The newspaper this morning had the headline “Moody’s: Make deal or lose rating.” The article is referencing Moody’s, one of the leading global bond-rating organizations, who has forewarned Congress and the President that they will downgrade the US government debt to beneath an AAA rating should they not reach a deficit reduction deal and let the automatic cuts hit. This comes on the heals of Standard & Poor’s decision to do the same last summer when an impasse was reached. Note, this was following the failure to gain Congressional approval of a negotiated agreement between Speaker John Boehner and the President which had spending cuts along with a modest tax increase.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush called this negotiated agreement a “no brainer” in July of this year and used it as an example of how extreme the Republican Party has become. Yet, Boehner could not garner the votes as it had a tax increase which the Grover Norquist and Tea Party crowd have decided is a non-starter. As noted, in many earlier posts, this independent voter has repeated a data-based mantra that we must include tax increases as well as spending cuts citing data that we are one of the least taxed countries in the world and were in 2000, before the Bush tax cuts and when our budget was last balanced.
While the Republicans deserve most of the blame for this failure and heard from many about their shortcomings in Congress, the President is culpable as well. While he has done a much better job with the economy than given credit for, my two greatest beefs with him have been in not managing expectations and not embracing the Simpson-Bowles Deficit Reduction Plan. Yet, we need the Republicans to become better stewards of our country as well. We cannot take a lever off the table to solve the problem. We must have more tax revenue. The math will not work otherwise. And, as an Old Fart, let me say this again – any dumb ass can get elected saying he or she will cut taxes. By my count, we have too many people in positions of power acting like dumb asses.
That needs to stop now. Speaker Boehner, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell and President Obama, I must insist as a taxpayer you stop worrying about keeping your job and do your job. Speaker Boehner you said on the news last night that you don’t think you can get it done. That is unacceptable. Get it done and make a deal. If the US is downgraded because the GOP won’t consider any tax increases, then I lay most of the blame at your feet. Mr. President, I know it is more expedient for you to only raise taxes on the top end, but that is not enough. The Bush tax cuts were ill-advised then and we are still arguing over them today. Either let them expire or continue them for one year and move toward Simpson-Bowles in 2014. And, Governor Mitt Romney, we need you and the GOP platform to get real. Your idea on a tax cut is extremely lame and shows very poor stewardship. I know you don’t seem to care about the fact checkers and the Congressional Budget Office, but your proposal is deficit increasing.
I am being critical of the President, but he is at least talking about our problems with reasonable ideas. Yet, the American people need even more candor. And, from where I sit, I don’t see many good answers from Romney or the GOP. Trickle down economics does not work – if it did it would have a better name. To me, it is saying give me your money as a wealthy person and I will pea on your head. How is that for trickle down? And, if you do not agree with me, David Stockman, one of Ronald Reagan’s advisors says it did not work and President George H.W. Bush who was Reagan’s Vice President called it “voodoo economics” during his campaign against Reagan. They both are right.
So, Congress and Mr. President you are back at work. Former Senator Alan Simpson and Former Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles have done your heavy lifting for you. Get off your duffs and make a deal. Do not wait until the election. Worry more about doing your job than keeping you job. The American people deserve this and you need to earn their respect.