A Debt Deal Dissenter Explains His Vote

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FuhDEBT about it!

Here's why Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Ok) voted against the deal to raise the debt limit:

In spite of what politicians on both sides are saying, this agreement does not cut any spending over 10 years. In fact, it increases discretionary spending by $830?billion.

I voted against this agreement because it does nothing to address the real drivers of our debt. It eliminates no program, consolidates no duplicative programs, cuts no tax earmarks and reforms no entitlement program. The specter of default or a credit downgrade will still hang over our economy after this deal becomes law.

Politicians on both sides are misleading the country by calling a slowdown in the growth rate of new spending a "cut." Spending will increase at a time when real cuts are necessary to make us live within our means, repair our economy and preserve our credit rating.

It is true that next year there will be a genuine cut of $7?billion when discretionary spending drops from $1.05?trillion to $1.043?trillion. But with our government borrowing $4.5?billion a day, that $7?billion is enough to fund the government for about 36 hours. And after our day and a half of restraint, spending will increase $830?billion over 10 years.

Supporters say the real savings will come when the joint committee the deal empowers makes recommendations to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2?trillion (as we increase the debt limit by the same amount). But the enforcement mechanism designed to force these hard decisions — across-the-board cuts to defense and nondefense programs — will never work. Congress will easily evade these caps. In the Senate, all it will take is 60 votes — the threshold for passing anything. Some have complained about defense cuts, but everyone in Washington knows those cuts can be avoided through supplemental or "emergency" spending bills.

Coburn was one of two Republicans to vote in favor of the deficit reduction package put forth by President Obama's fiscal commission, as well as the bipartisan Gang of Six, which put forth its own proposal in the final weeks of the debt limit showdown. He's also the author of a much larger deficit-reduction package—the "Back in Black" plan that would've reduced the debt by $9 trillion over the next decade. 

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  1. EPISODE V

    [THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK]

    It is a dark time for the [REBELLION]. Although the [DEATH STAR] has been destroyed, [IMPERIAL] troops have driven the Rebel forces from their hidden [BASE] and pursued them across the galaxy.

    Evading the dreaded [IMPERIAL STARFLEET], a group [OF] freedom fighters led by [LUKE SKYWALKER] has established a new secret base on the remote ice world of [HOTH].

    The evil lord [DARTH VADER], obsessed with finding young Skywalker, has dispatched thousands of remote [PROBES] into the far reaches of space?

    HERCULE TRIATHLON SAVINIEN

    1. You should have made the upper lines shorter than the longer ones, to imitate text scrolling away.

      1. That would have been teh awesum

    2. our government borrowing $4.5?billion a day

      [IT] costs [A LOT] to rebuild the [DEATH STAR].

      1. Don’t forget the [PENSIONS] for the retired imperial employees [STORMTROOPERS].

    3. You mustn’t be as special as I thought, or, I have broke the autism-spectrum language decoder. Either way, you’ve been reading my blog.

      http://rctlfy.wordpress.com/20…..-agencies/

  2. Coburn’s plan kicks ass. But his back and forth with the gang of six makes him look pretty stupid. I don’t know what his game is, but he doesn’t seem to be playing it very well.

    1. That is because he is a doctor, not a lawyer.
      He is trained in healing, not deception.

      1. Then he should have put his plan out there and stuck with it.

      2. medical training isn’t so much about healing per se, as it is about disease. Which makes it much more relevant in a sense.

  3. Why do we keep building Deathstars? They cost a fortune and are totally tactically ineffective. A handful of snubships can beat them, costing less than a fraction of one percent of the construction costs. And the staffing needed for one is astronomical.
    Bah, the EMperor and his Evil subsidies. WHen has Evil ever needed subsidies I ask you?

    1. Hey, Imperial engineering is improving. If you sat thru the prequels, you saw ships that could be accidentally destroyed by an 8 year old.

    2. [2400 character rant about Deathstars elided]

      I concur.

      1. “Because with the Big Gun we can beat the Soviets”

        “But won’t it destroy us too?”

        “Yeah, but we will beat the Soviets.”

  4. Anyone got a link to Ron Paul’s complaints about the new SuperCongress?

    Wasn’t that a failed NBC show back in the 70s?

      1. Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this deal is the “Super Congress” provision. This is nothing more than a way to disenfranchise the majority of Congress by denying them the chance for meaningful participation in the crucial areas of entitlement and tax reform. It cedes power to draft legislation to a special commission, hand-picked by the House and Senate leadership. The legislation produced by this commission will be fast-tracked, and Members will not have the opportunity to offer amendments. Approval of the recommendations of the “Super Congress” is tied to yet another debt ceiling increase. This guarantees that Members will face tremendous pressure to vote for whatever comes out of this commission– even if it includes tax increases. This provision is an excellent way to keep spending decisions out of the reach of members who are not on board with the leadership’s agenda.

        1. “But tehy rn’t democrats!!1! Must vote red!”

          A MAJORITY of the GOP caucus voted for this. Barf.

          1. And not voting for it would have led to more spending, not less.

            When the American people manage to elect more Rand Pauls or Tom Coburns, (not just nominal Republicans), actual change will be possible.

            There was close to zero chance that even default would actually have led to less spending or debt.

            1. We agree but are focusing on something different. I’m focusing on that the leadership acts this way because republican voters let them.

              1. Excluding, obviously, some tea partiers/libertarians.

          2. Personally, I’d bitch more about the lack of GOP caucus support for Coburn or Paul’s budgets, rather than people voting for this deal after those budgets had failed.

          3. A MAJORITY of the GOP caucus voted for this. Barf.

            I agree with you. I thought my Rep was usually fiscally conservative—I remember him voting against TARP, though there were some many votes on that, I could be misremembering—and he voted for this piece of shit. Both Texas Senators vote for it.

            I hope the Tea Party, Corning’s doom and gloom prediction aside, shoves this down the fucking throat of the GOP in 2012. The ruling class really doesn’t understand that we’re broke, do they?

            1. The ruling class really doesn’t understand that we’re broke, do they?

              Why should they, when a majority of the electorate really doesn’t understand it either?

        2. “””‘hand-picked by the House and Senate leadership.”””‘

          Yes but its the same leadership that got us into this mess, so they are experienced.

        3. It cedes power to draft legislation to a special commission, hand-picked by the House and Senate leadership.

          This is not much different than how other Congressional committees work.

          1. That’s not the problem. Its the way their work product is protected and fast-tracked to passage.

    1. “Wasn’t [SuperCongress] failed NBC show back in the 70s?”

      I’m hoping it was a Blaxploitation about a pimp/ho combo with Aquaman level super powers.

      1. “SuperCongress mofo, you heard her!”

      2. I was thinking more of a Wonder Twins type thing.

        1. I’m okay with that. They are definitely B-list superheroes.

      3. Hey, you DO NOT want to get into a fight with Aquaman in the city pool. Or at the beach, while surfing.

  5. $4,500,000,000 a day? WTF!?

    At least I can visit our colonies on Mars, Europa, and Titan that all that spending bought us.

  6. I think it’s time to figure out how to go about shorting the dollar. There’s money to be made here.

    1. RC Dean was talking about the Swiss Franc (CHF). I was thinking about Swiss stocks, since the transaction costs would be a lot cheaper than currency futures or options.

      It would be nice if some of the Swiss ADRs were good companies to invest in, but most of the ones I saw were Pharma, Construction Equipment, Insurance, or Banking, all of which have a lot of negative exposure right now.

      Maybe Nestle…

    2. I don’t know of an easy way to short the dollar as such.

      I’m hedging my uninvested dollars with a couple of ETFs that effectively convert them to foreign currencies – its very easy to do, although you carry the ETF fees. I figure if I’m going to be in cash anyway, I might as well be in stronger rather than weaker currencies.

      I’m in Swiss francs (the ETF is FXF), which have done so well the Swiss have intervened to cap their value, and Canadian dollars (FXC). Australian dollars are another option I’ve looked at.

      1. Swissy recovered almost immediately after the intervention (this despite a pledget to print francs!); another useless government intervention in the currency markets.

        I wouldn’t keep those Australian or Canadian currency investments for too much longer: if China comes in for a hard landing (and their yield curve is near flat and about to invert, so …), all commodity producing economies will get hit

    3. Buying gold and silver is a pretty good approximation.

  7. Sen. Tom Corburn (R-Ok)

    Tom Coburn (R-OK), not Corburn, thanks.

  8. “Everything Harry Mudd tells you is a lie.”

  9. Anybody else having connection problems?

    I think it’s that Matt Damon thread from last night.

    1. Yeah, I am.

    2. Oh, and Matt Damon sucks.

      1. What do you expect? I get a shitty salary.

  10. My representative, Sam Farr (D-CA), voted with Ron Paul and against the Debt Deal in the House. But here, taken from his own email report to constituents, is why he did so:

    “I voted against the debt ceiling increase, the Budget Control Act (S. 365), because it is not a balanced solution to our deficit crisis ? it does not contain a combination of spending cuts and revenue increases. While increasing the debt ceiling is a necessary step, the deficit reduction measures included in this bill unfairly place the burden on seniors and middle class families and do nothing to create jobs. I have always used my voice and my vote to support sensible budget policies that grow our workforce, ensure millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share, close tax loopholes for corporations that ship jobs overseas, and protect our seniors, disabled, children, and most vulnerable neighbors.

    “But this lopsided legislation falls short of that by failing to combine spending cuts with revenue increases that ensure fairness in the tax code and promote enduring fiscal stability. The bottom line is this deal does not create jobs, and it does not provide the much needed support our economy needs. I am disappointed that this process was prioritized by political games and not by the best interest of our nation.

    “I am committed to ensuring our great nation is better for our children and I believe we owe it to them to work together to find a balanced solution. Ending Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security is not a balanced solution and it will not make America better for future generations. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are the lifelines for so many of our Central Coast neighbors and I do not support any budget plan that cuts these vital programs.”

    In other words, had the measure raised taxes to his satisfaction, he probably would have supported it. I am going to give Farr credit for doing the right thing. But his reasoning gives me no confidence that I can count on him doing so in the future, except by accident. Sigh.

    1. I’m sure if his vote was needed to pass the thing he would have voted yes.

    2. James, it’s Sam Farr. He’s been this way ever since I lived on the Central Coast. What, did you think he’d turned into a TP activist while your back was turned? It is funny though, the strange bedfellows you get during crises like this.

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