Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Don't just do something. Sit there.

That has been the mantra of the Democrat-led U.S. Senate, which hasn't passed a budget in exactly 1,400 days. However, such a strategy may serve the House Republicans well with less than 48 hours until automatic spending cuts ("sequestration") kick in. And if that happens Chicken Little President Barack Obama is proclaiming that the country may well implode if a mere 2.4% of annual Federal spending (a combination of domestic & defense funds) is cut. Amazingly, it was the President himself who, in November 2011, emphatically stated that there would not be any negotiation over removing these mandatory cuts. Fifteen months later, with the usual stunt of using people (in this case, emergency responders) as props for his demagoguery, the President is declaring how these spending cuts may lead to airplanes falling out of the sky and people dying in the streets.....or something.

The indomitable Charles Krauthammer laid it all out a few weeks ago as to how the GOP should respond: by doing nothing. The debt ceiling was raised a year-and-a-half ago without Republicans getting the desired spending cuts in return. Hence, the deal for sequestration (an idea which originated from the White House). Then with the "fiscal cliff" looming on January 1, the Republicans had no leverage since as the expiring Bush tax cuts would have resulted in increased taxes on the middle class. So the GOP alternatively agreed to hike tax rates on just the "wealthy"  to avoid dinging the middle class (whose taxes were already raised due the expiring Payroll tax holiday) but, again, got no corresponding cuts out of the deal.

While $1.2 trillion in spending cuts spread out over 10 years is barely a start, it's more than we can hope for under an administration that labors under the delusion that "the private sector is fine" and that a bloated public sector is the only road to true prosperity.

So, do House Republicans have the intestinal fortitude to enact a maneuver similar to what Krauthammer suggests? While I'm ripe for a surprise, House Speaker John Boehner and Co. hardly have a track record for standing firm. And if indeed the House Republicans cave once more, it has already been suggested that Boehner will not survive as House Speaker.


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