Saturday, July 16, 2011

Steyn and 'Puter

A few posts on the debt ceiling, cutting spending, and “revenue increases” (which I believe used to be called “tax increases”) that caught my eye.

Mark Steyn: No bargaining with Barack Obluffer (via TigerHawk):

In the real world, negotiations on an increase in one's debt limit are conducted between the borrower and the lender. Only in Washington is a debt increase negotiated between two groups of borrowers.

’Puter: First Principles and The Debt Ceiling:

Republicans have done a singularly shitty job of identifying the first principle in play here. That principle is: live within your means.

’Puter: Enough (I do love a good rant):

Elites of the liberal and conservative varieties, along with just about everyone living inside the Beltway, just do not get it. Let 'Puter put it simply.

This is not about sticking it to the poor. This is about standing up for the unsung makers in the country.

What do I think about raising the debt ceiling, cutting spending, raising taxes? I think we should all in one bill raise the debt ceiling enough to get us to January 31, 2013; freeze spending wherever it is right now; and not raise taxes. Then both parties should make the 2012 elections about whether we want to keep raising the debt ceiling, spending, and taxes, or whether we want to lower all three.

I doubt that approach will result in anything useful since it looks like most people want to keep the debt ceiling where it is; not raise taxes (except on the rich, a category which is ill-defined to say the least and is, by any definition, not large enough to fund our current level of spending); and cut only the spending from which they themselves do not benefit or about which no sufficiently touching sob-story can be found or created. But living in a democracy means letting voters make stupid decisions. Reality always cleans up the mess eventually.


By the way, The Gormogons in general have been even more readable than usual lately. For example, here’s the Czar explaining how we can tell that Obama Does Not use Chicago-Style Politics:

If President Obama used Chicago-style politics, he would have a much more accomplished track record than he clearly has. Chicago would have won the Olympics. Nearly all of the stimulus package would have wound up here. His wife would be Secretary of something or other. Her brother, Craig Robinson, would be the head of a multi-million-dollar civic improvement commission and also own a concrete company he knew nothing about an hour ago. Windmills in China would mysteriously disappear and wind up in Oregon. Usâma bin-Lâdin would have been found face-down in a river, with a GOP campaign strategy plan stuffed in his pocket. The entire US Army would be spotted in a Florida resort, despite having paychecks that say they are currently in Afghanistan. And for the last four years, all of Iraq would be covered in orange cones and construction horses.


E Hines said...

Actually, this poor, dumb redneck is all for raising revenues. There is a world of difference, though, between raising revenues and raising taxes. We raise revenues, counter-intuitively, by lowering taxes. JFK demonstrated this when he lowered income taxes by 20 per centage points to a top rate of 71%. Federal revenues increased markedly, and the economy took off. Reagan followed up on this with his own tax cuts, the economy took off again from the Carter recession, and Federal revenues went up, again.

As for your solution, we can't afford that level of spending for another two years; we need real cuts. Unfortunately, a freeze is about all that will get passed.

I'd rather, if a debt ceiling increase were required (it isn't), to raise it so that the issue must come up again in the spring/summer of 2012. Make it a campaign issue. Put the Progressives' tax and spend ways front and center. Obama thinks he can win that debate. Put me on the stage with him.

Eric Hines

Elise said...

I don't think the "revenue increases" the NYT was talking about are the same ones you are.

As for doing this all again next summer, no, thank you. If we can, as nation, have this discussion as part of a Presidential and Congressional election with no looming deadline, we might be able to have it somewhat rationally. If we are having the same fight next summer that we're having now, the Democrats win. The guys who are willing to promise the majority of voters that they can keep everything they have (entitlements, no higher taxes) will always win if they can do it in a situation with a looming disaster (real or not). In other words, there won't be a debate then anymore than there's one now.

Plus, I'm not sure doing this again next summer would be good for the country. I'd rather give voters a chance to pick one side. If they refuse to do so, well, then we'll be right back where we are now. I understand we'll be even deeper in debt but it looks like that's going to be the case no matter what.

Cataloochee said...

As PJ O'Rourke said, Americans talk like libertarians but function like statist. They all talk about smaller government or lower taxes, but don't touch my Medicare or Social Security.

I'm not sure the average voter is smart enough to understand the issues and can cast an intelligent vote.

Elise said...

I assume this means you don't subscribe to the Buckley dictum that would rather be governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston telephone directory than by the 2,000 members of the Harvard faculty.

If the average voter isn't smart enough to understand the issues and cast an intelligent vote, then we need to start thinking about what form of government we want to put in place of the one we have. Any suggestions?

E Hines said...

I'm not sure the average voter is smart enough to understand the issues and can cast an intelligent vote.

Ah, yes. The currently in vogue Progressive argument that we're just too dumb to know what we're doing. We should should all just shut up and let our Betters run things for us.

Another reason to dismiss the Progressives from government at all levels. They have nothing to say in the way of proposals or solutions, only dishonest ad hominem attacks.

What is Obama's proposal to the current debt crisis, again? The Democratic Party's proposal?

Eric Hines

Elise said...

I think it's a serious mistake to assume that everyone who thinks the average voter isn't smart enough to understand the issues must be a progressive. I, for example, could argue that since more people blame the Republicans than blame Obama for the possible meltdown over the debt ceiling, those people are incapable of understanding the issues.

What I would find more interesting is a serious discussion by someone who holds the "incapable of understanding" position on the topic of what kind of government we should have instead of what we've got.

E Hines said...

I think it's a serious mistake to assume that everyone who thinks the average voter isn't smart enough to understand the issues must be a progressive.

I heartily agree. Perhaps you can walk me through your logic in getting from what I actually said to this conclusion.

I would be interested in hearing a discussion by someone who holds the "incapable of understanding" position.... concerning the kind of government we ought to have, also. I think, though, we're already getting such a discussion from Mr Obama.

Eric Hines

Elise said...

Perhaps you did not intend your comment this way - and I may have misread it egregiously - but it seemed to me you were characterizing the previous comment as having necessarily come from a Progressive. If that was not your meaning, then I apologize for my unwarranted assumption.

E Hines said...

No apology warranted for a misunderstanding. Communication is a two-way street, after all; I hold the better part of the failure as the one trying to speak. I'll just point out that saying that an argument is one that a group makes is not the same as saying that everyone who makes that argument necessarily is a member of that group.

Eric Hines