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A Closer Look At the Budget Deal

 

What is America really getting out of the budget deal reached with the Democrats last week? 

Well, we’re dumping the Czars of Health Care, Cars, Urban Affairs, and Climate Change.  That leaves only 34 czars to go before we have a vaguely accountable federal government!

There are some serious budget cuts in this package, and some of it is coming out of ObamaCare.  Full repeal of that ghastly legislation remains a top priority for this country, but don’t discount the effect of knocking little pieces out of it.  Every one of those pieces, plus the big chunk of regulatory oppression it lost with the repeal of the odious 1099 reporting requirements, makes the remainder of the bill increasingly difficult to defend.  How many of ObamaCare’s moving parts must be removed before the public insists Congress sweep the rest of the inert wreckage off the table?

The political value of the budget deal is potentially huge, although it’s too soon to tell if that potential will be realized.  The hard Left is demoralized, with New York Times propagandist Paul Krugman practically in tears, sobbing “what have they done with President Obama?  What happened to the inspirational figure his supporters thought they elected?”

Liberals went so far over the top in their attacks on the puny Republican budget cuts that they can’t fully dial their criticism back, now that President Obama has not only signed on, but taken to leaping in front of cameras to claim credit for it.  Top Democrats are calling Obama’s budget compromise “immoral” and demanding he “act like a Democrat.”

Is all of this outrage a carefully staged attempt to inoculate Democrats against more spending concessions in the future, when raising the debt ceiling is debated, or next year’s budget is prepared?  Do they plan to point at how incredibly agonizing it was to trim $38 billion off the deficit, and scream that further cuts are therefore unthinkable?  I can’t imagine such a ploy would work, especially because every thinking member of the public knows they were going to say that anyway… and now the robots in the Democrat base are exhibiting a certain level of disgust with Obama, to match the rhetoric of their leadership.  CNN’s got a new poll out that shows the budget deal is popular, but the President’s overall approval rating is still declining.  It’s very difficult for a political party to campaign successfully against their own President, especially since their rhetoric paints him as a willing accessory to murderous extremism.

On the down side, Andrew Taylor of the Associated Press got a close look at the budget deal today, and much of what he found is not pretty.  For starters, $10 billion of the spending reductions “already have been enacted as the price for keeping the government open as negotiations progressed,” so the leviathan State is getting $10 billion off its slap-on-the-wrist sentence for time served, and only $28 billion in new cuts are on the way.

Attempts to defund junk like Americorps and the wasteful, ineffective Head Start program were blocked.  Bush’s tax cuts are eternally under siege, but Bill Clinton’s pet Americorps boondoggle is now carved into granite and untouchable.

Some of the “spending cuts” are nothing but accounting tricks, including “cuts” to a $350 million temporary program for dairy farmers that should have ended last year anyway, and a $650 million “cut” obtained by declining to repeat a one-time subsidy for highway construction. 

Giving Obama $1 billion to play with high-speed trains, instead of the $2.5 billion he wanted, is counted as a $1.5 billion “cut.”  Capping the payments into a fund for compensating crime victims allowed Congress to claim the entire $5 billion value of the program as a “cut.”  We’re back to reduced spending increases being counted as “cuts.”  If we end up calling a Constitutional Convention, maybe we should pass an amendment that makes it illegal to do that.  It would clear a lot of the smoke and mirrors from budget discussions.

 Republicans who take fiscal responsibility seriously are turning sour on this deal.  Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, already displeased with the way Republican promises to the Tea Party for $100 billion in cuts dwindled down to $38 billion during negotiations, declared he will “vote a resounding ‘no’ this week to this so-called deal,” and urged his colleagues “if they are serious about cutting government spending, to do the same.” 

In the House, 28 Republicans have expressed opposition to the deal.  Mike Pence (R-IN) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN) are likely “no” votes, and Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) refuses to click “like” for the budget deal on his Facebook page.  Huelskamp is disappointed that the compromise “doesn’t address ObamaCare, job-killing EPA regulations, and most pro-life issues.  It ignores the fundamental reasons I and my fellow freshmen Members of Congress were sent to Washington in November of last year.”

Bachmann told Sean Hannity of Fox News that the bill “failed to show the mandate of the election of last November,” although she “doesn’t denigrate any of my colleagues in their decision to support the bill… they felt they needed to, to support our troops.”  

Pence, in a weekend appearance on ABC’s This Week, said “I think John Boehner got a good deal, but it’s probably not good enough for me to support it.”  He’ll support it even less when he opens the budget deal peanut can, and it blows spring-loaded snakes and confetti into his face.

 

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Written By

John Hayward began his blogging career as a guest writer at Hot Air under the pen name "Doctor Zero," producing a collection of essays entitled Doctor Zero: Year One. He is a great admirer of free-market thinkers such as Arthur Laffer, Milton Friedman, and Thomas Sowell. He writes both political and cultural commentary, including book and movie reviews. An avid fan of horror and fantasy fiction, he has produced an e-book collection of short horror stories entitled Persistent Dread. John is a former staff writer for Human Events. He is a regular guest on the Rusty Humphries radio show, and has appeared on numerous other local and national radio programs, including G. Gordon Liddy, BattleLine, and Dennis Miller.

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