Debt-ceiling circus in Washington

Step right this way, folks! Under the Big Dome! See fire-breathing members of Congress and back-stabbing aides battle the most horrific and humongous monster since Godzilla hit the big screen – the Great National Debt! Watch in awe as Ringmaster Barack Obama uses his whip of fear to draw the masses to frenzy.

The deadline by which Congress must decide to increase the nation’s debt limit or find ways other than borrowing to pay the interest on the huge national debt, is only days away. The finger-pointing, demagoguery, and trickery are reaching a fever pitch unseen since South Carolina Rep. Preston Brooks took a cane to Sen. Charles Sumner on the Senate floor in 1856.

While no canings have yet occurred in the context of the current debt-limit debate (at least none have been reported), the sophistry and gimmickry has been just as excruciating to watch. And the nimbleness with which both Democrats and Republicans contort themselves to avoid touching the critical issue of entitlement reform truly should land some of them on “Dancing with the Stars.”

House Republicans have drawn their line in the sand — “Cut, Cap and Balance.” This plan purports to reduce the deficit by half and gradually lower spending over the next 10 years. It also calls for a Balanced Budget Amendment. The plan passed the House, and has been defeated in the Senate.

The faults in the House GOP plan are obvious. It carves out a huge exception for the “war on terror”; it fails to tackle entitlement spending; and it touts spending cuts that are so far out that many will never materialize. The proffered Balanced Budget Amendment incorporates broad exceptions that no future president or congressional majority would even break a sweat complying with in order to increase spending.

Then there is the oddly-named “Gang of Six” — a bipartisan handful of Senators who have fashioned a plan that includes largely unspecified cuts of $3.7 trillion over the next decade. It leaves to future congressional committees the task of determining what those cuts will actually be – essentially guaranteeing most of them will never be realized. The Gang’s plan also includes $1.0 trillion or more in new revenues. These revenue increases – never referred to as “tax increases” – would come largely through reducing or eliminating numerous deductions in the current income tax system, including the home mortgage deduction.

The philosophy underlying the Gang of Six plan can be summed up in two sentences: “Trust us; we promise to make cuts 10 years from now.” And, “A half century of runaway spending by Washington will be paid for by increasing the taxes on ordinary Americans.” This is what passes for “fairness” in Washington – Congress and presidents spend, and the American people are punished by having their taxes raised.

Even the pass given defense spending by the GOP is likely to run into difficulty. Some Republicans — including more than one running for the presidential nomination – call for spending even more on defense. These “Super Hawks” make such assertions notwithstanding the fact that the current level of defense spending, as analyzed by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, constitutes the “highest level since World War II.”

Also apparently ignored by both sides involved in the current Great Debt Debate, is the cold, hard fact that Medicare and Social Security entitlements have committed the American people to nearly $62 trillion in future, unfunded liabilities. These unfathomable amounts of money constitute additional debt. However, this “debt” falls conveniently within Washington’s large blind spot.

Given such selective vision, it is no wonder the Debt Ceiling Circus continues; tragically but conveniently diverting attention from the very real fiscal catastrophe at America’s doorstep.

By Bob Barr — The Barr Code

79 comments Add your comment

Tranny Crapzilla

July 25th, 2011
2:12 pm

“If the Republicans choose to allow the US government to default then so be it”

Only problem with that asinine statement is the FACT that Obama is the president. HE is the one who should be leading.

Fact: The Democrats controlled the House and Senate for 2 whole years.

Fact: The Democrats didn’t propose a budget for 2 whole years.

Fact: The Republicans control ONE branch of government.

Fact: You don’t know what the heck you’re talking about.

Tranny Crapzilla

July 25th, 2011
2:14 pm

Calling the kettle black

July 25th, 2011
2:14 pm

Is Obama a pathological liar?

In the weird world that is Washington, men and women say things daily, hourly, even minutely, that they know deep down are simply not true. Inside the Beltway, we all call those utterances “rhetoric.”

But across the rest of the country, plain ol’ folk call ‘em lies. Bald-faced (even bold-faced) lies. Those folks have a tried-and-true way of determining a lie: If you know what you’re saying is patently false, then it’s a lie. Simple.

And lately, the president has been lying so much that his pants could burst into flames at any moment.

His late-evening news conference Friday was a tour de force of flat-out, unadulterated mendacity — and we’ve gotten a first-hand insider’s view of the president’s long list of lies.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/jul/24/curl-is-obama-a-pathological-liar/

The Truth

July 25th, 2011
2:15 pm

Cutty

Bush is not in office.

However I was concerned about spending then! As were a lot of fiscal conservatives.

As bad as the spending was at that time it has gone from impulse power to warp nine since the Democrats got control of the purse strings.

BTW tax revenue increased after the last round of cuts under president Bush and only fell after the housing crash. They actually rose above projections from 2003

http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/03/lying_about_bushs_tax_cuts.html

Calling the kettle black

July 25th, 2011
2:15 pm

Debt-fight doomsayers
Team O’s absurd default talk

I’ve lost count of how many times President Obama and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner have said over the last three days that America might default if the debt-ceiling impasse continues. For the good of the country, let’s hope the markets have forgotten as well.
It’s hard to see how Obama, Geithner or White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley could have had the good of the country in mind as they made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows — spreading dire predictions about default if the debt ceiling isn’t raised in the fashion that they and their Democratic allies believe appropriate.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/debt_fight_doomsayers_AhCKQLmjQi8e3phgFwi46O#ixzz1T8tcwNI7

Calling the kettle black

July 25th, 2011
2:17 pm

Bye bye, Obama.

Obama: ‘I need a dance partner’ on immigration reform

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/07/25/obama.la.raza/

jconservative

July 25th, 2011
3:32 pm

So the latest Republican plan is ti cut spending $1.2 trillion.

When the Tea Party first hit town they were talking $5 trillion in spending cuts. Now they are willing to settle for a measly $1.2 trillion.

We started talknig about cutting spending in 1981. Thirty years later we are still talking about it.

“It’s deja vu all over again!” (Sorry Yogi.)

Jefferson

July 25th, 2011
5:10 pm

j-they have no credibility, the GOP tees shirters for sure.

Calling the kettle black

July 25th, 2011
5:32 pm

jconservative

What’s Obama’s plan?

HE HASN’T PROPOSED ONE. EVER.

“j-they have no credibility, the GOP tees shirters for sure.

Says the clown who lives in GA. If you want to live in blue state move there. I’m sure one of the $hit holes like Michigan, Illinois and California would love to have you. Loser.

YESSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!

July 25th, 2011
5:33 pm

Common Sense

July 25th, 2011
6:18 pm

Carlosgvv

July 25th, 2011
8:13 am

Carlos, I fixed your typo’s below

When Barack Odummy first began to emerge, many of us saw him for what he really is, a crazed fanatic. We begged and pleaded with people not to elect this crazy, but they would not listen. Democratic voters sowed the wind by electing this loon and now we are all reaping the whirlwind. We can only hope that these voters will come to their senses in the next election and restore some samity to their Party.

double

July 25th, 2011
7:08 pm

Stop having a debt ceiling.In exchange have a balanced budget amendment.Have this to begin with next presidental term.Absolute,no ways to circumvent.

I Know You Are But What Am I?

July 25th, 2011
8:24 pm

Big Tent

” The internet is breeding hacks like maggots on the dead carcass of the GOP elephant in our living rooms.”

This happens to be my favorite sentence ever written on a blog. Bar none.

Germisha

July 25th, 2011
9:48 pm

Late day update by one of the other AJC blogs says the Dems are proposing that the eventual end of the Iraq/Afghanistan wars should count for $1 trillion of deficit reduction. What a farce. Might as well say we’ll save another $1 trillion on Medicare once sickness and disease are eradicated.

Bob is right, these jokers don’t have the spine to make any meaningful spending reductions. I believe we’re doomed.

[...] Price controls and rationing, for example, generate huge inefficiencies (Jeffrey Miron, 7/22). Atlanta Journal Constitution: Debt-Ceiling Circus In Washington Also apparently ignored by both sides involved in the [...]

clanmack

July 26th, 2011
5:53 am

If our elected Federal politicians let the deadline pass and the country suffers from their dysfunctional inability to work together (because they all want to get re-elected or make sure the other guy doesn’t get re-elected, there will come a reckoning. The voting populace will be angrily asserting their pain, because we will be the ones suffering. Nero did it the first time, our elected Federal “leaders” are just taking a page from that failed Caesar’s book. I don’t think anyone has a clue what the consequences are to this failure to govern. The country (read the citizens of the US) is at the mercy of these blowhards, Democrats and Republicans. All this potential pain and hardship so they can say “I told you so.” They are acting like immature children who want to occupy the highest point on the jungle gym. The problem when they fall, they won’t be the ones who get hurt. They need to grow up and be adults about tthis. Blame has never solved anything, EVER!

Warm Springs, Georgia

July 26th, 2011
8:17 am

`
The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself !
.

YESSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!

July 26th, 2011
9:42 am

Big Tent

July 26th, 2011
10:23 am

Obama will win a second term in a landslide.

Gator Joe

July 26th, 2011
10:41 am

Bob,
You are correct what is happening in Washington is a circus, and what the Republicans are putting forth is equivalent to what drops out of the elephants just below the elephants’ tails.

YESSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!

July 26th, 2011
10:42 am

“Obama will win a second term in a landslide.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHHA

BigD

July 26th, 2011
10:43 am

I would truly feel sorry for Liberals, except for the fact that that I have to share a country with you morons.

YESSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!

July 26th, 2011
10:43 am

Gator Joe

I love it how brain dead libs, such as yourself, blame the GOP when Obozo and the Dims controlled congress for 2 solid years and didn’t once pass a budget. I also love it how you act like the GOP is in control when the president of the US is a Democrat.

Go sell stupid somewhere else, Gaytor.

BigD

July 26th, 2011
10:46 am

If you cannot see that Obama is a miserable failure after the last three years there is truly no hope for you…the evidence is every where and yet it alludes the completely ignorant partisan.

BigD

July 26th, 2011
10:48 am

Liberalism/Progressiveness/Socialism/Marxism = collective social insanity.

Junior Samples

July 26th, 2011
12:05 pm

sooo…now the libtards want to blame the tea- party for this debt fiasco. Now that’s “crazy talk”
Has your head been in a drum for the past 3 years?
We’ve got serious problems in this country starting with the “anointed one”
Thank the Lord for the Teaparty and common sense thinkers
Marxism has no place in this country. Make ‘em pay at the polls next year.

Gerald West

July 26th, 2011
6:29 pm

Congratulations, Mr. Barr! You recognize that the debt ceiling debacle is not a sincere debate; it’s political farce designed to delay budgeting actual spending cuts and revenue increases.

All “plans” for deficit reduction advanced by politicians of both political parties require deficit spending for the next several years. What’s to debate about raising the debt ceiling? What compromise is needed? The debt ceiling should be raised immediately, or better yet, eliminated forever as a useless political ploy that is an obstacle to budgeting and tax reform.

The federal deficit is 10% of our GDP. Reducing deficit spending will surely eliminate jobs and shrink consumer spending by a commensurate amount. Yet, many of your readers take as granted the notion that reducing federal deficit spending will kindle general prosperity.

Despite the ready availability of capital and labor, and the lowest interest rates in history, the private sector is not creating the jobs Americans need. Those of you who assume that the private sector will be stimulated to create more jobs in an economy that is phasing out 10% of the GDP are putting your faith in Reagan/Bush voodoo economics.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution: Debt-Ceiling Circus In Washington Also apparently ignored by both sides involved in the current Great Debt Debate, is the cold, hard fact that Medicare and Social Security entitlements have committed the American people to nearly $62 trillion in future, unfunded liabilities. These unfathomable amounts of money constitute additional debt. However, this “debt” falls conveniently within Washington’s large blind spot (Bob Barr, 7/25). [...]

John Konop

July 26th, 2011
7:46 pm

It is Time

Both deals proposed by the GOP HOUSE and Reid avoids the tough choices we as country need to make ASAP. Both plans avoid the real spending cut issues with entitlements and military that is the key to balancing the budget.

As far as taxes we can not afford to tax at a federal 14% rate when we know 18% of GDP has been proven to be the ideal rate. And for anyone not to support fixing loopholes and subsides to fix this problem is irrational. I remember when conservatives use to be against picking winners and losers with the tax code.

I realize bending cost curve on healthcare will be tough on many. Yet we cannot keep taking 1 dollar and keep spending 3 dollars on Medicare. We cannot avoid dealing with tough issues like end of life cost, higher co-pays, less elective coverage if at all, negotiated drug prices……….

I realize many will be hurt by rising the age on social security eligibility based on life expectancy. But this tough call must be made. And I do think a national sales tax to replace FICA would soften the blow and create more jobs.

While I know this deal is not perfect, I do think the gang of 6 compromises is a great first step and all of you no matter what side, should reach out to your congressman. This is the only plan that attempts to deal with the above key issues. And if we do not get a real plan and only band aides proposed by the GOP HOUSE and Reid we will all pay for this mistake. Interest rate increases will have major affects on the economy from consumer spending, jobs, housing………

It is time to act like adults and stop playing politics. Please call and do not be fooled by the politics.