The Budget Deal and Spineless Republicans.


Congressional leaders have put out a budget which reverses many of the 2011 sequestration cuts to present spending, while promising to make budget cuts over the long-term. Rep. Paul Ryan, lead GOP negotiator in the deal, claims that it will reduce the deficit in the long-run while avoiding a tax increase. Reaction to the deal, which was crafted entirely behind closed doors, has seemingly exposed the ever-widening chasm between the mainstream Republican establishment and the fiscally conservative Tea Party wing. As the Washington Times reports:

Tea party groups and fiscal conservatives wasted no time Wednesday in savaging a bipartisan budget agreement negotiated between House Republicans and Senate Democrats… But most of the passion focused on the politics of the deal, with Mr. Ryan, Mr. Boehner and the House GOP leadership defending their handiwork from attacks from conservative colleagues on Capitol Hill and from outside groups… Critics said the agreement effectively raised taxes in the form of higher fees, failed to restrain entitlement programs and permitted new spending in the short term in exchange for vague promises of long-term cuts.

 Mr. Boehner used unusually pointed language in hitting back at conservative opponents of the deal, charging that critics opposed the agreement even before knowing what was in it.“They’re using our members and the American people to their own purposes,” an angry Mr. Boehner said. “This is ridiculous.”

The Congressional Budget Office estimated Wednesday that the bulk of the plan’s deficit reduction would come in the final three years of the deal, while the new spending would happen over the next two years… The Ryan-Murray agreement increases spending in 2014 to $1.012 trillion and in 2015 to $1.014 trillion and restores more than $60 billion in sequester spending cuts.

The plan is meant to cut spending by $23 billion on the backside of a 10-year period. Conveniently, spending is freed up for the short-term. Politicians promising to cut spending by the end of 10 years; how likely do you think that is?  

This new budget deal tosses the sequestration cuts out of the window. It was a victory for Republican fiscal hawks in 2011. They’ve thrown it away. The sequestration cuts, at nearly $63 billion, are largely symbolic; they’re a pittance compared to the current budget, at $3.8 trillion. Realistically they meant almost nothing, but they did represent at least some iota of effort towards reigning in the insane spending of the U.S. government. Now the attempted repeal of the sequestration cuts is even more symbolic. It signifies John Boehner and Paul Ryan saying to the Tea Party, “Screw you; we’re siding with the Democrats”.

Leader of the Tea Party Nation Judson Phillips quipped that “[the budget deal] should forever dissuade us of the idea that the Republican Party is the party of fiscal conservatism.” Since when has the mainstream Republican Party ever been the party of fiscal conservatism? Not in my lifetime. Not in my dad’s lifetime, either. Both major parties have always been in favor of expanded spending. Mainstream Republicans are not much more than “Democrats Lite”. Mainstream Republicans are not fiscal conservatives. It took this long for Mr. Phillips to figure that out?

I would like to see a Tea Party backlash against Boehner and Ryan. I would love to see the Tea party declare a split from Republicans and a push to cut off all Tea Party monetary support. Unfortunately, that’s not likely.

Republican leadership was not even willing to hold on to the sequester cuts, which were small potatoes anyway. The really don’t have any backbone at all. They never have. This deal should yet again demonstrate this to the public, although much of the public will ignore the evidence yet again. If the paradigm between Democrats and Republicans does not change, there will be no escape from the bankruptcy of the federal government.

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