Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Bad Budget Deal...

That's the title of this Wall Street Journal ($) piece, and here's its intro:
It's clear by now that the budget talks are drifting in a drearily familiar Washington direction: Tax and spending increases now, in return for the promise of spending cuts and tax and entitlement reform later. This is a bad deal for everyone except the politicians who want more money to spend.
Well, yes.  Drearily familiar it is.  Depressingly familiar.  They conclude:
Mr. Boehner is certainly in a tough spot, with tax rates set to rise on January 1 if Congress fails to act. His fellow Republicans haven't helped by whining about their lack of "leverage" and publicly negotiating with themselves over the terms of their tax surrender.

We think they have more leverage than they believe if they are willing to fight on taxes into next year. But if they're not, at least they shouldn't associate themselves with a deal that increases spending and taxes with little or nothing tangible in return.

Let Mr. Obama own the tax increase and its measly 7.5% annual reduction in a $1.1 trillion deficit. Let the sequester take effect as planned, which at least means some spending restraint. Then engage Mr. Obama next year in trench warfare over spending and the debt limit as voters figure out that soaking the rich doesn't begin to solve the problem. A bad budget deal is worse than no deal at all.
They're saying that going over the cliff is better than the deal Obama and Boehner seem to be homing in on.  In past posts, I've agreed with that sentiment.  Nothing has happened to change my views on that, though I can't say I'm all that enthusiastic about the prospect (as it will affect my financial situation rather directly!).  Not so reader and friend Larry E., who writes me:
Yes, I'm actually hoping for Congress to fail to act. I'm rooting for going ff the so called "fiscal cliff" No, I don't want to go off slowly, tentatively, I want to take a giant leap.

Every deal I've heard about involves kicking the can down the road once again. The latest seems to be raising the debt ceiling for two years, increasing taxes and... incredulously, increasing spending! Not even just increases in existing programs but 10s of billions for NEW spending. We haven't had a Federal budget in how long? And CA just fakes it every year.

Any delay, any "deal" will not only push the problem down the road once again, but clearly Congress and the President are hoping for a miracle, another dot com or housing boom, to bail them out as happened for Clinton and essentially bailed out California. If, by some miracle that does happen, what will be the result? They will once again be emboldened, speaking of how they "balanced" the budget when the reality is that the next collapse will just be worse as at each one, spending up even more dramatically and therefore debt and obligations even dramatically higher.

I've had it. I want to get it over with. I will vote for every proposition, every ridiculous bond measure, every new program and every bit of new spending to help hasten the day. A new high speed rail that serves no purpose and will cost 50 times the original estimate? You bet. Solar panels to cover the desert. Absolutely and toss in some wind generators too. No matter it wouldn't be enough to power a city fleet of Chevy Volts, no, do it anyway.

Yachts for every teacher, police officer and firefighter.... they are all heroes after all and no amount of money is enough to reward them. Lets just keep throwing at them. Hey, maybe it we increase education spending to... lets say... a million/year per student... we'll be able to raise expectations for graduation from eight grade reading to... ninth grade level. Lets shoot high. and hey, while we are at it.... lets go for a 50% graduation rate.... no... that just crazy talk.

No matter how important the job it is an unsustainable system that adds more and more long term obligations and doesn't add the capability to pay for it. Why, in a terrible economy with revenues down and unemployment up, would our politicians continue to add new programs, new long term obligations, new boondoggles? Because out and out bribery is legal. Or maybe, like me, they just want to get it over with?

I wish very much that there had been no stimulus bills. They amounted to nothing more than political slush funds and at best kept things limping along without solving any issues. Kicking that can down the road and rewarding a bunch of criminals and any "deal" will amount to the same.

Lets just do this thing.
Now that's what I'd call an enthusiastic endorsement of sequestration! And also an American who's basically given up on America – and who thinks that the shock of full-on progressivism might wake up our citizens. I wish I could be confident of that, as then I'd share Larry's enthusiasm for this course...

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