When Bret Baier asked Republican candidates if they would accept a deficit deal with a 10:1 ratio of spending cuts to revenues, every single candidate said they would refuse the offer. At this point, swearing off any and all tax increases, even from eliminating the most damaging and unfair loopholes, is stupid and irresponsible. Is it prudent to believe that every single Republican candidate believes that tax cuts for the wealthy (“job creators”) will create more jobs? I could not help but think that every single candidate looked immature, impractical, and unreasonable standing there with his or her hand in the air.
It’s hard to imagine the current batch of Republican candidates moving from super-conservative to general election mode. One might venture that Republican candidates are vying for the ultra-conservatives in order to win in the primaries; however, they are also generating more and more material for President Obama to use against them. Is it possible for a Republican to get outside of the party talking points for a moment, or are they all the same?
Where are all the moderate Republicans?
In another showdown between Democrats and Republicans, the country is left with a decision that met the political and ideological goals of a minority of individuals, but makes little economic sense. While it is reassuring that Americans were generally disgusted by the behavior of members of Congress, one can only be so hopeful that it was for the right reasons, at least from an economic standpoint. In the end, the debt ceiling-deficit deal does nothing to create jobs or correct the growing infrastructure deficit, and may end up hurting GDP growth and worsening unemployment.
According to John S. Irons at the Economic Policy Institute, the deal will likely reduce GDP by 0.3 percent, and cost the country 323,000 jobs. The EPI article also included GDP and jobs projections for President Obama’s payroll tax holiday, and the extended unemployment insurance package. If the payroll tax holiday and unemployment insurance provisions are not extended, the EPI estimates that GDP could shrink $241 billion (1.5 percent), along with the loss of almost two million jobs.1
Today, Republicans introduced the Consumer and Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Improvement Act of 2011 (HR 1315), a bill that would severely reduce the effectiveness of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the only federal agency with the sole responsibility of protecting American consumers. Despite overwhelming public support for strict rules on Wall Street, the CFPB opened their doors for the first time today without a director, largely due to partisan politicking.
The Republican-sponsored bill, HR 1315, would do a few things: read more…
On May 16, 2011, the United States government reached its self-imposed debt limit, first established in 1917 via the Second Liberty Bond Act. From the start of the Bush administration to the present, Congress voted to raise the debt ceiling 10 times. In 2008, President Bush signed the Housing and Economic Recovery Act, and the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, which both included debt ceiling increases. With each debt ceiling increase, despite a few hands consistently voting in the negative solely on principle, Congress has always garnered enough support to avoid a financial calamity.
On April 15, 2011, 235 House Republicans voted in favor of H. Con. Res. 34, a bill that stipulated an increase in the debt ceiling. In case one’s brain is reluctant to rehash such political grandstanding, this was part of Paul Ryan’s “courageous” budget. Title I, Sec. 101 of Ryan’s plan reads:
(5) DEBT SUBJECT TO LIMIT.—Pursuant to section 301(a)(5) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the appropriate levels of the public debt are as follows:
- Fiscal year 2012: $16,204,000,000,000
- Fiscal year 2013: $17,177,000,000,000
- Fiscal year 2020: $22,408,000,000,000
- Fiscal year 2012: $23,102,000,000,000
The debt ceiling “debate” is not a debate; it is political grandstanding. The fact that Republicans have continued this charade, even as leading economists warn of impending doom, Moody’s and S&P prepare to lower the United States’ credit rating, and consumer confidence decreases, is baffling. When will the elected representatives of the United States start showing even an iota of maturity? In the end, the debt ceiling must be raised in order to avoid a default, and ensure financial stability.
Republicans in the 112th Congress have banded together to address one of the most pressing issues of our time—George W. Bush’s war on incandescent light bulbs. The debt ceiling, fiscal and financial problems, jobs, and growing rates of inequality took a back seat to the Republican Party’s most pressing agenda. When every minute counts, it is important that lawmakers concentrate on issues of the utmost importance, especially those related to nostalgic concerns about incandescent light bulbs. Right?
Yesterday, Republicans brought up the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act (HR 2417), a bill that would repeal § 321 and 322 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority to pass. For the record, this is the last time I will reference the bill by its ascribed title, as it is simply not true; even bill titles are used for political instead of practical purposes. After wasting an hour of taxpayer time, today, HR 2417 failed with 233 Ayes, and 193 Nays. read more…
I’m not sure where Mr. Groseclose and the Fox & Friends host get their information, but there are tons of ideological 501(c)(3) groups on the right, left, and in between. 501(c)(3) groups are not purely “charities” as the host would have you believe, although that is one possibility. The IRS defines “exempt purposes” for IRS Code Section 501(c)(3) as follows: read more…