A Debt Ceiling Plan

Keith Hennessey, in a Thursday Wall Street Journal op-ed, proposes one, containing three steps.  In essence, they are:

  1. House Republicans…argue for and pass a debt-limit increase combined with present and future spending cuts.  Mr Obama will reject deep spending cuts and accuse Republicans of playing dangerous games with our financial system.
  2. [C]ongressional Republicans…offer Mr. Obama a choice.  He can have a long-term debt-limit increase if he agrees to cut spending, or he can have repeated, short-term increases without spending cuts.  If the president continues to dodge the country’s long-term spending problem, the solution is to force him to ask Congress every few months to give him the authority to borrow more while facing questions about why he refuses to restrain spending.
  3. Congressional Republicans…explain that they will support the first alternative—a long-term debt-limit increase coupled with spending cuts.  They will allow short-term debt increases to occur—but they will not support them.  This means that if Mr. Obama agrees to cut spending, he will get his long-term debt-limit increase and most Republicans would vote for it.  If, however, he refuses to cut spending and instead chooses repeated short-term increases, then he and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi would have to ensure that all 197 House Democrats vote aye.

But the Republicans aren’t even talking, that I can see, about passing a bill pairing a debt-limit increase with real spending cuts.  There’s only Speaker John Boehner (R, OH) talking about how there “ought to be” a dollar for dollar exchange.

Which brings me to my second problem with Hennessey’s plan: Republicans remain cowering shamefully on the sidelines, saying nothing at all to their constituents or to their neighboring Democratic Party districts’ constituents about what their plans are and why those (non-existent?) plans are better than the Progressives’ Spend and Tax-and-Borrow plan.  The Progressives already are explaining “why [they] refuse[] to restrain spending.”  And they’re doing so quite successfully, given there’s no response from the Republicans or Conservatives in Congress.

Once again, Republicans and Conservatives are surrendering, without the first part of a struggle, the communications field to those Progressives.  And so they’re surrendering the entire spending and borrowing problem, without any struggle, to the Progressives.  Daniel Henninger, in the same issue of the Wall Street Journal, describes an aspect of this abject failure here.  Read all of it, if you have the stomach.  Note though, that Henninger is describing a mechanism for getting their point of view across.  But there must be a point of view, first.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *