The House and Senate are still trying to deal with and on the debt ceiling. But even the Senate has moved to Obama’s right.
The Senate’s debt ceiling plan
The Senate has done the most remarkable thing. As Jim Meyers at Newsmax reports, Harry W. Reid’s Senate Democratic Caucus has given up on enacting any more tax increases. The “Reid Plan” offers $2.7 trillion in deficit reduction over four years, in exchange for a $2.7 trillion rise in the debt ceiling. He also wants the new debt ceiling to stay in place past the 2012 federal election.
Whether this plan would actually lower the deficit by $2.7 trillion is in dispute. Republicans say that it uses “accounting gimmicks” to arrive at that figure.
The House debt ceiling plan
Today, House Speaker John Boehner announced another plan, one somewhat like the “cut, cap, balance” plan that the House passed last week. (The Senate tabled that.) According to the Associated Press, Boehner’s plan would offer a $1 trillion rise in the debt ceiling in exchange for a $1.2 trillion cut in federal spending. It would call on Congress to pass more cuts next year, if the government wants to raise the debt ceiling by another $1.6 trillion.
Is Barack Obama irrelevant to the debt ceiling debate?
Neither plan says anything about raising taxes. (For that reason, even the Senate plan would be legitimate if it started in the Senate. Any plan that raises taxes must start in the House.) Christopher Ruddy, editor-in-chief at Newsmax, hailed the House plan and urged the man now holding office as President, Barack H. Obama, to accept it.
Obama clearly doesn’t like the Boehner plan. In a speech to the nation at 9:00 p.m. tonight, Obama still called for what he called a “balanced plan.” That would include as many tax increases as spending cuts. Obama did not even mention the Reid plan, which does not raise taxes. Instead, Obama concentrated on Boehner and accused “radical elements” in the House Republican Caucus of, in effect, telling Boehner what to do, to the detriment of the country.
Boehner, in reply, rounded on Obama. He reminded the nation sharply that Obama had tried a bait-and-switch last week. That was why Boehner broke off talks with Obama.
Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) had harsh words for everyone. He accused Obama of delaying the game to create a crisis. He also decried Boehner for not offering a balanced budget.
New Jersey Tea Party activist Nicholas E. Purpura did not even wait for Obama to speak. In an interview with your editor, he said that the Republicans should lower the debt ceiling. He pointed out that two-thirds of respondents to a recent poll said that they do not want the debt ceiling to rise. To balance the books, Purpura would:
- Slash foreign aid.
- Revoke the stimulus and not spend the unspent money.
- Cut corporate taxes, and stop taxing repatriated profits.
- Issue a lot of oil drilling permits, to put people to work immediately to produce a vital resource.
He confidently predicted that the economy would turn around right away, revenues would pour in, and the dollar would be sound once again.
Political consultant Dick Morris, speaking on Sean Hannity’s TV program, said that Obama was nearly irrelevant, and made himself less relevant with his speech. The reason: Obama has placed himself to the left of Harry Reid, by still calling for higher taxes after Reid abandoned that notion.
Featured image: the classic Weimar-era illustration of wheeling a barrow full of money to buy a loaf of bread.