Thursday, December 2, 2010

Deficit Commission LIkely to Lack Votes

It looks like the 18 member lacks the required consensus of 14 votes for its plan to force an up or down vote in the Congress. Already there are six no votes on the commission.

“No” votes include the three Republican House members on the commission – Reps. Paul Ryan, Jeb Hensarling and Dave Camp, along with Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana and Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois. Andy Stern, former chairman of the Service Employees International Union, also said he would vote against the proposal, and he proposed his own plan that called for larger tax increases and diverting some spending into infrastructure.

This is unfortunate but foreseeable. Of course Andy Stern, SEIU mouthpiece, will vote against, but I was surprised at GOP defections. I was inclined to excoriate any Republicans who didn't vote for the plan, thinking it showed lack of serious purpose, but Paul Ryan's comments give me pause. He has been doing the hard work of formulating policy in opposition to Obama and taking some heat for it, so I think we should listen to what he has to say.

I like his take on the situation, that it makes the spending on health care worse and accelerates Obamacare. Another quote from Ryan:

"I just don't think this thing has the ability to last in policy, and it simply buys us time. I'd rather fix the problem, with the Boomers starting to turn 65 this year, fix it once and for all so we can really get this thing fixed," he said. "But again, I don't want to be too critical of it because it's a good effort on Erskine's part and Alan's part and they've done a lot of good work."
On the other hand, how is progress going to be made? Piecemeal legislation isn't going to get the job done, it is too big a challenge. Maybe the Republicans need a counter-proposal that deals with the deficit. From my previous lengthy post on this subject, I show that spending on entitlements are killing the federal budget. Only addressing social security is insufficient to solving this problem. With regards to Medicare, I have to ask, if the purpose of medicare is to protect the elderly who are also poor from runaway medical costs, why is it offered to every American? I think we will need to means test these programs in order to curb costs. I also hope that it undermines support for them in the long run, but that is just my Machiavellian plotting.


  1. Question-- is medicaid part of medicare?

    If so, there will be SOME savings soon-- just because the states have to cut their share of the state pays a dollar feds pay 9 deals.

  2. Ah, squinting closer, I see it has 'care and 'caid separated.

    So... guess it comes down to what gov't is for, and the deals it's made that will do the most harm breaking. DoD (while I really, really want reform there, they'll screw it up) is a valid function.... ditto interest... a LOT of the agencies could be cut, but again, good luck... SS can be modified, but not removed, because the folks who paid into it their whole lives *can't* change now. Modified, yes, please, but not changed. /sigh

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  4. Foxfier,
    Sorry to make you squint, limits of the platform, but you can usually zoom in if you open the picture in a separate browser window.
    My question for all conservatives/libertarians/tea partiers is what do we want to cut?

  5. Nah, I should've looked closer or just opened the dang link.

    Flat out cuts are likely to cause shocks-- I prefer phase-outs, even though they're much trickier.
    A huge amount of regulation would be a favorite target, the vote buying handouts like birth control for college kids, then start changing the bureaucratic system.
    Right now, the entire funding system is built around "don't DARE spend less than your budget, you'll lose your budget."
    Perhaps a system where using your full budget after the phase-in triggers an audit, and funds "saved" go into an emergency account for X years, then go straight into paying off the debt.
    Definitely redo the gov't and military supply system-- $100 for a ten gig hard drive is ludicrous.
    Definitely cut the (paid) staff in DC. Something like the system I suggested over at my blog might work.

    Just trying to whittle out the deadwood would save us a lot. Maybe steal that military thing where folks who suggest money savers in their own system that get used get some sort of award? Definitely reform the fraud, waste and abuse system. It's pathetic, these days, and nowhere near anonymous.