As we wait for the vote on the Boehner Debt Bill, some wonder what is the best way to handle the debt crisis? The crisis was created by our President and the Democrats in Congress. For two years the President had a Democratic majority in both Houses and could pass an increase in the debt limit authority. They chose not to do this as it might be viewed negatively by the populace. Now we are on the brink of creating another market collapse as the President has heightened the stakes by repeatedly addressing the public on this issue while ignoring any real compromise and using this crisis as a means to get another tax increase.
The legislation passed recently by the House sets the correct tone by limiting spending, requiring balanced budgets, and capping the growth. However, it will never become law as the balanced budget amendment cannot ever pass enough states as there are many that will fear the loss of federal funds in the future. Yet, this is a worthy goal and one that the TEA Party supporters favor. I find it analogous to the attempt years ago to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.
The conservatives have managed to change the discussion in Washington, thankfully. No longer is there any talk of tax increases. The President has been marginalized and the Senate is under more pressure to compromise since Senator Reed has noted that some components of the Boehner Plan can be incorporated into his own plan. The question is whether this is the best deal to be had while the conservatives only hold one chamber of Congress? It appears that this is the case. The stock markets will be spooked if we get no solution. Either way, the President does not appear to be a strong and successful leader to the public. This victory should not be lost by the Republicans by over-playing the hand.
The Boehner Plan offers some strong advantages to the conservatives. Firstly, the plan only covers six months which means that the conservatives get to exercise more influence before the next election. This forces the sides to deal with this issue again allowing corrections to any unforeseen omissions. Secondly, confronting this issue put more pressure on the President and threatens his re-election efforts. (This is why he wants an 18 month deal.) Thirdly, the cuts total more than the increase in authorization ($917 billion vs $900 billion), while this occurs over different periods of time to the detriment of the aims underlying the plan.
The few numbers of unconvinced conservatives threaten to stop any compromise with this issue due to past misleading agreements by the President and his supporters. They threaten to hurt the conservative movement as the financial crisis that might result will be blamed upon the Republican Party by the media and their minions. We have changed the dialogue, but this is a long race, not a sprint. The Progressive have been influencing the agenda for over 100 years. It is only 30 years since the Reagan revolution has begun. We must be more patient and dedicated to the long haul. We must shift the momentum any chance we get, but not overplay our hand. The downgrade in the credit worthiness will further hurt the President's re-election efforts. It is necessary to recognize that this issue has worsened his poll numbers and will continue to do so.
The Progressives fail to understand the critical nature of our debt load where 40% of all spending is dependent upon borrowed money. We know that this threatens our republic and is the aim of their movement. We have to stop letting them set the narrative. We can set the agenda, but only if the public sees us as moving the legislation in the correct direction. If the opponents can brand us as worsening the economy and employment then it will be harder to win a large majority in the Senate and take the Presidency. Unless we succeed in this aim, we cannot reverse the Health Care Reform legislation, the Banking bills and other legislation passed during the previous two years. The long term strategy is most crucial, rather than the tactical issue. We can only hope that this issue does not become a quagmire.