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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Debt battle in DC


Barbara Anderson's CLT Commentary

We are closely following the debate on the federal debt ceiling issue.

I wrote a column that was published in yesterday’s Salem News, updated it for this weekend’s Eagle Tribune, can’t keep up. Just want to say this now:

We taxpayer activists are part of the most important debate in recent American history, if not since 1776. It’s important that we get this right. To us: the President, Democrats and U.S. Senate are temporarily irrelevant, nothing we can do about them right now; our focus so far has been the debate not between right and wrong, but between two strategies.

One was the Boehner Plan to raise the debt ceiling in return for some kind of cut, some kind of cap, and a required 2/3 vote in both branches sending the Balanced Budget Amendment on to the states for ratification for their legislatures, before the debt ceiling can ever be raised again. The other was the principled Tea Party resistance to anything that raises the debt ceiling without serious cuts, caps and balance.

The first group contains not only Speaker Boehner, but Congressmen Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor, Allen West, Mike Pence, and others who are solid taxpayer friends; columnists Thomas Sowell, George Will, Charles Krauthammer; and our own Grover Norquist. president of Americans for Tax Reform. All are practical, rational people who are focused on doing the best we can right now with just one branch in our control, and then winning in 2012.

In the second group is Sarah Palin, who was threatening primaries against those who supported the original Boehner Plan, and more impressively, Senator Lindsey Graham, who made the strongest case for the principled Tea Party position Thursday night on Fox News.

Thomas Sowell is my intellectual guru. But Lindsey Graham probably understood the real value, or lack thereof, of the Boehner proposal better than most; he is used to being bi-partisan but couldn’t do it this time. Now he will probably take a lead in the Senate battle. Never really sure what he or our junior senator, Scott Brown, will do in the end if the Senate comes up with its own plan.

The pressure from the Tea Party bore results: the original Boehner Plan was changed to include the balanced budget amendment language, and it all passed the House Friday night. Now the House has THREE good-faith efforts (which includes the Ryan budget), and the Senate and President have none; the Senate killed the Boehner Plan late last evening.

My favorite plan is still the National Taxpayer Union’s “One-Percent Spending Reduction Act,” which cuts one cent of every dollar spent each year for six years, then caps spending at 18% of GDP. This is getting momentum now as the “Penny Plan” of Congressman Connie Mack and Sen. Rand Paul; Sen. Marco Rubio has just signed on to it. Maybe this will be the 4th Republican Plan to pass the House!

One thing I know for sure: we must not feed the Obama/Democrat machine with a nasty internal battle among the various Republican strategies. Palin was wrong to threaten. We need to honor all the Republicans who are struggling to solve the problem, and make “plans” to have even more debt-decrease warriors after the next election.

Barbara Anderson

Citizens for Limited Taxation    PO Box 1147    Marblehead, MA 01945    508-915-3665