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Is the Boehner plan really “short-term?”

Is the Boehner plan really “short-term?”

The latest talking point on the left is that Speaker Boehner’s plan to raise the debt ceiling by $1 trillion with a roughly equitable amount of cuts is a “temporary,” “short term,” or a “band-aid” solution and, while the bill may not even reach the Senate if it turns out Boehner doesn’t have the votes (he’s trying to “get their [rears] in gear” for a vote sometime this evening), I think this approach to opposing the Speaker’s plan from the left is more than a little odd.

Of course I think the debt ceiling and deficit reduction bill the House already passed — Cut, Cap, and Balance — is a much better solution, but I’m confused by the fact that the main gripe of the 53 Senate Democrats that say they’ll kill the Boehner plan is that it doesn’t raise the debt ceiling enough when, in fact, this approach to raising the debt ceiling is pretty much par for the course in the context of how much Congress has raised it in recent history (see this graphic from an April 2011 Congressional Research Service report).

Over the course of fiscal years 1996 through 2010, the average hike of the debt ceiling at the end of each fiscal year it was raised was $976 billion, making the Speaker’s $1 trillion plan actually bigger than the average debt ceiling hike over a typical fiscal year. Note that I am referring to where the debt ceiling was at the end of each fiscal year, not after every time Congress has raised it; if I calculated it that way, the average debt ceiling hike would be even smaller (you’ve probably heard Democrats touting that “Republicans raised the debt ceiling ten times during the Bush years!”) and would make the Boehner plan look even less “short term” in comparison.

So I just want to be clear what this is about. The Boehner plan is a pretty routine debt ceiling hike and, relative to recent history, is by no means “short term.” The only reason this compromise is facing such harsh Democratic opposition (remember, Reid initially negotiated and supported this deal with Boehner) is because it might jeopardize the President’s reelection campaign by requiring leadership before November 2012 on the real source of the debt problem, exploding entitlements and needless spending on programs like a failed $800 billion stimulus.


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Juba Doobai! | July 28, 2011 at 5:26 pm

I don’t know if the plan is long or short term, but I have figured out the reason sor the August 2nd deadline.

V A C A T I O N !

Obama wants to go on vacation for a few weeks and wants to do so without being criticized for leaving a fiscal mess while he golfs, swims, sails, chows down like a hog, fundraises, and does all these fun and lovely things on our dime as often as he can.

    Aarradin in reply to Juba Doobai!. | July 29, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    The Aug 2 deadline is due to the fact that Obama’s 50th Birthday Bash (for which he’s charging admission up to $38,000 as a fundraiser for his re-election campaign) on Aug 3rd. If there’s no deal by Aug 2nd, he may well have to cancel his own birthday party/fundraiser.

    Otherwise, the headlines would write themselves. My suggestion is:

    “Obama bankrupts US, throws a Party – for himself”
    with a subtitle: “Charges admission, $38k per person”

No one outside of the backroom has actually seen the plan in detail. But the parts I have seen described refer to about $2B of cuts next year with the balance of cuts to be determined by a commission (sorry, I meant committee. Seriously.) over the next ten years. So I guess you could get all technical and count the committee “smoke and mirrors” as a long-term plan.

I don’t. It’s like producing architectural blueprints that describe a building in general terms without any details about how it will be built, what materials are going to be used, who is going to build what but… it’s going to be g-r-r-r-r-e-a-t!

All week long, I’ve been listening to coverage on CNBC and elsewhere where none of the reporters even pretend that this is not just kabuki. They use “posturing as accepted procedure to show the folks at home that they made the effort to push for the things they were elected to do but the deal will happen at the last minute. Voters don’t like seeing the sausage being made.”

So WE are the idiots for even recoiling at lying and corruption when it is put on display in front of us. Man are we naive to think that people in Washington should be expected to be doing the right thing for the country!

The Democrats don’t want the debt ceiling issue to again raise its head before the 2012. They know they’ll get clobbered over the debt.

That, and only that, is the reason they are fighting for a longer period covered by this bill.

JimMtnViewCaUSA | July 28, 2011 at 7:30 pm

I hope so. It doesn’t actually cut anything yet, does it?
It just puts some political pressure on Dems (fine) without cutting ruinous gov spending (not so fine).

Nemo's omen | July 28, 2011 at 9:07 pm

I’d support a trillion dollar debt ceiling hike with phantom matching “cuts” if Obama and Congress get second jobs to make up the difference.

We’ve had Lamborghini government on a Ford Fiesta income and too many credit cards. It was a sweet ride while it lasted.

Sen McConnell, on the Senate floor, quoted Obama as saying, “And this was the President’s justification — as he put it on Friday, `The only bottom line I have is that we have to extend this debt ceiling through the next election, into 2013.’

So, Mr Alan’s post is exactly correct. The talking point about this being a ‘short-term’ bill is bogus. They just don’t want this coming up again next year during the election cycle. For good reason: Obama’s and the Democrats in general have been watching their approval ratings drop steadily for over two months now.

Remember, the Boehner bill they’re trying to pass today is essentially the deal worked out between Boehner, Reid and McConnell. Reid was on board until they brought the idea to Obama, who said he’d veto it for the reason stated above. So now, Reid is doing Obama’s dirty work and will likely kill his own compromise (and then blame Republicans) when it gets to the Senate.