How Congressional Republicans Can Win the First Battle in the Spending War
What does one do when confronted with the mandatory task of negotiating a deal with someone who is demonstrably dishonest, driven solely by ego and only interested in embarrassing you? You don't negotiate with them. You place your best offer offer on the table and walk away leaving the decision to accept or refuse in the hands of your adversary.
The Republicans in the House are now in that circumstance regarding raising the debt ceiling. The ceiling must be raised at some point but not without extracting a price in the form of lower spending.
While unsustainable entitlement spending is the key driver of placing the nation in bankruptcy, it is an unfortunate fact that these programs cannot be modified for the long-term without the cooperation of both houses of Congress and the White House. There is absolutely no interest on the part of the Democrats in the Senate or Obama, in being serious about any meaningful reform, except to demagogue these issues. Therefore, those expenditures considered mandatory (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Interest, Unemployment and Food Assistance etc) would be left off the table, for now.
However, there remains nearly $1.2 Trillion in annual spending, considered as discretionary, that can be attacked. Deducting the cost of Defense, Education and Housing & Community support (the other spending easily demagogued by the left and the media) there remains nearly $350 Billion in annual spending for the myriad bureaucracies, foreign aid, and the pork programs of the Congress among other wasteful and unnecessary priorities (which can easily be highlighted).
Ignoring the White House, the House should, therefore, pass through its normal legislative process a twelve month increase in the debt ceiling coupled with an across the board 7% cut in discretionary spending (net of Defense, Education and Housing & Community), or pick and choose specific programs, agencies etc. that would amount to the same dollar figure. This would result in an actual spending reduction of $25 Billion in the current fiscal year or $250-275 Billion over ten years. Included in the Bill could be items aimed at reversing any executive orders issued by Obama, in which he has overstepped his authority in matters such as gun control.
This Bill will then be sent to the Senate for their machinations. They will then have to decide whether to publically support continued massive spending on that part of the discretionary budget the majority of the American people would be quite willing to reduce. The Democrats, together with Obama must choose whether reinstating these expenditure items is more important than raising the debt limit. If this body does re-instate the spending then, in a conference between the House and Senate, the House must stick to its position and go public in defending the defensible and forcing Obama to then make the ultimate decision.
The key here is for the Republicans to develop and stick to a common message and theme and be willing to go out into the public to explain that the spending reductions they have recommended are geared at wasteful and unnecessary spending and be willing to then discuss the long-term financial future of the nation.
The important aspect of this strategy is to begin the process of spending reductions, taking out of the hands of the Democrats and the media their well-worn club used to bludgeon the Republicans and returning in twelve months with another bite at the apple when the debt ceiling is up again. While the Obama cabal will return to its age-old strategy of playing the victim card and accusing the Republicans of being cruel and heartless, it will be a much harder sell if what they are defending are high paid bureaucrats and wasteful spending.
It is vital that the ultimate decision on whether the debt ceiling is raised ends up in the hands of Barack Obama and not the Republicans in Congress. That begins by no negotiations, public or private, with him. The only way to defeat the hubris and determination of Barack Obama is to take small chunks out of his arrogant demeanor by initially small, but increasingly, larger bites. This current debt ceiling issue can be the beginning.