Is John Boehner Dumb Enough to Take $400 Billion in Cuts a Decade From Now in Exchange for $1.2 Trillion in Tax Hikes That Start ASAP?

Is Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) really so dumb - or unprincipled - that he will buy into a plan that raises $1.2 trillion in tax revenue starting next year in exchange for $400 billion in entitlement cuts between 2023 and 2033?

That's what Politico is reporting:

Taxes will go up just shy of $1.2 trillion — the middle ground of what President Barack Obama wants and what Republicans say they could stomach. Entitlement programs, mainly Medicare, will be cut by no less than $400 billion — and perhaps a lot more, to get Republicans to swallow those tax hikes. There will be at least $1.2 trillion in spending cuts and “war savings.” And any final deal will come not by a group effort but in a private deal between two men: Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). The two men had a 30-minute phone conversation Wednesday night  — but the private lines of communications remain very much open.

Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen write that Obama will show "zero flexibility on his insistence on a higher tax rate for top earners" and that Boehner and Republicans, worried that the GOP will shoulder blame for any economic slowdown associated with going over the fiscal cliff, will acquiesce if they can pretend they fought to keep taxes low and succeeded in getting "specific cuts to entitlement spending." Because Paul Ryan's Medicare reforms didn't start (barely) reducing outlays for a decade, VandeHei and Allen say that both Democratic and Republicans will ultimately push off spending cuts until sometime "between 10 and 20 years from now."

This sort of negotiation is appalling but has the ring of truth to it. Recall that Boehner is in no way a small-government enthusiast - indeed, he's voted for just about every big-ticket item you can name in the past dozen years, from No Child Left Behind to invading Iraq to Medicare Part D to Bush's 2008 stimulus to TARP. And recall, too, that mere weeks before the 2010 elections, when the Tea Party was at its height, he released a "Pledge to America" that promised to cut a measly $100 billion in spending (which, as Peter Suderman noted at the time, was actually more like $50 billion) out of a budget north of $3.5 trillion. On top of that, when asked by NBC News in January 2011 to name a single program "we could do without," Boehner replied, "I don’t think I have one off the top of my head."

Whether Boehner can sell such a deal to House Republicans is another matter (the Washington Examiner's Conn Carroll flatly says there is "no way" the GOP members will sign on to such a deal).

This is as good a time as any to remind people that we have such high and growing levels of debt is because Republicans and Democrats alike have jacked up spending like nobody's business. Look upon the chart of federal outlays per capita and despair. Going back to Jimmy Carter, there's a clear pattern: Republican presidents ratchet up spending and Democratic presidents consolidate the increases. This reality is at almost complete odds with political rhetoric, in which Republicans masquerade as spending hawks and Democrats talk about increasing outlays for the wretched of the nation. Perhaps the near-total disconnect between rhetoric and reality is the reason why we can't get anywhere - taxpayers are constantly being misdirected by the powers that be.

Here's another point worth underscoring: High levels of public spending and debt retard the economic growth that increases living standards. The case against endless public spending and the debt it inevitably creates isn't an abstract argument about paying your way or being moral or anything like that. There's a crushingly strong empirical case that public spending crowds out private investment and that "debt overhang" reduces growth.

As I noted earlier today, Barack Obama never misses an opportunity to say that he favors a "balanced approach" to getting the government's finances in order. He's on the record saying that he's willing to cut $2.50 in government spending for every $1 increase in tax revenue. And now John Boehner - the head of the opposition party, fer chrissakes! - is ready to jump on a deal that nets $1 dollar of spending cuts for $3 in revenue (never mind that the tax hikes start now and the spending cuts 10 years down the road).

No wonder we're screwed. No wonder at all.

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  • Randian||

    I mean, don't you feel like you answered your own question?

  • Restoras||

    Exactly.

  • Trespassers W||

    As long as the question starts "Is John Boehner Dumb Enough to...", the answer is the same.

  • flye||

    ...take 2 hours to watch 60 Minutes?

  • PapayaSF||

    And of course by "entitlement cuts" they mean "slight reductions in planned increases."

    I think that every time someone says we should go back to Clinton or Eisenhower tax rates, I'll agree, but only if we go back to Clinton or Eisenhower levels of federal per capita spending.

  • gaijin||

    hell, War Savings alone reflect just what you said...they're gonna not spend what they imagined they'd spend if they'd kept fighting a war they won't fight...Savings!

  • DarrenM||

    That's kind of what I figured. Any 'cuts in spending' will be from the wars winding down and would have been cut anyway.

  • fish||

    MAGIC 8-BALL.......It is decidedly so!

  • ||

    Is Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) really so dumb - or unprincipled

    Yes.

    The GOP has no interest in fixing anything. I cannot stress this enough. At this point, rocking the boat in the slightest is what a politician is the most averse to. Everything must continue on as it has. Their margins of victory are so slim (because they are essentially indistinguishable from one another), it makes them terrified to even contemplate doing something that causes any demographic of voters the slightest pain. This is the new normal: endless pushing off of "doing" anything. Get used to it.

  • tarran||

    Sir Humphrey: If you want to be really sure that the Minister doesn't accept it, you must say the decision is "courageous".
    Bernard: And that's worse than "controversial"?
    Sir Humphrey: Oh, yes! "Controversial" only means "this will lose you votes". "Courageous" means "this will lose you the election"!
  • bendover||

    "Yes, Prime Minister" should be required viewing by every citizen of the U.S.

    ...and especially by everyone who comments on this blog.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Performing skits from it monthly should be a requirement of office.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    You ever see house of cards? And subsequent sequels?

    Excellent, especially if you are wonk about british politics

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    House of Cards was great!

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    Do not worry Epi, reality bats last. And the economics of the situation will fix the issue, one way or the other.

  • ||

    People keep saying that, yet they keep pushing it off. I don't know how long they can do it, but I'm pretty sure it's way longer than you think. Way longer.

  • Brett L||

    Fuck it, I want my free bread and bigger circuses. I'm tired of being the wild-eyed dude in the plaza who has to edge away from the vigilantes lest I end up wrasslin' a lion in the arena.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    The USSR lasted approx 70 years, NHS in England is coming apart at the seams (again close to 70 years), so I imagine we can go on about that long as well before things really get interesting. The question is, where to mark the start of the 70 years?

  • tarran||

    1963 when LBJ started his guns and butter bribery policy.

    I'd like to say 1928 when that big government asshole Herbert Hoover finally got his grubby hands on the Presidency, but the system survived him and his disciple FDR and was recovering for a time.

    one could argue that it was Nixon's abandonment of the ersatz gold standard that kicked things off, but I figure that the sea change happened immediately after JFK's 99 Billion USD budget ("I won't be the first president to go above 100 billion", he famously opined.) which is the last time I've ever heard a politician try to rein in spending.

  • ||

    You'd think it would be 1938. So we're 4 years past the due date.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    "The question is, where to mark the start of the 70 years?"

    08/14/1935

  • Restoras||

    I guess it depends on what debt-GDP looked like. Our is already bad and getting worse, but how does it compare with other economices that have begun to or already imploded?

    So we have soemthing like $16T of national debt. Layer in the state debt, personal debt, mortgage debt, student loan debt, and that puts us at what, soemthing like $40-$50T? On an economy that's about $15T?

    I'm not sure how much longer it can go on but I suppose it can go on for as long as the US can borrow money. That won't be forever, and it could be for a long time. Or not.

  • Rasilio||

    This should help...

    http://grandfather-economic-re.....-table.htm

    As of 1/1/2012 it was just shy of $60T if you exclude unfunded liabilities. Include those and it jumps to somewhere well north of $180T

    For reference, the entire net worth of the US is only somewhere in the $60T range.

  • Restoras||

    So, sometime in the not-too-distant future we can expect a raid on our investments and savings to (temporarily) cover the bill.

  • DarrenM||

    No, that would be political suicide. They'll just keep printing money.

  • toddb||

    I'm going with 1980. The Federal debt to GDP percentage was dropping until then and has risen more or less dramatically since. That puts it at around 2050...just enough time for us to pull out all the stops following the crash and burn of SS and Medicare and truly transformed ourselves into Greece.

  • R C Dean||

    People keep saying that, yet they keep pushing it off.

    And the longer they push it off, the higher the bill is.

    What is truly delusional is the apparent belief that no bill will ever be presented.

    Take a look at the tools for pushing it off: deficit spending and quantitative easing. Each is showing lower marginal returns each time it is used. When they stop producing even a transitory bounce, that's when its game over.

    Nothing I have seen since the election makes me regret ordering those British Sovereigns (quarter-ounce gold coins, for you fiatards) earlier this month.

  • ||

    British Sovereigns

    Why British and not US Mint?

  • R C Dean||

    I could get my sweaty, monocle-stained hands on the British coins easier.

    Plus, I got some with Queen Victoria on them. How cool is that?

  • ||

    People keep saying that, yet they keep pushing it off. I don't know how long they can do it, but I'm pretty sure it's way longer than you think. Way longer.

    huh?

    Epi either you think our current spending/debt/deficits are sustainable or you think they are not.

    If you are saying that the problem will not come to a crisis until a very long time then there is no problem.

    Anyway i happen to think it is unsustainable and any down turn will make the house of cards collapse.

    When we will have the next down turn?

    Who knows, but long periods of growth (over 8 years) are rare...and nothing in the current economic picture looks like the kinds of long periods of growth we have had in the past.

  • WTF||

    Yes, of course, how can this even be up for question?

  • XM||

    There will be no cuts, because that's precisely what the voters in America want. No cuts, additional spending on safety nets and "infrastructure".

    We can scream "the GOP and DEMs are exactly the same" until our faces turn blue, but for all intents and purposes, the GOP was the libertarian party in the last election. They got trounced because people actually thought they were going to cut medicare and such.

    The GOP "evolved" on the immigration issue in a hurry after the election. Politicians chase votes, and the voters don't like cuts. Without demand, there is no supply.

  • Brett L||

    Uh. Please recall 2002-2008. Then tell me again how the GOP was the responsible party on spending.

  • BelowTheRim||

    but for all intents and purposes, the GOP was the libertarian party in the last election.

    for all intents and purposes you are a fool if you reall think that.

  • entropy||

    If the GOP was the Libertarian Party what was Gary Johnson, an Antidisestablishmentarian throwback?

  • Rasilio||

    "Is Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) really so dumb - or unprincipled "

    Yes, yes he is.

    Whatever clause follows is really redundant.

  • Trespassers W||

    I should have skimmed downthread first. Sorry about that. Great minds, etc.

  • Randian||

    Waitaminute hold on

    *puts on Tulpa Mask*

    It's Reeeeaaaason's fault that Boehner is caving because Reeeeaaason was mad about Boehner caving before

    *mask off*

    /drops mic BOOM

  • Paul.||

    None of this would be happening if Romney had been elected. We'd finally be getting real, baseline budget cuts. If only Reason, the most influential mag in the country, hadn't dissed Romney.

  • ||

    "This gravy train's leavin', so who's retarded now?" (drops mike, walks off stage)

  • Sevo||

    "Is John Boehner Dumb Enough to Take $400 Billion in Cuts a Decade From Now in Exchange for $1.2 Trillion in Tax Hikes That Start ASAP?"

    Is this a trick question?

  • Tim||

    Is John Boehner Dumb Enough to Take $400 Billion in Cuts a Decade From Now in Exchange for $1.2 Trillion in Tax Hikes That Start ASAP?

    yes.

  • Brett L||

    AAAHH! Stop using their bullshit 10 year projection math! Or else talk about the $10T in additional debt over the same period. Jesus, this makes me watching-Eli-Manning-fuck-my-winning-weekend mad. The important point is that no matter what scenario they agree on, we're still borrowing approximately 1/3rd of our spending and will continue to do so.

    (Sorry guys, I'm not blaming reason in particular, but I'm losing it over this one across the board. Don't speak their obfuscating language.)

  • Auric Demonocles||

    10 year projections make me watching-Chargers-let-Rice-ruin-Pats'-bye-chances mad.

  • Zeb||

    Yes, yes, yes. That shit is stupid. Especially when the people saying it almost never point out that this is a 10 year projection (which means that it may well never happen at all). Is this a new thing, or am I just noticing it now?

  • Brett L||

    It started during the last debt ceiling fight. Some evil genius staffer figured out that the Press is innumerate, and came up with this idea that they could talk in trillions in "deficit reduction" on a 10 year scale so it would be on the same scale as the annual deficit.

  • ||

    Arguing on a logarithmic scale. Utterly brilliant.

  • Brett L||

    Honestly, I want to find the dude, buy him a drink, then stomp his guts out his asshole.

    Its probably some deal like Milton Friedman's coming up with income tax withholding. You're doing your job and don't really consider the moral implications and realistic consequences until after the plague is out of Pandora's Box.

    But still, one good asswhipping. Then another drink.

  • ||

    Steroid User #1: My girl thinks he's really cute. And she says he was really good in "Thelma and Louise." So to be quite honest, I'd like to give him a savage beating. The kind of beating where the cops would say, "What kind of animal would do this to another human being?"

  • Randian||

    Alright, help me out, is the 1.2 trillion in taxes just in one year, or is it 120 billion per year for 10?

    'Cause I'll be damned if I can figure anyone getting 1.2T in a year more.

  • Brett L||

    $120B for 10.

  • R C Dean||

    $120BB/year.

    They also need the 10 year trick so they can backload their imaginary spending cuts.

    A cut that has to be approved by another Congress is an imaginary cut, after all.

  • DarrenM||

    Yes, yes, yes. That shit is stupid.

    They obviously think the vast majority of voting constituents are stupid. I suspect there's enough that are *not* stupid for them to lose a few elections, though.

  • Crimson Alliance||

    It's news like this that makes the Doomsday preppers look like geniuses. We amass more debt with no hope of real spending cuts while our citizens fight over phones on Black Friday. I'm going to start digging my bunker tomorrow.

  • Tim||

    Yeah, they're gonna be really disappointed when Obama flies away on Marine One, leaving them trapped in a starving, burning city.
    "Not my fault!"

  • ||

    Well, we're bohned.

  • sarcasmic||

    Is John Boehner Dumb Enough to Take $400 Billion in Cuts a Decade From Now in Exchange for $1.2 Trillion in Tax Hikes That Start ASAP?

    Does the word "duh" mean anything to you?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Boehner remains desperate to lift his skirt for any deal the president offers. He rightly knows House Republicans will definitely take all of the blame from the media when things go south, but he's also the type of big government asshole who would rather be conciliatory doing any dumb thing than be seen being obstructing government in action. Hopefully there's enough less-established GOP representatives to queer any deal he tries to make.

  • Tim||

    "I'm smaht! I want respect!"

  • ||

    $1,200,000,000,000 divided by 300,000,000 Americans is $4000 each. Subtract out all people who don't pay into the system at all and I expect my tax bill for next year to go up about $8000. What. The Fuck.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    See Brett's subthread. It's probably $800 a year over 10 years.

  • ||

    If this is the best we can get, we'd be better off with full TEAM BLUE control. Let them jack up taxes to their 100% top bracket wet dream, let them have their infinite deficits. If we're destined to become Argentina, all I ask is that we have TV as good as Argentina.

  • ||

    That has to be the greatest TV show in the history of the universe. Nothing can compare. HBO can go fuck itself.

  • ||

    BOOTY CAM

  • ||

    Notice how I didn't even bring up the steak they have down there.

  • ||

    Argentina on Two Steaks a Day. Probably my favorite essay ever written. I read it about twice a year and laugh to tears each time.

  • Brutus||

    I never thought it possible, but I actually got tired of eating the most delicious, tender steak in the world when I was in BA. I'd kill for it now.

    And Argie women are gorgeous, but they won't give you the time of day.

  • Voros McCracken||

    And soccer as good as Argentina too.

  • Randian||

    vros pls. Nobody liks socer.

  • Voros McCracken||

    Look if were going to become Argentina, we have to like soccer. It's part of the deal.

  • Randian||

    Then it's not worth it.

  • ||

    Do you not watch my tittybouncing links or something?

  • ||

    Dude, think of the chicks on that show as the cheerleaders for the soccer teams. IT'S WORTH IT.

  • Randian||

    No. There are some lines which must not be crossed. Some hills that were meant for blood.

    I refuse to fold.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    And you know, you just know in your heart of hearts that that alter kocker is banging every single one of those chicks.

  • ||

    What else is the purpose of being the host of that show? That dude makes Hugh Hefner look like Steve Urkel.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Bowlers in Argentina looks better than bowlers in America.

  • ||

    TV as good as Argentina.

    Why the fuck is the camera bouncing around so much?

    This is not good TV!!

  • DarrenM||

    If this is the best we can get, we'd be better off with full TEAM BLUE control.

    I'm at the point where I don't care about tax policy or regulations. Just stop borrowing money and pay down the debt! I don't care how it's done. If we are going to get screwed anyway, it may as well be by the Dems.

  • robc||

    Any chance Boehner doesnt get voted speaker when the new House convenes?

  • Brett L||

    He gets hit by a meteor between now and then. Dies of an infected tear duct. Other than that, no.

  • Drake||

    So Obama is asking the House Republicans to commit political suicide - and they are actually considering it?

    What conservative would ever re-elect somebody who voted for this? Why not legalize child-rape while they are at it?

  • Tulpa Doom||

    It's suicide either way.

    If they don't vote for it and the economy tanks (which it's going to do regardless) they're going to get blamed.

  • Drake||

    If they dig in and don't cave, the GOP at least maintains some credibility with their base. They still have the House - they won't keep it in 2 years by becoming Democrats.

  • Brutus||

    Wow, could it be they'll do something because it's the right thing to do?

  • Enough About Palin||

    Hey Reason, it's all going into the shitter, so why even write about it anymore.

  • ||

    As I've posted earlier the GOP could follow my plan to fuck the Democrats in the ass:

    Pass ONLY the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the middle class. Give the D's exactly what they have asked for, and NOTHING ELSE. Then walk away, and swallow the defense cuts along with the domestic spending cuts, and the rest of the "fiscal cliff". Come back and fight another day.

    They can claim that we didn't really go over the "fiscal cliff", since only the spending cuts happened. Voters won't be pissed off becuase they won't be hit directly in the pocket book, and any harm to the economy will be minimized, and can then be blamed on Obama.

  • ||

    Nope. Such a plan would only work if they said, right up front, we're voting for this because the people want it, but it won't work.

    And they can't say that.

    What they should do is split the vote. Have all their Top Men say no. And then get just enough low level turds to vote yes. Even though this will present itself as disunion in the GOP, it will still allow them to put forth a See, I Told You! moment.

  • ||

    "Work" in what sense?

    You take the fiscal cliff and subtract most of the tax hikes, how is that not an excellent deal from a libertarian perspective?

    Will it solve the entire deficit problem? No. We're going to have to revisit entitlements later.

    But we're not going to get anything but fake cuts to entitlements today anyway.

    So lets see: Real (if small) cuts to domestic spending and defense today, versus fake cuts to entitlements later.

    I dunno, what would someone who is actually serious about cutting government spending do?

  • ||

    Work in it's ability to win at King of the Mountain.

    We will not in our lifetimes (and I don't care how old you are) see a real solution out of Washington.

  • ||

    Why do you persist in the delusion that the GOP wants to do anything; that they even want to fuck the Democrats in the ass? THEY DON'T. There is one party in this country now, it is TEAM BE RULED, it is the Statist party. They have zero interest in actually pursuing any kind of strategy against the other TEAM; all the TEAM bullshit is to keep the sheep bleating against one another and not noticing they're being fucked. That's it, nothing more.

  • Tim||

    First Twinkies, now this. Game over man, GAME OVER!

  • ||

    Well why don't you put her in charge?!?

  • ||

    There's a difference between wanting to do something constructive and wanting to win at King of the Mountain. They may both be statists, but there can be only one King.

  • ||

    One does not become king by changing the paradigm of...how to become king. not in this system.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    That's how Arthur became king.

  • ||

    I thought we were an autonomous collective.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    That's what you get for refusing to participate in the political process. When no one votes, suddenly you have strange women lying in ponds distributing swords as the basis for a system of government.

  • R C Dean||

    She couldn't possibly do any worse than the American electorate.

  • ||

    What's I'm saying is that the GOP can win at King of the Mountain by actually following the most libertarian path. Cut taxes in exchange for cutting spending.

    Just throw up your hands and concede, OK, OK democrats, you want tax cuts, we got tax cuts! But we're keeping the spending cuts too! That's the deal!"

    What is not TEH AWESOME about that?

  • ||

    You don't win at King of the Mountain by reducing the size of the mountain you want to be king of. To think they would do that is insane.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    That's straight out of Dilbert.

  • ||

    Sure. My plan is predicated upon the R's actually being in some sense serious about cutting the size of government.

    All I'm saying is: "If you want to cut government spending while simultaneously fucking the Democrats in the ass, here is a simple plan for how to do it."

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    Sure. My plan is predicated upon the R's actually being in some sense serious about cutting the size of government.

    I think I see the problem.

  • ||

    Kicking a few pebbles off the top doesn't really count as a size reduction.

    Or maybe a better analogy is "shrinkage".

    Anyhow, back to Hazel, you said in your first post that there was no exchange, and to let TEAM BLUETARD win outright...for now. That's a political non starter. You can't concede and then say later "well, we really didn't mean to concede...we just needed to show all the little people how fucked they'd be under TEAM BLUETARD", because that shows intentional fucking without consent.

    There's a word for that...

  • Randian||

    War on Women! War on Women!

    Hazel is right, though...some higher level of gamesmanship is needed here. Also, the GOP needs some better media. I mean, damn, they offered to cap deductions, which is pretty revolutionary if you ask me, and brought more revenue to the table than the Ds, and yet they get all the blame while the Pres. plays golf and starts some asinine Twitter hashtag.

    Fuck, play the media game!

  • ||

    Hazel is right, though...some higher level of gamesmanship is needed here.

    In Aikido, there's the concept of using the enemy's energy against him.
    The D's are in the position of falling over themselves to demand tax cuts, with nary a word about the spending cuts. This is Ju-jitsu. Give the Democrats what they are literally asking for: tax cuts.

    Fact is the Democrats actually would PREFER to end ALL of the tax cuts, but they're boxed themselves in to advocated extending them for most people, because they think that the R's will never agree to any tax hikes and they can use that as a talking point.

    They think they are leaning against an immovable object and they'll never get what they rae asking for but don't actually want. So move the immovable object and give them what they are asking for but don't want. And then walk away while they fall flat on their faces.

  • R C Dean||

    You people keep talking about the Dems demanding tax cuts.

    All I hear them talking about is tax increases. What am I missing?

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    RC you fool. A tax increase is a tax cut. Don't you know your modern political lingo?

  • ||

    Concede on what? Concede that we should cut taxes for everyone except the top two brackets?

    How is that bad?

    We have th D's in the position of champtioning the lions share of the Bush tax cats. And yet we're living in a bizarro land where a miniscule tax increase on the top two brackets in exchange for ALL of the "fiscal cliff" spending cuts is a "concession"? What?

  • Randian||

    See, Hazel talks like a winner, which is exactly why the GOP will fail.

    They're not winners. They don't believe in anything and they're getting hammered by people who do.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    The fiscal cliff spending cuts are going to be balmed for the upcoming re-recession.

  • ||

    Maybe, maybe not.
    But the GOP can still say they averted the tax hike part of the fiscal cliff.

    And whose to say that if we only do the spending cuts we'll actually have a re-recession?

  • Tulpa Doom||

    I meant to commend you for being practical last time but was interrupted by an occutard student and had to switch tabs to the hamster dance site. So consider yourself commended.

    However, I think the rerecession is unavoidable.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    While cynicism is always appreciated, the Dems sure seem to want to fuck the GOP in the ass.

  • ||

    The GOP is fucking themselves in the ass by apparently being willing to trade real spending cuts now for a tiny part of the Bush tax cuts.

    I was in favor of going over the fiscal cliff. But going over the fiscal cliff with fewer tax hikes is even better.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    We go over the cliff and the economy tanks, the GOP's going to be lucky to have 30% in each house of Congress come 2015.

  • ||

    Exactly. TEAM BERULED will do whatever they can to string this economic fantasy out as long as possible. Because when the shit hits the fan, everybody loses.

  • ||

    Excapt we're NOT going over the cliff. The majority of the tax cuts WON'T HAPPEN. Fiscal cliff minus tax cuts = mostly spending cuts.

    So (a) not as much effect on the economy, and (b), no talking point. The fiscal cliff didn't happen.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    I'm not quite getting what you're suggesting here.

    Are you saying the GOP should refuse to deal with the Dems period? Then we go over the cliff.

    Are you saying they should force the Dems to cut spending in exchange for the tax cuts' expiration? Not gonna happen. The GOP has no leverage.

  • ||

    I'm saying that the House should pass a bill that extends the Bush tax cuts for everyone but the top two brackets. Exactly what Obama has been asking for and insisting he'll sign the minute it hits his desk. And nothing else. No deal. Just the tax cut extension.

    And then recess for Christmas.

  • ||

    To further explain...

    You pass just the middle class tax cut extension, and then the Senate has to decide what to do with it.

    If they do nothing ... then THEY are responsibel for going over the fiscal cliff, and THEY are responsible for blocking the tax cuts.

    Obama can't veto it. They HAVE to pass it. it's what they've been saying they want for weeks.

    So put the bill on their laps and let them decide to pass it or not.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    If they do nothing ... then THEY are responsibel for going over the fiscal cliff, and THEY are responsible for blocking the tax cuts.

    You mean in reality or the MSM spin world?

    THEY are responsible for everything that happened from 2009-10. But it didn't play that way during the campaign, did it?

  • ||

    Please. Look if you're too afriad to do a 5% spending cut to defense AND discretionary spending NOW, will you EVER be ready to seriously reduce the size of government Tulpa? When will be the precisely right moment to actually cut government spending?

    If you think it's too scary because the big bad liberal media will say that you caused a recession why don't you just throw in the towel right now, and admit that you're more interested in whther Team Red controlls the government than the actual policy outcomes that a Team Red victory is supposed to produce.

    Spending cuts now is far more important than any set of idiotic talking points for an election two years away.

  • Drake||

    Or just sit back and watch Republicans do it to themselves - deep and hard.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Right, Obama and Reid and Durbin and the MSM are totally sitting back right now. The fiscal cliff hasn't been discussed 1000 times a day on CNN. Right.

  • Randian||

    Stop whining and go fight.

    If you lose, you lose, but Jesus you at least have to try.

    You guys have more tears than John Boehner at the moment. You're quitters.

  • Drake||

    The Republicans are picking the wrong fight and signally that they don't have the balls to call Obama's bluff.

    This fight is irrelevant. When it comes times to raise the debt limit again, don't.

    Without debt, real spending gets cut by at least 40%. That sounds like a good place to start negotiations on tax reform and spending cuts.

  • Randian||

    This fight is irrelevant. When it comes times to raise the debt limit again, don't.

    Bingo. Keep your powder dry.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    When it comes times to raise the debt limit again, don't.

    remember how that went last time?

    It's over. Gimme gimme gimme is the ethos of America. 2012 was Custer's Last Stand and you guys treated it like a bunch of clowns providing entertainment for a picnic in the park.

    We'll see how risible you find it when they come for your scalp.

  • Randian||

    bwa ha ha. Mitt Romney was America's Last Great Hope.

    This is going down in the Tulpa Classics Book.

  • BelowTheRim||

    +1

  • Tulpa Doom||

    If you lose, you lose, but Jesus you at least have to try.

    That's rich coming from someone who couldn't even be bothered voting for someone with a viable chance to win.

    You meatheads are acting like you didn't lose the election.

  • Randian||

    That's rich coming from someone who couldn't even be bothered voting for someone with a viable chance to win.

    Mitt Romney wasn't viable either. I think the Electoral College bears that out.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Here's where Randian redefines words.

  • Randian||

    How?

  • Tulpa Doom||

    How?

    You're implying viability requires winning. Romney was close in several states he lost. The GOP lost the turnout battle, for the most part. But he was viable.

    Gary Johnson, on the other hand, had no chance even if every libertarian and their ferret voted for him.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    How?

    You're implying viability requires winning. Romney was close in several states he lost. The GOP lost the turnout battle, for the most part. But he was viable.

    Gary Johnson, on the other hand, had no chance even if every libertarian and their ferret voted for him.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Here's where Tulpa accuses others of mendacity while he himself moves the goalposts.

    Jesus Christ Tulpa you picked a statist loser and we didn't. Now please help us pay for the dumptruck we need to transport all of your vagina-sand.

    Never having to say you're sorry = Mea Tulpa

  • ||

    Mea Tulpa

    Ok, I have plenty of disagreements w/ Cyto, but that was fucking funny.

  • Jerryskids||

    I'm pretty sure Boehner did win re-election. And this is why the Rs re-won the House, so they could pretend to give a rats ass about fiscal responsibility? I don't get why some people care whether or not the GOP gets blamed for the shitstorm that's coming. Suppose the Ds get all the blame and the GOP wins it all in 2016, do you seriously think we will see smaller government then? When has the GOP ever given us smaller government?

  • Drake||

    1924?

  • R C Dean||

    Stop whining and go fight.

    I, for one, believe in picking my fights.

    Fighting on Dem terms (Dems propose tax hikes on teh rich, Repubs propose spending cuts on EVERYONE!) is a losing fight.

    Don't fight that fight. Fight another one. Try this:

    Dems propose tax hikes and spending cuts. Repubs fight them for fewer tax hikes, different spending cuts.

    Because face it; with the Dems controlling the Presidency, the Senate, and with the Dem Op media, there is no chance at all that real spending cuts, real entitlement reform, and real tax reform will happen on anything like Republican terms.

    So don't die on that hill. You can't take it anyway.

  • ||

    There is a chance it can happen.
    We can go over the fiscal cliff.

    Or better yet, we can go over the fiscal cliff without doing the majority of the tax hikes.

    The Democrats have been demanding that we not do the tax hikes on the middle class. So fine. let's not do them. But lets do the rest of it.

    It's already law. The D's can't change that. All they can do is decide if they want to do the tax hikes or not.

    And all the R's have to do to get that deal is pass a bill extending the tax cuts for the middle class.

  • Rasilio||

    That's cause it's the Greek thing to do, and since they are taking us to Greek levels of debt anyway they figured why not throw in the buggery as well.

  • Len Bias||

    "can then be blamed on Obama."

    Obama is never blamed for anything. Ever.

  • sarcasmic||

  • ||

    If it worked like this it wouldn't be so bad.

  • sarcasmic||

    nice

  • kinnath||

    You can fool all of the people some of the time. And you can fool some of the people all of the time. And that's sufficient for most purposes.

  • Tim||

    Barrack Obama : The name's Obama. PRESIDENT Obama. And I come before you good people tonight with an idea. Probably the greatest... Aw, it's not for you. It's more of a Shelbyville idea.

    John Boehner: Now wait just a minute! We're twice as smart as the people of Shelbyville! Just tell us your idea and we'll vote for it!

  • BakedPenguin||

    Moneyfail!

  • ||

    What about us braindead slobs?

  • ||

    You'll be given cushy jobs!

  • Tim||

    And a nice write up in the New York Times.

  • Almanian.||

    NO, FUCK YOU, CUT SPENDING!!

    I feel like I need to capitalize that so Boehner can hear that while his head is up his ass. What a tool.

  • Pro Libertate||

    If only we had the blink tag. Then maybe this message would get through to him.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Once again, Gillespie wants to have his cake and eat it too. He refused to vote for the GOP, and ripped them to shreds in print all summer, but now he wants the GOP to fight his battle against Obama.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    TLDR for Tulpa: No one can complain about someone they didn't vote for (except for conservatives and Obama).

  • Tulpa Doom||

    You can complain all you want about someone you didn't vote for, just don't whine about how one person/group you didn't vote for is failing to fight the other person you didn't vote for.

    Johnson voters said there was no difference between the two parties all summer. It's damned poor form for them to whine about how the parties aren't fighting each other now.

  • Randian||

    It's damned poor form for the parties to be proving us exactly correct, eh?

    Tell me, why is it I am supposed to vote Republican again? Why?

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Chicken and the egg. If Romney had won, this wouldn't be an issue and the GOP would have much more leverage.

  • ||

    and the GOP would have much more leverage.

    More leverage for what exactly?

    Medicare part E and a war with Iran and China?

    Brilliant.

  • Cytotoxic||

    THIS IS WHAT TULPA ACTUALLY BELIEVES

  • R C Dean||

    If Romney had won, this wouldn't be an issue

    Uhh, yes it would. He wouldn't take office until next year. Exactly the same people would have to deal with the cliff.

    The dynamics would be different, but its hard to say how, given that a peevish, petulant lame duck Obama would be . . . unpredictable.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    So you'll never complain that Obama is failing to fight the Socialist Party, right?

    Or are you going to, you know, call Obama out for implementing shitty policies?

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Obama is the Socialist Party.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    ...

  • Adam330||

    Right, because if Gillespie voted for the Reps, Boehner would definitely be acting completely different now.

  • Randian||

    What did he rip them to shreds over, Tulpa.

    OH THAT'S RIGHT IT WAS SPENDING WASN'T IT

  • SugarFree||

    Tulpa descended into parody so long ago, people have forgotten that he actually is this mendacious.

  • Randian||

    He's making it a point to refuse to respond.

    Tulpa: "Golly gee I don't understand what Reason's so mad about. They were pissed about spending and now they're pissed about spending! SUCH HYPOCRITES"

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Geez Randian, what's your super duper plan for what the GOP should be doing instead? Complete with a plan for how the party is still going to exist in 2015.

    As usual, I'm seeing a lot of critique around here with not a lot of non-fantasy alternative plans.

  • Randian||

    Please acknowledge first that your asinine "Gillespie didn't vote fer 'em" talking point is complete and utter nonsense.

    non-fantasy

    This, of course, is a Tulpa loophole so that if I did put forward a plan, he would simply dismiss it as 'fantasy', no matter how good it is.

  • ||

    You're the idiot who talks to him. You get what you deserve.

  • Randian||

    I talk to you and all I get is chlamydia, so you tell me who's the idiot?

    Oh wait...

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Also, apparently we have to care if they lose the election for doing the right thing.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    This, of course, is a Tulpa loophole so that if I did put forward a plan, he would simply dismiss it as 'fantasy', no matter how good it is.

    So you have a plan, but you won't tell us what it is because you're afraid I might criticize it? How pusillanimous.

    It's no secret you have way more backers on this blog than I do, so you should have no problem winning the argument if your plan is actually practical.

  • Randian||

    I'll back Hazel's plan, then. Give away the wealthy tax rates, give up nothing on deductions, and keep the spending cuts.

    Taxes stay down, government gets smaller, everyone gets to keep his/her most popular deduction, etc.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    GOP still gets blamed when the economy tanks. Which it will either way.

  • Randian||

    If it will either way then what the fuck are you whining about? Make the best of a bad situation and start talking like a winner. Jesus.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Tulpa can't actually come up with a point. He's just buttmad about Reason's non-support of Mitt 'last stand' Romney and he's too unself-aware to realize it.

    He's just a ghost in the shell now. A mindless automaton that forget its own how and why. A warning against utilitarianism.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Make the best of a bad situation and start talking like a winner.

    You don't want the GOP to talk like a winner. Talking like a winner means promising free shit to the middle class and soaking the rich.

    You may have noticed that Gary Johnson and the LP didn't win either.

  • tarran||

    This, of course, is a Tulpa loophole so that if I did put forward a plan, he would simply dismiss it as 'fantasy', no matter how good it is

    That brings back fond memories of one of my earliest debates with the man. It was on the subject of immigration, and he thought he would use Socratic questioning to catch me in a contradiction.

    So we go round and round, I'm answering his questions in good faith, and he's getting weirder and weirder, and finally I tell him that I want the same rules for people crossing into VT from NH as they have crossing into VT from Quebec.

    Having utterly failed at his goal, what does he do? "oh well that's non serious, some of us want to have a grown-up conversation".

    It was at that moment I started to realize that I was communicating with an utter prat, a glib pseudo-intellectual of the Tom Friedman variety.

    He probably thinks he's a great thinker because so many people are irritated by him. In reality people are irritated by him because he is a total prat, a an irritating fool that is smugly confident of his wittiness and charm.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    I vaguely recall the conversation tarran is talking about. IIRC the open borders people were making the argument that tarran mentions, and I asked them whether they favored background checks at state line crossings or opposed background checks at international borders, since the position tarran mentions requires one or the other.

    It was only when some people jumped in and said they opposed background checks at international borders that I said they were outside the mainstream. Not sure if I said "unserious", maybe I did.

  • ||

    It's almost...what is the word...globe? Glob? No, that's not it.

  • ||

    Wait, are you saying that Tulpa projects his own glibness onto everyone else?

    IMPOSSIBLE

  • SugarFree||

    He's not glib. He's deadly serious about whining to a bunch of people who could have made no difference whatsoever in the election of the shitty candidate his shitty party put forth.

    It's our fault, you see. If only we had clapped faster, Peter Pan would have been able to fly and Romney would be a real boy today instead of sitting down for a circle jerk with Obama.

  • ||

    You're probably right. Not glib, just unfathomably childish.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Someday I'll grow up and start insulting people instead of making arguments.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Or you'll do it today and just not realize it.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    I never start with the insults. But you mess with the bull you get the horns.

  • ||

    Dude in the same thread you said:

    Geez Randian, what's your super duper plan for what the GOP should be doing instead? Complete with a plan for how the party is still going to exist in 2015.

    then you said:

    GOP still gets blamed when the economy tanks. Which it will either way.

    What the fuck?!?!

    You don't have arguments you just pile shit upon shit then complain when people call you on it.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    You forgot to quote Randian telling the GOP to buck up and go take that hill while he sits in the bunker sipping lemonade.

    I meant we're going into rerecession either way. The way for the GOP to evade blame is to sign on for leftist welfare statism. Which they will probably do, and then you'll complain about that too.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Cannot. Stop. Laughing.

    If only we were all warriors like Tulpa, out there fighting the good fight with the GOP. Then we'd be up to his moral standards. WTF did you do again Tulpa? Aside from support Mitt Unelectable Romney for GOP nom, ensuring defeat?

    I meant we're going into rerecession either way. The way for the GOP to evade blame is to sign on for leftist welfare statism.

    They won't evade blame. And they'll sign up for statism anyway.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Spending less than BO, you mean?

  • ||

    This is as good a time as any to remind people that we have such high and growing levels of debt is because Republicans and Democrats alike have jacked up spending like nobody's business.

    And it is an even better time to remind people that, when you use debt as money, debt has to expand forever, or the monetary system blows up. Hence, someone must always be borrowing more, either private or public.

  • ||

    Republican presidents ratchet up spending and Democratic presidents consolidate the increases.

    But we live in 2012...Obama broke that pattern on February of 2009.

    Now we have both Republican and Democrat presidents ratcheting up spending.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    No, see, that first year of Obama spending? That's Bush's fault.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Carter also raised spending.

    Basically, Clinton didn't raise spending (I think there may be a specific reason for this) and that's all Gillespie needs to make his pronouncement.

  • Rasilio||

    There largely is.

    With the end of the Cold War in 1991 military spending plummeted from ~7% down to ~4% in the course of just 5 years.

    It is not so much that Clinton didn't raise spending, just that he benefited from the "Peace Dividend" masking his spending increases.

  • ||

    Well that and the Republican house would not let him increase spending.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Republican presidents ratchet up spending and Democratic presidents consolidate the increases.

    Based on a sample size of 3 of each. Which GHWB and BO don't fit. Well, as that famous Romney supporter says, 2 out of 3 ain't bad, Gillespie. Victoria Postrel wouldn't misread a chart that badly, btw.

  • GILMORE||

    Actual quote from Charlie Rangel on CNBC just now...

    When asked what areas the Dems were willing to discuss cuts on =

    "Look - there's no reason to start discussing "cuts" before we even know how much we can get! I mean, if we don't know how much money we can raise, then why should we start the discussion talking about what we need to get rid of? It doesnt make any sense. Maybe we can pay for everything, we just don't know yet because no one can figure out how much revenue we're going to bring in

    I am not fucking kidding = "How much we can *get*"

    Even the CNBC anchors, which typically ride easy on guests, went, "What??"

    The woman (who to be fair is a pretty consistent budget hawk, and mentions silly govt spending examples daily) was like, "...have you even *heard* of the Deficit??"

    Charlie being Charlie, he smiles his gold-toothed smile and is like, "I've been in Washington a long time little lady and a deficit never killed anyone..."

    He then went on about the children and police and teachers and roads and bridges and why do people who invest money hate poor people all they care about is getting rich and that's not what America's about and we need to share the wealth and make sure granny gets free drugs so they need to control prices and tax financial transactions because money making money isn't like real economic activity like digging holes and filling them in...

    Seriously.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Doesn't he have a prepaid burial site in the Bahamas somewhere?

  • GILMORE||

    No, an undeclared home in Puerto Rico that he collected rental income on for years. Also like a half dozen other properties in DC and New York.

    When the #()*@#$ village voice calls you a 'legendary tax cheat', you are in serious Scumbag Hall-of-Fame

    http://blogs.villagevoice.com/.....ngel_8.php

  • Cytotoxic||

    Could he please use it?!?!

  • Mickey Rat||

    "I mean, if we don't know how much money we can raise,..."

    Except we already do know that the potential revenue increases from hiking tax rates on high earned incomes is miniscule compared to the existing deficit. The only point to the Dems obsession with raising taxes is to provide cover for them avoiding the topic of spending cuts altogether.

  • Mensan||

    Is John Boehner Dumb Enough to Take $400 Billion in Cuts a Decade From Now in Exchange for $1.2 Trillion in Tax Hikes That Start ASAP?

    Yes.

  • ||

    The fuck? How is this guy still Speaker of the House? You'd think his caucus would boot his sorry ass out.

  • califernian||

    Is Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) really so dumb - or unprincipled - that he will buy into a plan that raises $1.2 trillion in tax revenue starting next year in exchange for $400 billion in entitlement cuts between 2023 and 2033?

    The answer of course is "both". He is a moron. And he is unprincipled. This is not a big secret.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    No, he's not dumb enough to do it. He's enough of a profligate statist prick to do it. The election's over and he thinks he can win the bullshit the electorate with shiny objects like gays or Mexicans to keep the DC power crack flowing his way.

  • DavidinVirginia||

    The question in the title is rhetorical, yes?

  • tired dog||

    Does a bear do stuff in the woods? Boehner folded before the final vote tallies were in.

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