See the previous two articles. Are there not SINCERE conservatives, in Congress and out, who really believe that a "nalanced nudget amendment is the ONLY final answer to the spending urge of politicians of both parties? don't I know lthat the Amendment now being proposed contains a spending cap (a Constitutioonal amendment I would certainly favor, as contained in my first article on the subject this weekend), and that the adherents of a balanced budget amendment propose spending cuts and spending caps in the meantime, as a "price" of raising the debt limit?
Yes, I am perfectly aware of all of that. It is still all FANTASY. Thee is abaolutely no way a balanced budget amendment, other than one with so many loopholes it is a fraud, will get through the United States Senate. No, I don't have any problem with Republicans proposing a "balanced budget amendment" (with teeth), as a stand alone thing. What I have a problem with is proposing the balanced budget amendment as a SOLUTION to the present deficit problem. Yes, I see both the Democrats and the Repubican establishment USING "true believers" to hold a "carrot" of possible action on a balanced budget amendment before conservatives, so long they hold off spending cuts to the indefinite future. I KNOW Republicans are TALKING like that won't happen, but they tALKED that way before the 2010 budget "deal". It is too tempting, for politicians, to get some sort of FACE SAVING PROMISE on a "balanced budget amendment"--which they cannot possibly get passed in this Congress, with the idea of it being a POLITICAL GAIN. But what do the "true believers" do when they are faced with the rEALITY that they will not GET a balanced budget amendment--at least no until they rEFUSE to raise the debt limit for a LONG TIME?
That is my whole problem with the concept of putting the balanced budget amendment as FIRST PRIORITY in the debt limit fight. What I suggeted Republicans do is pass a VERY SHORT TERM, small, debt limit extension with the EXPRESS NOTICE that either REPUBLICAN SPENDING BILLS/BUDGET BILLS get passed, or there will be no further debt limit extension. And then concetrate on UNILATERALLY cutting spending, recognizing that Democrats are not going to aloow Meidcare to be transformed in this Congress and are not going to flly repeal ObamaCare. Put Democrats and Obama to the choice of either accepting MAJOR SPENDING CUTS< or not getting the debt ceiling raised. I tend to think it would be a good thing if Republicans REFUSED TO RAISE THE DEBT CEILING by the deadline.
Yes, I would WITHDRAW my criticism of the balanced budget amendment--at least most of it--if Republicans were willing to refuse to pass the debt cciling unless BOTH a balanced budget amendment and spending cuts are PASSED first. In other words, either RepublicaNs should be serious about a blanced budget amendment, WITH TEETH, or they should not be throwing it arond as a "bargaining chip". As a "bargaining chip< I stand by every criticism I have leveled. It smacks WAY too much of "politics as usua" The problem here is whether the Repulicans in Congress are going to agree to another SHAM deal that contains no real CURRENT budget/spending cuts. It seems clear to me, and really everyone else, that such ws the diretion the "bipartisan" budget talks were headed. As with the 2010 budget "deal", Democrats are aiming for a FRAUDULENT "deal" announcing trillions of dollars of spendnig cuts IN THE FUTRE (probably way in the future), rather than cutting spending now. Both the balanced budgetr amendemnnt and the "payroll tax cut/holiday", seem to me to be merely political ploys to CONCEAL the ultimate lack of action on CURRENT SPENDING. I hepe I am wrong on that. I know some Republicanss are willing to make me wrong on that. But those Repulicans are being USED, if Republicans in general fail to act on current spending--or even INCREASE the deficit with extra "stimulus" spending and tax gimmicks.
Yes, Republicans are pushing things--or seeming to push things--like the balanced budget amendment that they cANNOT GET without actually refuseing to raise the debt limit. Okay. I am ready for that fight, and even encourage it (the willingness to engage in that fight being the entire basis of the ANTI-SPENDING strategy I proposed. But you have to be willing to accept the CONSEQUENCES of that strategy. If all lyou get is a "politics as usual" bill, then your failure will be OBVIOUS. In other words, if you really BELIEVE that a balanced budget amendment is the ONLY way to approach this poblem, or at least the most important thing to the point it is the main thing you talk about, then it is NOT good enough to suggest you "fought the good fight" and were prevented from succeeding by those EVIL Democrats. If it is really THAT imporaant, then "fighting the good fight" means NOT RAISING THE DEBT CEILILNG unless you get PASSAGE of a balanced budget amendment.
No, I do NOT think the balanced budget amendment, which itself solves NO present fiscla problem, is viewed as that important by MOST Republican politicians. IF Republicans were willing to FIGHT for my (or something like it) proposed amendment limiting spending, then I would be for it. But I don't think Republicans in general are willing to go to the mat for a Constitutonal Amendment wither like I propose or like they propose. This makes it all look like POLITICS, and like Republicans are AVOIDING the REAL FIGHT over where to CUT SPENDING (not 10 years in the future, but NOW).
Refusing to raise the debt ceilig is high stakes poker. Are lRepublicans really willing to follow through on their bluff--showing it is NOT a bluff? I ddoubt it. This will then be followed by "shut down the government" votes on lspending, if Republicans do NOT resolve those issues bky September 30 (which is what Republicans should be doing NOW, in my view). No, refusing to raise the debt ceiling does NOT "shut down the government", but it has a similar problem in terms of what you do when OBAMA decides that he no longer has authority to send out soldiers' checs, or lspend money on Medicare? Are Republicans really up to facing that? I realy doubt it. I have seen no evidence they are, outside of the Tea Party minority.
Sorry. I will not back off my criticism of this RHETORICAL concentration on a "balanced budget amendment". Despite the "true believers'" (of whom I would count myself as one, except I don't buy into fantasy), my judgment is that this is POLITICAL POSTURING. In short, I believe that the Republican "leadership" is fullly willing to SELL OUT the "true believers" in exchange for a "face saving" "deal".
Problem for the Republican leadership: Expecially after the farce of the previous budget "deal", not to mention the "deal" on the Bush tax cuts at the end of 2010, the "leaderhip" may have used up all of its credibility Yes, I am sayng that MAYBE the "leadership" will be unable to get done what I fully believe they want to gt done. If so, it serves them right, and they deserve it. If lyou don't rally believe in the things you are saying, and are trying to MISLEAD your own voters (not just the opposition) as to the principles in which you believe, then you deserve what you get. In this case, that would either be a REVOLT in the rank and file or a reluctant "leadership" being dragged into a debt ceiling increase REFUSAL that they don't want. It may have come down to the same thing, since the leadership has no real principles, but my positon is that they would have been better off fighting this battle all along on CURRENT SPENDING issues that HAVE to be resolved by September 30.
Unless Republicans plan to agree to yet another "continuing resolultion" that the Speaker of the House said he would AVOID. Yep. That is another way Republicans could get me REALLY MAD at them--the other way being a sham "deal" that aovids tough spending choices for CURRENT SPENDING: If you see Republicans agreeing to a "continuing resolution"--especially one big bill--to keep the government running after September 30, then you KNOW that the Repubican Party has fully lost me. Already, of course, I say that I am not a Republican. But I am about ready to affirmatively support a third party--whatever the short term consequences of that (a conservative third party) may be.
This has nothing to do with insisting that the Repubican Party do what I want, or I take my marbels home. It has to do with the Republican Party engaing in a minimal amount of HONESTY and willingness to STAND LUP for what they supposedly believe. I can vote for a Republican who does not agree with me on gay marriage. I cannot vote for a Republican who continually LIES to me, with the idea I have nnowhere to go. Yes, I do. So I could vote for Mitt Romney, despite RomneyCare, but I cn't vote for Mitt Romney if I come to the view that he really is a man who tells me SOME of what I want to hear, but does not believe a word of it. Mitt Romney ,of course, has the great advantage of not being in Congress, along with most other Presidential candiates (outside of Michelle Bachmann, who will probably vote against all of this stuff anyway--including any final "deal"). Therefore, I am gong to have to judge based on my own view of the sincerity of the candidates, and my view of whether they will STAY BOUGHT (in other words, stand behind their conservative rhetoric, whether they believe it or not).
eanwhile, I continue to cringe whenever a Republican--even Michelle Bachmann--mentins how a "balanced budget amendment" is such an important part of this battle. Even if it is an important battle in its own right, I am confident it is not an important part of THIS BATTLE. If it is a sticking point that prevents the debt ciling from being raised, then I will have been wrong about that. But I am no tsure I will have been wrong about the Republicans fighting the wrong battel at the wrong time. It is important to deal in the REAL wold, and not i a fantasy world. You may think it is obvious I live in a fantasy world of my own, but I assure you that is not true. Would I,for example, refuse to raise the debt ceiling unless a Constitutional Amendment is passed doing away with Roe v. Wade (one of my darest wishes)? Nope . Yes, I know that abortion is not "related" to the debt celing, but I also know that no balanced budget amendment is gong to pass (not a real one) n this Congress. One is just as much fantasy as the other.