Monday, July 18, 2011

Raising and lowering

A couple of links discussing courses of action I’ve written about previously:

Via The Corner, Spengler advising that the McConnell plan is the best route for Tea Party Republicans. Specifically, Spengler wants - as do I - to take a debt ceiling crisis off the table until after the 2012 elections. He believes that if Republicans can avoid a default and “put the onus [for raising the debt ceiling] on Obama”:

The Republicans would then have a year and a half to run against Obama's irresponsibility - his incompetent economic management, his demands for tax increases, his failure to address the deficit.

What he says makes sense but reading his essay - especially his version of the message Republicans would have to sell - makes me realize that his approach and mine require the Republicans to make a short, punchy explanation of what they’re doing and why they’re doing it, and to stay on message with that until November 6, 2012. I’m not sure that’s possible. I pay a fair amount of attention to this stuff and I have no sense that the Republicans have presented a single, coherent message on this so far. There’s no reason to think they’ll suddenly be able to do so. Members of Congress want to be re-elected so they’ll shade the message to appeal to their constituents. Having had to vote for the McConnell plan or any other approach that raises the debt ceiling could possibly impose sufficient discipline to keep current Congressional Republicans on message: they’ll have to have a coherent way to explain their vote. However, add in Presidential politics, in which you’ve got national candidates who desperately want to win and who will not have had to cast that vote, and disciplined messaging goes by the board.

Instapundit and TigerHawk suggesting a “5% across-the-board cut in spending” right now, then rinse and repeat next year and, presumably, some number of years after that. Like TigerHawk, I don’t think more targeted cuts are possible for reasons I outline in a previous post. However, I prefer cutting 10% per year and - in contrast to TigerHawk who is suggesting reducing the Bush tax cuts by 5% - I also want to cut taxes right along with spending, at 9% per year.

If, however, we could actually get a 5% across the board cut - and I mean really across the board - I’d take that. I’d also give the reduction of the Bush tax cuts to get it, if that reduction was also across the board; that is, no getting back 5% of the revenue by raising taxes only on the rich. Instead everyone at every income level loses 5% of the tax reduction they would have gotten under the Bush tax cuts.

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