Monday, July 11, 2011

Boehner Holds the Line on the Budget; Obama's Position 'Calamitous'

James Pethokoukis publishes in Reuters an excellent synopsis of the positions and manoevrings in the budget battle taking place between Boehner and the Congressional Republicans (with Paul Ryan on point) on one side and Obama (having effectively replaced Biden) and the Democrats on the other.  It is an excellent distillation that starts off with this explanation from a “GOP congressional source”:

[The Democrats’] fierce insistence on higher taxes is beyond bizarre.  After months of demanding ‘clean’ increase to avert economic calamity (default), WH threatens economic calamity (default) unless they get economic calamity (trillions in tax hikes).  No wonder these guys are governing over an economic calamity (9.2% & growth malaise), w/ an economic calamity on the horizon (debt explosion as mapped out in president’s budget).  The bipartisan consensus on tax reform (broader base & lower rates) was championed by President’s fiscal commission, and yet now is being rebuked by the President. Lowering top rates that would help make America more competitive was too large a leap for a true class warrior.

Paul Ryan 'limps up to explain it once more'
Pethokoukis later compares Boehner holding the line against Obama to Reagan walking out on Gorbachev at the Reykjavik summit in 1986:

Indeed, there were arms control agreements after Reykjavik, just as there will assuredly be more debt deals in the future. There must be or, as the Congressional Budget Office forecasts, debt as a share of GDP will explode from 70 percent today to as high as 250 percent by 2035 — assuming no economic implosion first. And no amount of tax increases will stop that. Some will push for just such options, of course. Liberal think tanks are devising plans to increase the total U.S. tax burden by at least 30 percent or more over the next two decades.
Read the whole thing - it's short and delicious.

By way of explanation in these situations, I am always tempted (and rightly so) to fall back on one of Rudyard Kipling's most under-quoted poems (and surely one of my favourites), 'The Gods of the Copybook Headings', which does well in drawing the correct distinction between the Gods of the Market (as in Madison Avenue, the world as we want it to be) and the Gods of the Copybook Headings (based on the aphorisms of motivation and hard experience listed at the head of the pages of schoolboys’ copybooks or school journals of the time).  A germane example from what you should read and take to heart:
Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.
And yes, the Democrats, with their insistence on class warfare taking precedence over budgetary constraints, are as the “burnt fool whose finger goes wabbling back to the fire.”

(H/T to Scott Johnson at Powerline)

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