for when that panel fails.  Which will make half of those future spending cuts come from defense.

And it gets better.  As this last round of negotiations has shown agreeing on spending cuts is next to impossible.  Even with the trigger those Medicare spending cuts are not likely to happen.  And with Obama just getting another $2.4 trillion to spend, that deficit isn’t going to get any smaller.  In fact, it’ll only get bigger.  Which means, of course, they will have no choice but to talk about revenue again (i.e., new taxes).  Say goodbye to the Bush tax cuts.  For they will let them expire next time.  Also, Obamacare kicks in after the 2012 election.  As do all those new taxes to pay for it.  More taxes upon more taxes.  Which is a lot of new taxes.

The sneaky little bastards are going to escape those spending cuts.  And get their tax hikes.  The Great Recession will linger on.  Or fall into full blown depression.  So it’s really clear who the winners and losers are in this debate.  The Ivy League liberal ruling elite are the winners.  And the American people are the losers.  As their country is transformed into a third world banana-republic.  Where the ruling elite at the top live very well.  And everyone else is poor and oppressed.  

Viva la Revolucion, El presidente.  Viva la Revolucion.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Debt Ceiling Debate – The Beginning of the End

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 31st, 2011

The Republicans will get Screwed

Politics is a murky business.  You hear a lot of sound bites from politicians.  And a lot of spin from the ‘objective’ media.  (I put ‘objective’ in quotes because it’s easier than writing that I’m winking.)  But you don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors.  What kind of deals they’re making. 

There’ve been a lot of news updates today on the negotiations to raise the debt ceiling.  From there was a deal to Nancy Pelosi saying the House Democrats may not support the Senate plan Harry Reid delivers.

So we don’t really know anything yet.  About the only thing we can know for certain is that the Republicans will get screwed.  As they always do in these types of deals.

Future Spending Cuts means no Spending Cuts

So what do we know?  Not a lot.  Word is that the Republicans are winning the tax hike fight.  There apparently will be no new taxes.  But they’re going to pay a steep price for that win (see Sen. Reid signs off on bipartisan debt-ceiling compromise by Alexander Bolton posted 7/31/2011 on The Hill).

It would cut about $1 trillion in spending up front and set up a select bicameral committee to put together a future deficit-reduction package worth $1.7 trillion to $1.8 trillion.

Failure of Congress to pass the future deficit-reduction package would automatically trigger cuts to defense spending and Medicare. An aide familiar with the deal said the Medicare cut would not affect beneficiaries. Instead, healthcare providers and insurance companies would see lower payments.

The last bipartisan agreement to cut spending happened over the negotiations to extend the Bush tax cuts last December.  And it was hell to agree on $100 billion in spending cuts.  And when the smoke cleared, that $100 billion was only about $30 billion.  So, yeah, I’m sure picking the $1 trillion in spending cuts will be easy-peasy with bipartisan love.  And no one will use the ‘taking hostages’ language like they did last December.

Future spending cuts?  Yeah, right.  You know what ‘future spending cuts’ mean in Washington?  No spending cuts.

And you couldn’t ask for worse triggers if you’re a Republican.  Gut defense spending?  It’s a dangerous world out there.  And most of the danger stays off our shores because the bad guys fear our military might.  Because our military protects and defends the United States against foreign enemies.  That’s in the Constitution.  One of the things the Commander in Chief is supposed to do.  But national health care isn’t.  And that’s where we’re heading with this trigger.

Provider reimbursements are already pushing providers out of Medicare.  This trigger will kill Medicare.  Which the proponents of Obamacare will love.  You can already hear the rhetoric.  “Oh, no.  Calamity.  Greedy providers dropping out of Medicare?  That’s just mean.  The government must step in and do something to provide for these seniors.  I mean, if no one else will provide for them then government should.”  And then Bob’s your uncle we have a national health service.

Health Care is easy when the Government runs It

And lest we forget the utopia of national health care, let’s take a look at a British newspaper (see NHS funding ‘moved away from poor areas’, says Labour posted 7/31/2011 on The Telegraph).

Changes to funding formulas means poor health rates will be given less consideration when cash is allocated, the party said.

It suggested areas like Manchester and the London borough of Tower Hamlets would lose out to parts of the wealthy south east, such as Surrey and Hampshire.

Labour based the claims on an assessment of funding reforms by public health bodies in Manchester.

But the government has disputed the allegations and claimed Labour’s figures were misleading.

Health care sure is a lot easier when government runs it.

This is the future that trigger gives us.  And if you thought the debate to raise the debt ceiling was bitter, you ain’t seen nothing yet.  The numbers will be bigger.  As will the stakes.  For they will be, after all, life and death. Who gets health care cash.  And who doesn’t.  And dies.

You know the Future is Bad when George Orwell’s 1984 is the Cheerful Option

When a deal is struck and the details come out, there’s a good chance the credit rating agencies aren’t going to be impressed.  Those future spending cuts are exactly the kind of thing they didn’t want to see.  So they will probably still downgrade U.S. sovereign debt.  Which will be a bitter pill to swallow.  After having to witness this farce.

So, without all the details available yet, here is my prediction.  Actually spending cuts will be less than $100 billion.  The credit rating agencies will downgrade the U.S. bond rating.  The trigger will activate the defense and Medicare cuts.  Defense spending will be gutted, leaving the United States the paper tiger it was at the end of the Vietnam War.  Medicare will collapse.  And Obamacare will morph into a full blown national health service.  Government spending will swell to beyond Greece levels.  There will be austerity riots.  Civil war.  Again.  And this experiment in self-government will come to an end.

Either that.  Or something more cheerful like George Orwell‘s 1984.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,