Why a Balanced Budget Amendment Should be a GOP Priority

Fiscal Discipline was struck another blow this week when Rand Paul’s balanced budget plan was voted down in the senate after gaining the support of only 20 senators.  It’s no surprise that fiscal restraint isn’t popular, but that’s an embarrassingly low number of allegedly Republican senators (obviously no Democrats voted for it).

Rand’s version of the “Penny Plan” would have capped federal spending and restrict spending growth to 1% annually.  In DC terms, that’s an austere cut. No one can really claim to be shocked that the GOP would be against it.  It has virtually no history of the kind of fiscal discipline that it claims to espouse.   But I’m not really grieving about this plan going down.  A plan to promise cuts in the future is about as useless as a Paul Ryan show vote on a theoretical budget that will never be implemented.  It’s simply theater.

Far more serious was the loss in the House back in April of the Balanced Budget Amendment.  This hardy perennial was defeated by failing to get a two thirds vote, 233 in favor to 184 against.  Interestingly the House was able to rally to pass a 1.3 Trillion Omnibus spending bill only a few weeks prior to that vote.  I guess they can agree on some things.  Just not on some of the most important things.

If you want to see who voted yea or nay, check it out here.

If you are a fiscal conservative or even someone who doesn’t want the country to collapse in fiscal disaster, there is no greater priority than a Balanced Budget Amendment.  Unfortunately there are many factions on the right who oppose a Balanced Budget Amendment, such as the Club for Growth and The Heritage Foundation.  These groups oppose anything that might lead to an increase in taxes.  Better deficit spending as far as the eye can see than an extra penny for taxes.

This is extremely shortsighted.

If in fact, Demography is Destiny (the working hypothesis I’ve been going by for years), at some point the Republicans as they are currently configured will be untenable as a national party.  Once they lose control of national power for good, then here comes the California model of governance for the rest of the nation.  California, in its plan to be the next Venezuela, seemingly has no stop sticks from preventing it from going off the rails, yet they put a stop on a plan to provide single payer healthcare for the entire state, an idea that the majority of people and politicians in the state support.

Why is that?

The reason obviously is that they couldn’t pay for it.  It would have doubled the state budget, requiring massive tax increases in a state that already pays high taxes.

And that’s the rub.  The trick to keeping Democrats from fiscally destroying the country after all the GOP brakes are gone is making them pay for it by raising taxes; something that ultimately, they are as loath to do as any cigar chomping, monocle wearing, GOP banker type.

One of the few long term priorities that can outlast the GOP of the Bushes, Ryan, and McConnell is a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution.  It actually forces the difficult choices that we’ve been avoiding for decades.  A super majority of Democrats running the Intersectional States of America decades from now would still be constrained in funding Single Payer, UBI, and assorted other fantasies if there were a Balanced Budget Amendment.  Taxes might be high and the economy might stink, but that’s better than the currency being worthless.

 

 

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Tea Party Defeats Itself

Just like with the Fiscal Cliff, the House drove us right to the brink until the Senate grabbed hold of the steering wheel, with the news that the Senate has put together a deal to end the government shut down, at least for a while.

As I predicted two months ago, there was no plan, nor any strategy for using the budget CR to defund Obamacare. Everything that happened, from the media spin, to plummeting poll numbers, to final defeat was all perfectly predictable.  There was never any reason that President Obama would negotiate.  He was never going to negotiate on defunding Obamacare. In fact, it’s obvious that he would have been perfectly willing to let us go right through the debt ceiling.  In fact, that could have worked to his advantage.  Any economic upheaval that would have been brought about by stopping the government’s ability to borrow more money could be blamed on the Republicans.  The 2016 campaign slogans write themselves.  Republicans broke the economy, Obama came in and fixed it, and Republicans broke it again.  Are you voting for the breakers or the fixers?

The only thing not predictable was how poorly the Obama administration bungled their handling of the shut down.  Between Harry Reid’s War on Cancer Kids to the administration’s fake and unnecessary closing of the nation’s monuments and other static displays that are normally opened 24/7 without being manned anyway, including the World War II Memorial; which lead to the unpleasant sight of Park Police strong arming elderly national heroes. How badly have you bungled when you pick a fight with cancer kids and World War II veterans in the same week?

Even the administration’s high fiving themselves on the fact that they were “winning” didn’t make them look too smug, since they were in fact winningConsidering that a government shutdown could only help the administration, there was really no way for them to lose, and that’s what irritates me the most; the Tea Party picked a fight in which there was no option that would have allowed them to win.

Although Ted Cruz is given most of the credit/blame for this debacle, I think a good portion of that has to go to talk radio.  Senators Cruz and Lee have appeared on Hannity multiple times talking up their “Don’t Fund it” strategy, but they never exactly explained how the strategy was going to actually achieve its goal of defunding Obamacare.  At no time did Hannity or Rush, who also was in favor of charging this windmill, question how this was supposed to succeed.  That’s a question I’ve been asking for two months and the reason I never got an answer is because there never was an answer.  Meanwhile talk radio egged it on.  On September 25th Hannity had Rand Paul on as a guest, who explained to Hannity that there was no mathematical way there would be votes to defund Obamacare.  Hannity seemed stunned and surprised that Rand couldn’t insure this strategy would work.  As recently as October 3rd, Rush was insisting that the Democrats were imploding on the issue.

The only thing that imploded was the Republican chances of winning the Senate in 2014.

It Starts with Deportation…

English: United States Senate candidate , at a...

English: United States Senate candidate , at a town hall meeting in Louisville, . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When it comes to immigration, I’m hearing this phrase echoed more and more by Republicans, Let’s start that conversation by acknowledging we aren’t going to deport” the millions of illegal immigrants presently in the country.“

However I was really disappointed to hear that from Rand Paul.

Rand, as the most libertarian member of the Senate, may have come to his open borders ideas honestly.  Open labor markets are fundamental to libertarian thought, but the rote, we are not going to deport 12 million people (or 11 million, fill in your own number) is the first line in virtually any conversation with an establishment Republican about immigration.  In other words, we are going to have amnesty no matter what, so deal with it.

It’s clear that we are never going to have an equivalent of Operation Wetback.  That Eisenhower era program forcibly repatriated illegal aliens from California to Texas back to Mexico.  Although the estimates of the success of the program vary wildly, from 50,000 to 1.3 million, the estimates are much higher for the numbers of illegals who voluntarily left to avoid being detained and sent back by Operation Wetback.

However we don’t really have to go to such extremes.  Normal enforcement would take care of the illegal problem in a few years after we successfully sealed the border.  Don’t believe me?

According to ICE:

400,000 aliens were deported in 2011

392,862 aliens were deported in 2010.

390,000 aliens were deported in 2009.

So if the borders were sealed, using normal enforcement measures, illegal aliens would be largely gone in a little over 25 years.  However they would cease to be a major concern long before that. And that assumes there would be no self deportation, which has been occurring since the start of the financial crisis.  That’s certainly a quicker pace than the one we were promised after the 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli Act of 1986.  We are still waiting for the borders to be closed as promised with that bill.

So yes, we can deport millions.  We already deport hundreds of thousands every single year.  With an open border however, it’s just bailing out the ocean.  If we ever got serious about closing the border the numbers of illegal aliens in this country would start to reduce immediately.

So as soon as I hear, “well we are not going to deport millions of people…” I know the speaker is not interested in actually dealing with the problem of illegal immigration.  They are only interested in getting those illegals amnestied; the quicker the better.  That tells me who in Washington is serious about the problem and who isn’t.  Right now, it seems that virtually no one is interested in doing anything other than amnesty.

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