Debt Plan Gimmicks Are Go!

So much for devastating debt-deal cutbacks: House Republicans are pointing to news reports noting that the debt deal proposal put forth by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid fails to meet his stated deficit reduction target of $2.7 trillion. According to the Congressional Budget Office, Reid’s plan undershoots its deficit goal by about $500 billion.

Nor is that the only way in which Reid’s plan falls short: $1 trillion of its scored deficit reduction comes from war-spending gimmickry: Typically, the Congressional Budget Office factors in war spending at constant level that grows with inflation—even in the midst of a troop drawdown. Reid’s plan takes advantage of this by essentially instructing the CBO to go ahead and price an already-planned troop reduction into the budget. So Reid’s plan gets credit for roughly a trillion bucks in savings that would happen anyway, regardless of whether or not his plan passed. The AP calls this a “glaring $1 trillion ploy.”

Reid, however, wasn’t the first Congress critter to rely on this all-too-obvious trick: House Republicans used the same scoring gimmick in the budget plan they voted for earlier this year. Of the roughly $6 trillion in deficit reduction they claimed Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s plan would produce, about a trillion bucks came from factoring in the troop drawdown.

And while House Majority Leader John Boehner is pointing to the lower-than-promised CBO numbers posted for the Reid plan, his plan is having scoring trouble of its own. As Mike Riggs noted this morning, Republican leaders promised that their plan would produce a trillion-plus in deficit reduction—but the number crunchers disagreed, giving Boehner credit for just $850 billion in actual deficit savings. Boehner’s staffers are reportedly ransacking the Capitol looking for savings (here’s a few ideas that don’t require budget trickery), but in the end, reports National Journal, they may simply opt to aim a little lower:

[Republican] leaders are considering finding additional deficit-reduction measures or lowering the amount by which Boehner’s proposal would increase the debt ceiling, currently at $900 billion, to a number lower than the $850 billion deficit cut projected by CBO. Lowering the debt-ceiling figure would maintain the GOP pledge to enact spending cuts in excess of the debt increase.

Even the officially scored savings in the Boehner plan are far from certain: The cuts trickle into effect slowly over the course of the decade, with a mere $5 billion coming in the next budget year. But delayed cuts planned by one Congress are hard to enforce on the next: Appropriators can just give themselves the authority to spend more money. And while Boehner’s plan supposedly enforces them with a trigger mechanism, deficit triggers aren’t a surefire mechanism either: In the 1980s, Congress passed Gramm Rudman Hollings, a deficit trigger mechanism that called for automatic across the board cuts if certain targets weren’t met. But Congress failed to meet the targets, the enforcement mechanism didn’t produce the intended results, and after a few years, they ditched the system entirely.

Both the Reid plan and the Boehner plan, meanwhile, call for the creation of Joint Congressional Commissions instructed to find further deficit savings. Boehner’s deficit committee is tasked with finding $1.8 trillion in cuts, which would be required in order to further increase the debt ceiling. Reid’s commission is charged with looking for ways to pare deficit spending down to about three percent of GDP, which many economists consider the maximum sustainable amount. 

Creating a commission to solve a problem that you don’t want to solve yourself is the oldest move in the Congressional Dodgeball playbook. As political point scoring, it works well enough: You create the commission, pat yourself on the back for having done something, and then wait for voters to forget about it.

But as practical policy, congressional commissions are usually about as useful as a stack of clever white papers: They may (or may not) have great ideas, but it doesn’t matter if legislators ignore them. And in both the Reid and the Boehner plans, each house of Congress has the option to give the commission’s recommendations a thumbs down. If legislators in the two parties can’t come up with sizable cuts they can agree on now, is it reasonable to believe that assigning a commission to do it for them will somehow pave the way? The only certainty is that it creates a politically useful delay. 

Digging into the structure of the two plans is like tearing opening a giant package only to find out it’s full of packing peanuts: They may look big on the outside, but there’s precious little of substance within. The debt limit showdown, if it ever had a point, was supposed to be about finding a way to address the reality of America’s unsustainable debt. Instead, it turned into a cheap game of political brinksmanship, with both parties trying to distract voters while they conjure up ways to avoid the problem.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Shorter Tony||

    Hey, Suderman, we got to raise the debt ceiling. We already spent it, now we got to borrow to pay for it!

  • Tony||

    Is that supposed to sound odd?

    How about we have a normal legislative debate over government priorities after we've averted a self-inflicted economic crisis? If your ideas will only pass because you're threatening to destroy the economy if they don't, maybe those ideas suck.

  • Restoras||

    Which self-inflicted economic crisis are you refering to - the one we have now and won't go away until we sort out our spending problem, of the one that's just around the corner if we don't get our spending problem fixed?

  • Mike M.||

    How about we have a normal legislative debate over government priorities after we've averted a self-inflicted economic crisis?

    No, because the scumbags like you in the Senate are refusing to even propose a budget, much less debate one. You've forced us to force your hand.

  • cynical||

    Maybe we're past giving a fuck? Yes, if we don't give you more booze, withdrawal might kill you. But if we do give you booze, you're going be dead soon anyway. May as well quit dragging it out, and save the booze for the funeral.

  • Dan||

    That should be "we already told people were were going to spend it", not "we already spent it".

    Of course, we also already told people we weren't going to borrow more than a certain amount of money. Apparently one of those two statements was a lie.

  • T||

    I'm betting on both being a lie.

  • ||

    No, we spent it. We aren't getting any refunds for the Iraq War, or Afghanistan either.

  • Richard Head||

    Isn't there already a commission report that they are ignoring?

    Why yes there is. Simpson-Bowles would be it...

  • ||

    But they promise not to ignore the next commission. Really, they mean it this time.

  • CE||

    Mere Senators and Representatives will not be permitted to ignore The SuperCongress! They will tremble in it's presence, and merely vote "up or down" (meaning "up") on it's wise proposals. Or else.

  • OO||

    looks like boner is weeping in envy over barack's manly manhood

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: OO,

    looks like boner is weeping in envy over barack's manly manhood


    Sounds like OO is in love!

    It is, sadly, an unrequited one, OO. Too bad.

  • WTF||

    And I thought OO gobbling Obama's knob was just a metaphor, or something.

  • JoJo Zeke||

    [...]the debt deal proposal put forth by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid fails to meet his stated deficit reduction target of $2.7 trillion. According to the Congressional Budget Office, Reid’s plan undershoots its deficit goal by about $500 billion.

    Harry Reid... a lying, statist fuck? GETOUTTATOWN -- !!!

  • la-la-la-can't-hear-you||

    There is really no such thing as a "Libertarian." Libertarian government is government by the Pinkertons. There won't be small government under Libertarians. Under Libertarians, there will just be "Big Government" in the service of strikebreakers, payday lenders, gated-community moguls, and casino conglomerates. Everybody has an agenda, even so-called "Libertarians," and an agenda requires power, and the state is the essence of power. The state will never die, never whither. Especially not under Libertarians.

  • OO||

    but but but...private toll roadz !

  • ||

  • ||

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: la-la-la-can't-hear-you,
    You forgot to take your Thorazine this morning.

  • Mike M.||

    This is either Shrike or Tony being an even bigger douchebag than normal, which is saying a lot.

    God, I wish this place had an authentication system like every other site.

  • Anon., possibly fake commenter||

    We don't need no stinkin' authentication system.

  • ||

    I'm not sure it would do much good. Identities would be stable, but people could still have multiple accounts and our problem is human trolls, not bots that captcha would stop. Sure, the constantly morphing anono and hydratrolls would have a harder time, but unless they started moderating and banning, it wouldn't have an effect on The Derider/la-la-la-can't-hear-you type griefers.

  • la-la-la-can't-hear-you||

    JoJo Zeke|7.27.11 @ 12:40PM|#

    Fuck off, troll.

    He got Steve Smith'd so hard, yesterday. Be gentle. ;)
    SugarFree|7.27.11 @ 12:46PM|#

    You me'd that up, dude.
    Chupacabra|7.27.11 @ 1:41PM|#

    In the future, just stick with "Fuck off, troll."

    It's much more effective.

  • ||

    Another punk.
    Another cop-out.
    Another notch in my belt.

  • la-la-la-can't-hear-you||

    JoJo Zeke|7.27.11 @ 12:40PM|#

    Fuck off, troll.

    He got Steve Smith'd so hard, yesterday. Be gentle. ;)
    SugarFree|7.27.11 @ 12:46PM|#

    You me'd that up, dude.
    Chupacabra|7.27.11 @ 1:41PM|#

    In the future, just stick with "Fuck off, troll."

    It's much more effective.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Under Libertarians, there will just be "Big Government" in the service of strikebreakers, payday lenders, gated-community moguls, and casino conglomerates.

    You mean I couldn't run an unlicensed gambling operation in my basement in Libertopia, even though I wouldn't force people to give me their money nor would I defraud them out of the money.

    This is the worst summer vacation EVER.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Under Libertarians, there will just be "Big Government" in the service of strikebreakers, payday lenders, gated-community moguls, and casino conglomerates.

    You mean I couldn't run an unlicensed gambling operation in my basement in Libertopia, even though I wouldn't force people to give me their money nor would I defraud them out of the money?

    This is the worst summer vacation EVER.

  • NoTalentAssclown||

    So... after all this "debate" and finger-pointing, no matter which plan actually makes it, nothing happens and the problem gets kicked down the road?

    GOVERNMENT IN ACTION!

  • CE||

    I think that's spelled "government inaction".

  • Restoras||

    Just craven politicians protecting thier hides for another election cycle, consequences be damned.

  • ola||

    "....It was debt that led to the long-running fiscal crisis of the French government. On the eve of the revolution, France was effectively bankrupt. Extravagant expenditures on luxuries by Louis XVI, whose rule began in 1774, were compounded by debts that were run up during the reign of his even-more-profligate predecessor, Louis XV (who reigned from 1715 to 1774). Heavy expenditures to conduct the losing Seven Years' War against Britain (1756–1763), and France's spiteful attempt to poke a finger in the eye of the British by backing the Americans in their War of Independence, ran the tab up even further......."

    Wow, it's fun to switch the kings and wars from the 18th century for the names of modern presidents and existing wars. I wonder who will play the part of Robespierre.

  • ||

    You know who else played the part of Robespierre?

  • Ted S.||

  • robc||

    More detail on American Revolution. France was going to pay for it via an invasion of England when suddenly England surrendered and France didnt get to invade.

  • TPTB||

    Iran had better not surrender!

  • cynical||

    We never make money on invasions anyway.

  • CoyoteBlue||

    DOOOOOOOOO!

  • Applederry||

    Anyone else think it looks like BO just shanked Boehner? No racist.

  • PETE||

    Cantor gave him two packs of smokes and three whoopie pies from the commisary

  • ||

  • ||

    Missed one, dipshit. Here, I'll do it for you.

    JoJo Zeke|7.27.11 @ 12:40PM|#

    Fuck off, troll.

    He got Steve Smith'd so hard, yesterday. Be gentle. ;)
    SugarFree|7.27.11 @ 12:46PM|#

    You me'd that up, dude.
    Chupacabra|7.27.11 @ 1:41PM|#

    In the future, just stick with "Fuck off, troll."

    It's much more effective.
  • PETE||

    So Reid's plan cuts 1.2 trillion (plus gummicks) and Boner's cuts $850 billion. And the GOP establishment supports ... the plan that cuts less.

    And the Tea Party supports ... default.

  • ||

    When's the last time there were actual republicans in the Republican leadership?

  • Mike M.||

    The mid-90s.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Much more recently then I thought, then.

  • ||

    The Republican plan doesn't count the savings from drawing down the wars. The Reid plan treats it like we're going to spend that trillion every year in perpetuity.

  • ||

    [TRIATHLON REPLYS TO THE NEW YORK TIMES]

    [TRIATHLON VS. KRUGMAN]

    KRUGMAN SAYS: OK, maybe not. But you really shouldn’t be commenting on current economic events unless you’ve studied the last time a major economy found itself up against the zero lower bound on interest rates. Those of us who had paid attention to Japan knew that large increases in the monetary base wouldn’t be inflationary and that large government borrowing wouldn’t drive up interest rates. Those who hadn’t got it completely wrong.

    TRIATHLON REPLYS: Surely you can not be as ignorant as you pretend to be in this mess of lies distortions and untruths [FALSEHOODS], of course you will do anything to serve the agenda of the American-Israeli Military Industrial complex [EMPIRE] but this is beyond the pale even for that, even the bough-and-paid for must have some kind of standards even those who broadcast the propaganda of the Media Messiah Imperial President of the [EMPIRE], such as yourself. Now, we are familiar with the Japanese predicament, as are you, but unlike you we shall reveal the truth to all who listen. Now, its true that Japanese interest rates did not rise but this is because Japan unlike the [EMPIRE] owes the debt to itself, not to foreign countries such as the [PDRC] People's Democratic Repbulic of China or [OPEC] the Organization of Petroleum Exporting countries, whats more is that there has been no inflation because taxes in Japan rose to crippling levels instead, its true there are [2] two choices when debts reach unsustainable levels, you can have Direct Taxation [HIGHER TAXES] or Secret Taxation [INFLATION], both are taxes of a kind, Japan chose the former, we will choose the latter, the [FED] Federal Reserve is out of Unicorns, no more [V] shaped recoveries smaller and smaller but only a cleaning, cleansing, and purging of the corrupt and faltering [EMPIRE] economy.

    Now, the solution is not as you say it is to borrow more and print more worthless [$$$USD$$$] nor is it to raise taxes to ever and ever higher crippling levels to mantain the Global Hegemony of the [EMPIRE], the [EMPIRE] must Cut, Cap, Balance, and end its unsustainable military commmitments from [FOOTHOLD] Germany to [FOOTHOLD] Okinawa and break the Nuclear Choke-Chain Pearl Necklace which enslaves the world, followed by a full audit of the [FED] Federal Reserve and the scrapping of the corrupted dollar [$$$USD$$$] and the issuing if a New United States Dollar, backed by a combination of Precious Metals [GOLD] and Strategic Energy Resources [PETROLEUM AND URANIUM], that is the future whether you or your Media Messiah Imperial Pay-Masters like it or not!

    HERCULE TRIATHLON SAVINIEN

  • A Serious Man||

    You just expanded my mind!

  • Zuo||

    Is this the REAL [TRIATHLON]? The handle seems amiss.

  • Restoras||

    Instead, it turned into a cheap game of political brinksmanship, with both parties trying to distract voters while they conjure up ways to avoid the problem.

    This is the essence of all the kabuki theater we've been subjected to.

  • ||

    So we're screwed? Color me shocked.

  • ||

  • ||

  • ||

    Guys, Barry is a moderate conservative who is bending over backwards to accommodate the crazed Republithugs. Really.

  • ||

    The level of nuts to write that for serious is amazingly high. I bet Kruggy has a tumor the size of a pecan in his brain.

  • la-la-la-can't-hear-you||

    JoJo Zeke|7.27.11 @ 12:40PM|#

    Fuck off, troll.

    He got Steve Smith'd so hard, yesterday. Be gentle. ;)
    SugarFree|7.27.11 @ 12:46PM|#

    You me'd that up, dude.
    Chupacabra|7.27.11 @ 1:41PM|#

    In the future, just stick with "Fuck off, troll."

    It's much more effective.

  • ||

    Another punk.
    Another cop-out.
    Another notch in my belt.

  • la-la-la-can't-hear-you||

    JoJo Zeke|7.27.11 @ 12:40PM|#

    Fuck off, troll.

    He got Steve Smith'd so hard, yesterday. Be gentle. ;)
    SugarFree|7.27.11 @ 12:46PM|#

    You me'd that up, dude.
    Chupacabra|7.27.11 @ 1:41PM|#

    In the future, just stick with "Fuck off, troll."

    It's much more effective.

  • Tony ||

    MY LORD AND MY GOD! (gets down on knees)

  • ||

    You have to ask, what would it take for these news organizations and pundits to actually break with the convention that both sides are equally at fault? This is the clearest, starkest situation one can imagine short of civil war. If this won’t do it, nothing will.

    The Republithugs are so much more at fault. But I don't play blame games, I merely state fact. Really.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Pauly Krugnuts,

    Guys, Barry is a moderate conservative who is bending over backwards to accommodate the crazed Republithugs. Really.


    "Mr. President, we just lost Paul Krugman."
    "No, not the Krug! Not him! But I was following what HE prescribed! What am I going to do now?"
    "You could keep shifting the blame for the lousy economy to everybody else... See if that helps with the 'independents'"

  • ||

    "I like to use my whole fist. I call it 'The Death Grip.'"

    "I like to lick my palm first. It's all slippery that way."

  • la-la-la-can't-hear-you||

    JoJo Zeke|7.27.11 @ 12:40PM|#

    Fuck off, troll.

    He got Steve Smith'd so hard, yesterday. Be gentle. ;)
    SugarFree|7.27.11 @ 12:46PM|#

    You me'd that up, dude.
    Chupacabra|7.27.11 @ 1:41PM|#

    In the future, just stick with "Fuck off, troll."

    It's much more effective.

  • ||

    Another punk.
    Another cop-out.
    Another notch in my belt.

  • la-la-la-can't-hear-you||

    JoJo Zeke|7.27.11 @ 12:40PM|#

    Fuck off, troll.

    He got Steve Smith'd so hard, yesterday. Be gentle. ;)
    SugarFree|7.27.11 @ 12:46PM|#

    You me'd that up, dude.
    Chupacabra|7.27.11 @ 1:41PM|#

    In the future, just stick with "Fuck off, troll."

    It's much more effective.

  • ||

    la-la-la-can't-hear-you|7.26.11 @ 1:12PM|#|show direct|ignore
    That's right. Just stay joking on the sidelines, punks. You do not want a taste of this.

    Yes, we are so afraid of your powers of debate...

  • la-la-la-can't-hear-you||

    Fuck off, troll.

    He got Steve Smith'd so hard, yesterday. Be gentle. ;)
    SugarFree|7.27.11 @ 12:46PM|#

    You me'd that up, dude.
    Chupacabra|7.27.11 @ 1:41PM|#

    In the future, just stick with "Fuck off, troll."

    It's much more effective.

  • Brett L||

    "Paper beats Rock. We use the Senate plan."

  • CE||

    The cuts trickle into effect slowly over the course of the decade, with a mere $5 billion coming in the next budget year.

    And I thought the Tea Party's $100 billion/2.6% budget cut proposal was wimpy. $5 billion is a 0.13% cut from the planned FY2012 budget of $3.729 trillion. Oh, the sacrifice!

  • ||

    No more RoadZ!! Old people eating cat food!

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Hell, NASA's going to save about that much just not having shuttle launches. I could probably save $50 billion and hardly anyone would notice if the media we're having kittens over it.

  • A Serious Man||

    Caption Number 1:

    "I'm going to take you to the bank Senator Reid....the blood bank.

  • ||

    Pete, I think this link goes to the wrong place!

    here’s a few ideas that don’t require budget trickery

    Don't get me wrong, I have everything against Chick Slash Fic but I'm not really sure how it pertains to the deficit discussion.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    A link--to a link. How enlightening.

  • ||

    How is including savings from already planned drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan a "ploy" or "gimmickry"? If I have a kid in college, and I'm paying his tuition, room & board, etc., and he's planning to graduate next May, is it a "ploy" for me to draft a household budget for 2012 that shows those expenses going away?

  • ola||

    Yes, it is a ploy, especially if you are claiming credit for it now to offset borrowing money to spend on internet porn, I mean necessary government expenses.

  • Platypus||

    by Grabthar's Hammer, what a savings.

  • Jim||

    +!

  • Strawman||

    Tony has to be the real Krugnuts. It's the only splanation.

  • ||

    http://www.harrisinteractive.c.....ReadCustom Default/Default.aspx

    Palin gets 46& against OBama in a head to head matchup right now. Ron Paul is in a dead heat. Obama is in a lot of trouble.

  • Imp of the Perverse||

    "The page cannot be found".

    Nice link, John.

  • ||

    Screw you it is the fucking Reason purchased by their dope smoking 15 year old IT guy, spam filter.

    http://www.harrisinteractive.c.....rrisPolls/

    tabid/447/mid/1508/articleId/840/ctl/ReadCustom Default/Default.aspx

  • Imp of the Perverse||

    BTW, Harris Interactive? They do online polls. Next, tell us what Zogby Interactive has to say! They had Obama in a dead heat in Louisiana in 2008!

  • ||

    shorter IMP

    Give me a poll that tells me what I want to hear or I won't believe it!!

  • Imp of the Perverse||

    Link to a Pajamas Media Online Poll too, John! I hear ROOOON PAAAUUUUL is the front-runner in those!

  • Imp of the Perverse||

    I know a scientific poll done by Q-Pac doesn't have the same historic credibility as an online poll, but here it is.

    http://tinyurl.com/3nsss7g

    BTW, your link still says "this page cannot be found".

  • ||

    cut and paste the two stings together. It is the only way the spam filter will take it. Or just google it for God's sake. And since when is Harris some Republican outfit. Obama is dying. He is dying among his base, he is dying among independents, he is dying in the battleground states. About the only place he is not dying is among lefty internet trolls.

  • ||

    It's an online poll. RCP doesn't bother to include online polls in their averages for a reason, and neither does Nate Silver. Don't bring that weak shit on here.

    BTW, how do you like that Ohio poll?

  • ||

    Obama is DYING in battleground states!

    DYING!

    http://tinyurl.com/3gsulzh

  • ||

    Yes he is.

    President Obama’s job approval rating in the latest national polls has been in the danger zone, ranging from 42 percent (Gallup) to 47 percent (ABC News/Washington Post), with every survey showing him with higher unfavorables than favorables. Needless to say, it’s not a good place for a president to be, especially since his numbers have worsened over the past two months.

    The race for president isn’t a national contest. It’s a state-by-state battle to cobble an electoral vote majority. So while the national polls are useful in gauging the president’s popularity, the more instructive numbers are those from the battlegrounds.

    From National Journal:
    Hill People: Staffers' Unlikely College Majors

    Four Ways the U.S. is Pulling Apart

    Brownstein: Why Obama is Still a Player in Debt-Ceiling Dealings

    Beneath Clash Over Debt, a Divided Public

    Senate Leaders Working Behind the Scenes

    Those polls are even more ominous for the president: In every reputable battleground state poll conducted over the past month, Obama’s support is weak. In most of them, he trails Republican front-runner Mitt Romney. For all the talk of a closely fought 2012 election, if Obama can’t turn around his fortunes in states such as Michigan and New Hampshire, next year’s presidential election could end up being a GOP landslide.

    Take Ohio, a perennial battleground in which Obama has campaigned more than in any other state (outside of the D.C. metropolitan region). Fifty percent of Ohio voters now disapprove of his job performance, compared with 46 percent who approve, according to a Quinnipiac poll conducted from July 12-18.

    Among Buckeye State independents, only 40 percent believe that Obama should be reelected, and 42 percent approve of his job performance. Against Romney, Obama leads 45 percent to 41 percent—well below the 50 percent comfort zone for an incumbent.

    (VIDEO: Jon Stewart Asks 'Did the President Just Quit?'; Colbert, Herman Cain Break Up)

    The news gets worse from there. In Michigan, a reliably Democratic state that Obama carried with 57 percent of the vote, an EPIC-MRA poll conducted July 9-11 finds him trailing Romney, 46 percent to 42 percent. Only 39 percent of respondents grade his job performance as “excellent” or good,” with 60 percent saying it is “fair” or “poor.” The state has an unemployment rate well above the national average, and the president’s approval has suffered as a result.

    In Iowa, where Republican presidential contenders are getting in their early licks against the president, his approval has taken a hit. In a Mason-Dixon poll conducted for a liberal-leaning group, Romney held a lead of 42 percent to 39 percent over the president, with 19 percent undecided. Even hyper-conservative Rep. Michele Bachmann ran competitively against Obama in the Hawkeye State, trailing 47 percent to 42 percent.

    The July Granite State Poll pegs the president’s approval at 46 percent among New Hampshire voters, with 49 percent disapproving. A separate robo-poll conducted this month by Democratic-aligned Public Policy Polling shows him trailing Romney in the state, 46 percent to 44 percent.

    http://nationaljournal.com/col.....s-20110726

    No President is getting re elected in this economy. Baring an economic miracle, Obama is a one termer. At this point I give it 50/50 the Dems don't Johnson him in the primaries.

  • ||

    You're not giving any actual polls against actual candidates like I did. "Generic candidate" and "deserves reelection" might mean something in a Parliamentary system but they're fucking worthless in American elections.

    He kicks the crap out of everyone in Ohio with the exception of Romney, where he still wins it in a squeaker.

  • ||

    He has no hope! Just look!

    http://tinyurl.com/44p8mlh

    TERRIBLE numbers!

  • ||

    You are citing useless polls. Look at the approval disapproval polls. Obama is destroying your party. And you are helping him do it by living in denial of how bad and unpopular he is.

  • ||

    You just cited a national election poll above (the online one), and now you're saying they're "useless"?

  • ||

    BTW John who do you support for the nomination?

    The nutty flake (Bachmann), the non-entity (Pawlenty), or the robot with no soul (Romeny)?

  • Apostate Jew||

    Then he'll be defeated in the election and won't be president anymore.

    Why do you care what the polls say now? He pretty obviously is not paying attention to them which means he's going down swinging. You may want him to change his approach because of the polls, but I don't think it's going to happen.

  • ||

    Why do I care about what polls say now? Because John was using a phony one to prove his point when real, actually scientific polls both in battleground states and nationwide say the opposite when Obama is matched against a named Republican.

  • Apostate Jew||

    That was meant for the other guy.

    [comment on threaded comments and server squirrels removed by order of Suderman]

  • Imp of the Perverse||

    shorter IMP

    Sadly, that's just not physically possible, barring any sudden, spontaneous concavities.

  • ||

    C'mon, guys. Its not just the military "savings" that are weapons-grade horseshit. Damn near every dollar they claim to save is cut from the same cloth: imaginary. Because it won't be this Congress doing the cutting, it will be some future Congress.

    Anyone who talks about "savings" that aren't part of the actual appropriations in an actual budget bill (which, of course, covers a single fiscal year), is lying to you. Period. Full stop.

  • Imp of the Perverse||

    Gee, then maybe this fight should be had during the actual budget appropriations? Nah, that'd be crazy. Better to hook it up to something completely unrelated.

  • JS||

    It's like this RC: Spending cuts cannot bind a future Congress. Spending increases are a sacred contract that cannot be broken and are binding on future Congresses. Simple.

  • ||

    None of these plans are serious because none of them actually cut spending. At best they just cut the growth of spending. In Washington that counts as sacrifice. The Boehner plan is the least unserious of the lot. And probably as good as we could hope for. In short, we are doomed.

  • Imp of the Perverse||

    Reid's plan saves more.

  • ||

    Only if you believe their trickery.

  • Imp of the Perverse||

    Well, by Boenher seems to (that's why he sent his bill back to be reworked), so by the his own standards Reid has a superior bill. Except for the fact that it raises the debt ceiling into 2013, that is, and that's just unacceptable because then the teabaggers don't get to hold the country hostage a second time in the spring.

  • ||

    But I thought the debt ceiling debate was so great for Democrats. Why you not want to have it again before the election to show the country what evil teabaggers the Republicans are?

    You people don't even try to make sense anymore.

  • Imp of the Perverse||

    It's good politically for the Democrats but horrible for the country. See how I can separate the two?

  • ||

    Because I read your posts and know the last thing you care about is the country. The debate is horrible for the Democrats and is killing Obama. That is the only reason you don't want to have it again.

    This is not the Daily KOS. You can't piss on our legs and tell us its raining.

  • ||

    Oh Christ on a Cracker have any of you actually read DailyKos recently? Nobody to the right of the Socialist Worker's Party bothers posting there ,its a train wreck.

  • JoJo Zeke||

    Nobody to the right of the Socialist Worker's Party bothers posting there

    ... and that's qualified as a bug rather than a feature for the typical "Team Tongue Bath" Obama devotee since precisely when, again...?

  • ||

    You think Kos is full of "Obama devotees"?

    Bwahahahahahahaha! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!! AHHAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAAHAHAHAHAH! Good one.

  • JoJo Zeke||

    Illiterate, much? My question, short and plainly stated, asks about Obama devotees and their predilection towards socialist dogma. Care to dodge again...?

  • ||

    Go over to Kos, register, and be sure to tell people there that he's a socialist. They'll get pissed at you, but not for the reason you think.

  • JoJo Zeke||

    Once again, my question never mentioned the Daily Kos; that's your rote, fetishistic reflex at play, not mine. Second inept dodge, duly noted. You're conceding the point, then...?

  • ||

    I haven't the slightest idea what you're babbling about.

  • JoJo Zeke||

    Ah. The "derp" defense. A time-honored classic. [::nods::] Very good. Carry on, then.

  • Art Vandelay||

    They just keep returning to the same old bag of rhetorical tricks, don't they?

  • Imp of the Perverse||

    I often respond to questions I'm later forced to confess, shamefaced, that I never even understood in the first place! LOOKIT! I'M EATING PASTE, NOW -- !!!

  • JoJo Zeke||

    Between this self-PWNED yip-yop, and Tony's rat-scuttling away from another thread rather than simply admitting he didn't know what the fuck "bipartisan" meant: it's been a funny, funny afternoon. ;)

  • Imp of the Perverse||

    If you have another objection to the Reid plan I'd really like to know. You get no tax cuts and some spending cuts, and Democrats can raise the ceiling into 2013. Gee, sounds almost like...a compromise!

  • robc||

    I have the same objection Sen Paul has. It never balances.

    He said this morning he is willing to compromise with Reid and the White House, he only requires one thing: a balanced budget amendment (and hopefully he meant a real one, not one with everything off budget).

  • Imp of the Perverse||

    Then put up a clean Balanced Budget Amendment, not a Trojan Horse that enshrines in the Constitution the same budgeting practices that worked oh-so-well in California.

  • robc||

    I did. But for some reason not being a Rep or Senator restricts my ability to do it.

  • ||

    The Dems are for a balanced budget ammendment. Just not 'that' one. Right?

    If the politicos don't get the debt ceiling raised, isn't that like a Balanced Budget Ammendment? Only for real and without a phase in. And the Dems think the tea partiers are afraid of this? I think it's closer to this is what they want.

  • ||

    If the politicos don't get the debt ceiling raised, isn't that like a Balanced Budget Ammendment?

    No, and in fact it will lead to a bigger deficit.

  • ||

    Poor feds... how can they be possibly be expected to run the country on a mere 22,000 dollars per second?

  • la-la-la-can't-hear-you||

    Fuck off, troll.

    He got Steve Smith'd so hard, yesterday. Be gentle. ;)
    SugarFree|7.27.11 @ 12:46PM|#

    You me'd that up, dude.
    Chupacabra|7.27.11 @ 1:41PM|#

    In the future, just stick with "Fuck off, troll."

    It's much more effective.

  • Au H20||

    Worst. Troll. Ever.

  • Tim||

    I'm begining to suspect insincerity.

  • ||

    Sounds like a scam to me.

  • robc||

    How come all the stories about the Boehnere/Reid plans and none about the Rand Paul plan?

    Heard him on local radio this morning, btw.

  • Imp of the Perverse||

    Because 90% of people in this country don't want to back to the Articles of Confederation.

  • robc||

    You are a moron.

  • Tim||

    He's from Utah?

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

  • Au H20||

    So, what year should I start seriously shorting U.S. debt? I'm thinking the late 20-teens. I mean, I think that once Medicare goes belly-up in 2024, that's definitely going to be big, but who knows.

  • Restoras||

    Well timing is the problem - maybe just keep rolling into out-of-the-money puts each quarter.

  • ||

    I think that would be way too late. You'd be shorting worthless paper by then.

  • robc||

    1920?

  • Rock Action ||

    I thought you asked when you should "start shooting U.S. debt?" I was going to reply, now, dude, now. They're about to release a whole batch of even purer shit in a few months, making your current stash worthless.

  • Tim||

    we still spend money in shit like this:

    Capable of traveling at speeds of up to Mach 20, the HTV-2, which looks similar to an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), could indeed reach any target on Earth in less than hour. But unlike one of the other leading candidates for the Prompt Global Strike mission— a conventionally armed intercontinental ballistic missile—the hypersonic missile would have a very different flight profile than an ICBM. Thus, it would be less likely to be mistaken for a nuclear attack, which is a main concern stated by those who have opposed such weaponry in Congress and beyond.


    Read more: DARPA's Hypersonic Missile Gets a Second Chance in August - Popular Mechanics

  • Tim||

  • Our Saving Grace||

    reach any target on Earth in less than hour

    Including DC.

  • ||

    Gee, then maybe this fight should be had during the actual budget appropriations?

    That would be great. Oh, wait, the Dem House and Senate couldn't be bothered to pass an actual budget for years now.

    Got any other ideas?

  • ||

    And they could have raised the debt ceiling back in December as much as they wanted to. But Harry Reid refused saying that he wanted the new Congress to own the debt. So much for "only Republicans play politics with the nation's finances" bullshit.

  • ||

    The budget fight is coming up in September. If the GOP wants to shut down the government because Democrats refuse to abolish Medicare, the most popular government program in history, and replace it with coupons, be my guest.

  • ||

    Hold it. Obama is the one saying we have to have a "grand bargain" on entitlements. But it is the Republicans who plan to abolish medicare? What Obama wants is to stick to the middle class with entitlement cuts so that in return he can stick it to them again with tax increases. Obama has been claiming since day one entitlement cuts had to be in any bargain besides a straight up ceiling increase.

    Again, you people don't even try to be consistent. You just pull as much shit out of your ass as possible in hopes of confusing the issue.

  • ||

    "Entitlement reform"!=abolishing Medicare and replacing it with coupons.

  • ||

    "Reform" means cutting the shit out of it and letting the government decide who lives and who dies.

  • ||

    No, it means abolishing it and giving them 10% off coupons for their bypass surgery.

  • ||

    As NOVAHOCKEY says below. Lets do nothing and let it end itself. We have to go to a different model. There isn't enough money in the world to fund the model we have.

    In the end I think that is why people like you are so angry and irrational. Pretty much your entire world view and political ideology is blowing up before your eyes. Face it, you have finally run out of other people's money. The big government 1950s model you love so much is in its death throws.

  • ||

    Go for. Scream at the GOP that they should make the Ryan Coupon Plan the centerpiece of the 2012 campaign. Be my guest!

  • The Parties' Line||

    "Doing nothing is not an option!"

  • GILMORE||

    No one needs to "abolish" medicare... its doing it on its own.

    http://www.europac.net/comment.....ling_myths

    The American economy currently produces nearly $15 trillion in GDP per annum but has $115 trillion in unfunded liabilities. With a hole like that, no amount of taxes could balance the budget. Raising revenue from the 14% of GDP, as it is today, to the 20% it was in 2000 would barely make a dent toward funding our Social Security and Medicare liabilities. Therefore, we need to cut entitlement spending dramatically. But the Democrats refuse to face the obvious facts.

    FWIW, Pento points out that republican proposals are equally insufficient.

    You (imp) have more than once referenced the "popularity" of Medicare... as though fiscal prudence was something of an American Idol contest. We could give a free cadillac and/or pony to every family in America, and I'm sure it would be 'popular', but that wouldn't make it solvent. Popularity has nothing to do with anything. You keep using this point as though it's *not* incredibly stupid and meaningless. Just a quick reminder = it's stupid and meaningless.

  • ||

    Ryan 2012!

  • GILMORE||

    The current crop of idiots in office have just about created the conditions for exactly that, mr trolltastic.

  • NoVAHockey||

    That's okay. Medicare can just abolish itself then. Instead of preparing for it, we can just ignore it and act shocked and point fingers when it implodes.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Vote libertarian?

  • ||

    "Don't Blame Me ...."

  • ||

    So, what year should I start seriously shorting U.S. debt? I'm thinking the late 20-teens.

    Oh, no. Far too late, by then. You want to be short Treasuries when rates start to go up. Since rates are already just about as low as they can be, mathematically, they will start heading up (and Treasuries will start heading down) much sooner.

    I would keep an eye on the ProShares short Treasury ETFs (TBT is one). Who knows? Now might be the time to play that market. But I would guess certainly within a year.

  • ||

    Treasury rates ain't going anywhere, bud. All I have to do is push a button on my computer and -- voila! -- the Treasury "auctions" more debt at near-zero rates! This can and will go on forever, so we can continue to pay the old folks their due propers.

  • GILMORE||

    TEAM BLUE LIES BAD!! TEAM RED LIES GOOD!!

    Creating a commission to solve a problem that you don’t want to solve yourself is the oldest move in the Congressional Dodgeball playboo

    We clearly need a new Department of Bureaucracy Reduction. As the old washington saying goes, you gotta spend money to save money

    What is it gonna take for people to stop electing these shitheads over and over again?

  • ||

    There is nothing dumber than a "commission". As I said above, none of these plans are serious. And we are probably doomed. Why not just default now and get it over with?

  • Rhet O'Rical||

    What is it gonna take for people to stop electing these shitheads over and over again?

    Pretty sure most of us (and the government) know the answer to that. The more important question is: What is it gonna take to cause that which will result in people stopping electing these shitheads over and over again?

  • robc||

    Off-topic, you offering bets this cycle on whether Dr Paul can win a single state primary?

    I will take you up on it this time around if the deal is reasonable.

  • ||

    Treasury rates ain't going anywhere, bud.

    That's the problem with the Treasury market - its heavily manipulated, and rates have been artificially suppressed by QE2. I have no doubt there is some kind of sub rosa mechanism in place (straw buyers, that kind of thing), to keep them suppressed.

    But market manipulation works until it doesn't, and doesn't work forever.

  • ||

    But the thing is, preserving the welfare state for as long as possible is all that matters. A world in which no one is depdndent on the government really isn't worth living in.

  • Susie Creamcheese||

    A world in which no one is [dependent] on the government really isn't worth living in.

    This statement, although apparently posted snarkily, is actually quite interesting. It is full of intriguing subtleties. Thanks, "Ben".

  • Tony||

    A world in which no one is dependent on the government really isn't worth living in.

    Marry me.

  • ||

    Seriously, if the GOP put up a clean balanced budget Amendment, something similar the 1990s one, then it would get signifigant Democratic support and would most likely get sent to the States. But not a phony one that puts in an arbitrary number for government spending pulled out of the ass of a Senator from Utah and requiring 2/3 majorities (like California, how'd that work out?) to budget in the future.

  • robc||

    You stealing from me now? That is what I said up above that you mocked.

    If I was writing the amendment, I would allow for one exception: a supramajority could spend "off budget" (the rest would still have to be balanced), for war spending if the case of a congressionally declared war against a foreign power.

    The last bit is to prevent congress declaring a "war on poverty" or some other domestic bullshit or a "war on terror", as terrorism isnt a power.

  • robc||

    Not sure exactly how to word it, but my ideal balanced budget amendment wouldnt allow for any projections of revenue. So, for example, in FY 2011 the 2012 budget is put together. So spending in that budget couldnt exceed the revenue from FY2010, as that would be the last year with known revenue.

    Yes, this does mean in times of declining revenue, spending would exceed revenue. But we would have a built in surplus during rising economies. Even a keynesian could appriciate that.

  • robc||

    CA's problem isnt the budget requirement, it is that they still spend too much somehow.

  • ||

    If the Dems are so krazy for a BBA, why don't they offer their own? I know the Dems can no longer figure out how to write an actual budget. Are they still able to offer legislation or do they need the Rs to do that for them too?

  • ||

    The debt deals are gimmicks compared to where the real action is-- for example, the Highway Bills.

    Forced by a new House rule, the House highway bill only spends money in the Trust Fund, slashing spending.

    The Senate highway bill, just presented, increases spending and spends all the Trust Fund money in two years of the six year bill-- then promises to come back in two years to look for extra funding.

  • ||

    Yeah, they're all fucking liars. That's one reason (of many) that I don't want them to be in charge of anything important. OTOH the statists argue that I'm crazy not to trust them! WTF?

  • Debt Plan Gimmick||

    These clowns keep talking about how Americans just want Washington to work together. OK, simply handcuff every congresscreature together until "the crisis is averted".

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement