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Old 07-08-2011, 02:20 PM  
mohel
 
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The Mother of All No-Brainers

OP-ED COLUMNIST
The Mother of All No-Brainers
By DAVID BROOKS
Published: July 4, 2011



Quote:
The Republicans have changed American politics since they took control of the House of Representatives. They have put spending restraint and debt reduction at the top of the national agenda. They have sparked a discussion on entitlement reform. They have turned a bill to raise the debt limit into an opportunity to put the U.S. on a stable fiscal course.

Republican leaders have also proved to be effective negotiators. They have been tough and inflexible and forced the Democrats to come to them. The Democrats have agreed to tie budget cuts to the debt ceiling bill. They have agreed not to raise tax rates. They have agreed to a roughly 3-to-1 rate of spending cuts to revenue increases, an astonishing concession.

Moreover, many important Democrats are open to a truly large budget deal. President Obama has a strong incentive to reach a deal so he can campaign in 2012 as a moderate. The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, has talked about supporting a debt reduction measure of $3 trillion or even $4 trillion if the Republicans meet him part way. There are Democrats in the White House and elsewhere who would be willing to accept Medicare cuts if the Republicans would be willing to increase revenues.

If the Republican Party were a normal party, it would take advantage of this amazing moment. It is being offered the deal of the century: trillions of dollars in spending cuts in exchange for a few hundred billion dollars of revenue increases.

A normal Republican Party would seize the opportunity to put a long-term limit on the growth of government. It would seize the opportunity to put the country on a sound fiscal footing. It would seize the opportunity to do these things without putting any real crimp in economic growth.

The party is not being asked to raise marginal tax rates in a way that might pervert incentives. On the contrary, Republicans are merely being asked to close loopholes and eliminate tax expenditures that are themselves distortionary.

This, as I say, is the mother of all no-brainers.

But we can have no confidence that the Republicans will seize this opportunity. That?s because the Republican Party may no longer be a normal party. Over the past few years, it has been infected by a faction that is more of a psychological protest than a practical, governing alternative.

The members of this movement do not accept the logic of compromise, no matter how sweet the terms. If you ask them to raise taxes by an inch in order to cut government by a foot, they will say no. If you ask them to raise taxes by an inch to cut government by a yard, they will still say no.

The members of this movement do not accept the legitimacy of scholars and intellectual authorities. A thousand impartial experts may tell them that a default on the debt would have calamitous effects, far worse than raising tax revenues a bit. But the members of this movement refuse to believe it.

The members of this movement have no sense of moral decency. A nation makes a sacred pledge to pay the money back when it borrows money. But the members of this movement talk blandly of default and are willing to stain their nation?s honor.

The members of this movement have no economic theory worthy of the name. Economists have identified many factors that contribute to economic growth, ranging from the productivity of the work force to the share of private savings that is available for private investment. Tax levels matter, but they are far from the only or even the most important factor.

But to members of this movement, tax levels are everything. Members of this tendency have taken a small piece of economic policy and turned it into a sacred fixation. They are willing to cut education and research to preserve tax expenditures. Manufacturing employment is cratering even as output rises, but members of this movement somehow believe such problems can be addressed so long as they continue to worship their idol.

Over the past week, Democrats have stopped making concessions. They are coming to the conclusion that if the Republicans are fanatics then they better be fanatics, too.

The struggles of the next few weeks are about what sort of party the G.O.P. is ? a normal conservative party or an odd protest movement that has separated itself from normal governance, the normal rules of evidence and the ancient habits of our nation.

If the debt ceiling talks fail, independent voters will see that Democrats were willing to compromise but Republicans were not. If responsible Republicans don?t take control, independents will conclude that Republican fanaticism caused this default. They will conclude that Republicans are not fit to govern.

And they will be right.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: July 5, 2011


An earlier version of this column misstated the amount of revenue increases needed in exchange for spending cuts. It is a few hundred billion, not a few hundred million.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/05/op...ooks.html?_r=1
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Old 07-08-2011, 03:46 PM  
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the refusal of republicans to even discuss raising taxes on the rich is like an alcoholic saying he wants to get over his addiction, and willing to give up drinking whiskey each night but discussing the 12 pack of beer he has first is out of the question.

They pretend like they are compromising but instead the republicans have said we will not compromise, period, our 'compromise" is that you will give us what we want.

it's just not realistic to think we are going to cut our spending into a surplus (which the republicans did not care about for the last ~decade), in theory yes it could happen, but in reality it won't happen, especially when the republicans are still up to old tricks, they have recently want tax cuts to match any spending cuts so no deficit reduction will occur, just lower taxes on the rich. I would bet my last dollar if they tax office next election suddenly the whole deficit issue will suddenly become a non-issue to them as they would view tax cuts as more benefitical even if it increases deficit spending.

even subsidies for oil and gas industries haven't been cut yet as republicans refused to cut those, if the easiest most obvious waste of taxpayer money can't be cut what hope do we really have the republicans will cut anything but medicare? They sure wont cut defense either which is the other 10 ton elephant in the room.
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Old 07-08-2011, 04:21 PM  
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WHAT?!?!? I thought Republicans are looking up gay porn and making signs underneath the toilet stalls in public restrooms, now they're drinking whiskey and beer too?

The Republican party came about when the Whigs were failing to represent what their constituates wanted. Now BOTH parties are failing to do just that. We can not depend on either party to straighten anything out. The government needs more PEOPLEment regulations, restrictions and limitations. Not the other way around.
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Old 07-08-2011, 04:54 PM  
mohel
 
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Quote:
even subsidies for oil and gas industries haven't been cut yet as republicans refused to cut those, if the easiest most obvious waste of taxpayer money can't be cut what hope do we really have the republicans will cut anything but medicare? They sure wont cut defense either which is the other 10 ton elephant in the room.
I expected their OIL windfall to be gone in Obama's first 6 months but he just doesn't have the clout. Plenty of Dems feed at the OIL trough too.
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Old 07-08-2011, 05:11 PM  
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Quote:
Now BOTH parties are failing to do just that.
Given time saner heads should prevail but a 3rd Party needs a William Buckley or a Buffet to lead it rather than the junk yard dogs of teabuggery.
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Old 07-08-2011, 05:27 PM  
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Originally Posted by blucher View Post
Given time saner heads should prevail but a 3rd Party needs a William Buckley or a Buffet to lead it rather than the junk yard dogs of teabuggery.
OK, Blucher, now you are REALLY scaring me . . . .
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