War of the Deficit Ring


House Speaker John Boehner’s debt-ceiling deal rolled out of the garage yesterday with most of the dents banged out, and a shiny new coat of red-ink paint.  The Congressional Budget Office certified it as keeping Boehner’s original promise to cut spending more than it raises the debt ceiling.  Specifically, the plan lets Washington run up $900 billion in new debt immediately, cuts $22 billion in spending immediately, and strongly recommends that future Congresses cut another $895 billion in spending over the next 10 years.

Do you remember when Boehner was talking about $1.2 trillion in ten-year spending cuts?  Well, forget about it.  It’s $917 billion now.  If you really think future Congresses will fork over the $895 billion in cuts that Boehner signed them up for, then you’re pretty good at forgetting things, because you’ve already forgotten everything that happened in Washington over the past thirty years.

As for the $22 billion in immediate cuts, that’s equivalent to the amount Obama adds to the national debt in five days.  The government will only spend money it doesn’t have on 360 days out of the next year.

The Wall Street Journal is very insistent that Tea Party conservatives forget why they sent all those Republicans to Congress in 2010, and get in line behind the Boehner plan.  To this end, they published a cranky editorial yesterday, in which they tried to mix a little pop-culture humor into their withering critique of the Tea Party, just to show they’re in touch with today’s youth:

But what none of these critics have is an alternative strategy for achieving anything nearly as fiscally or politically beneficial as Mr. Boehner’s plan. The idea seems to be that if the House GOP refuses to raise the debt ceiling, a default crisis or gradual government shutdown will ensue, and the public will turn en masse against . . . Barack Obama. The Republican House that failed to raise the debt ceiling would somehow escape all blame. Then Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced-budget amendment and reform entitlements, and the tea-party Hobbits could return to Middle Earth having defeated Mordor.

Mordor is part of Middle Earth; the hobbits returned to the Shire after defeating the Dark Lord Sauron.  But never mind those nitpicky little details.  The Wall Street Journal editors aren’t squares.  They’re down with you crazy hep cats and your groovy dungeons and dragons.  Twenty-three skidoo!

The equally youthful and culture-savvy John McCain thought so much of this editorial that he read it out loud, from the floor of the Senate.

This prompted a swift response from Tea Party hobbit Rosie Cotton… er, excuse me, Sharron Angle, who pointed out that the hobbits won their desperate struggle against the bloated orc bureaucracy and Sauron’s deficit-fueled manufacture of soul-destroying rings.  She also recalled something that McCain appears to have forgotten: he campaigned for her.

One man in Washington, who chose Sarah Palin to be his VP running-mate and came to Nevada to campaignfor me last year in the Senate race against Harry Reid, is now promoting attacks against TEA Party activists, ordinary American citizens, and fiscally conservative members of congress – all of whom are adamantly opposed to continuing the deficit-spending strategies proposed by some congressional members and the President.

Ironically, this man campaigned for TEA Party support in his last re-election, but now throws Christine O’Donnell and I into the harbor with Sarah Palin. As in the fable, it is the hobbits who are the heroes and save the land. This Lord of the TARP actually ought to read to the end of the story and join forces with the TEA Party, not criticize it.

It is regrettable that a man seeking dialogue, action and cooperation for votes on the floor of the United States Senate has only one strategy to achieve that effort: name-calling. Nice.

Angle didn’t like the substance of McCain’s argument any more than its Tolkien trappings:

While Senator McCain advocates raising the debt ceiling as a solution, world markets and credit rating industries propose to down-grade our credit worthiness, impacting the value of the U.S. dollar and the state of our economy because of our world-famous spending problem.

Senator McCain can continue on with his borrowed soliloquies, just as he can continue to vote to raise our nation’s debt ceiling – all in an effort to spend money that we don’t have, to fund programs and policies that don’t work, with a currency that continues to lose its value.

Meanwhile, we look forward to meeting members of Congress and the President at the polls in 2012… when ‘We the People’ choose the names we call to serve us in Washington – and we will keep in mind those who supported increasing our nation’s mountain of debt, what could be called their very own Mount Doom.

Thanks for putting Harry Reid back in the Senate instead of this lady, Nevada voters!  America is still paying for it.  Boy, are we ever paying for it.

Speaking of Harry Reid, he’s planted on the bridge of Khazad-dum, gripping a staff that cost taxpayers a trillion dollars, and shrieking “We… shall… not… pass… this… bill!” at John Boehner.  He vows that the plan McCain and the Journal editors felt free to push by insulting the most crucial voters of the 2012 election will die in the Senate.  If the Democrats are convinced they can win a political victory by gambling with America’s future, why don’t we keep sending them legislation that actually would address the deficit in a serious way?  That’s what Aragorn would do.