Get Off Your Duffs and Make a Deal

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.

24 thoughts on “Get Off Your Duffs and Make a Deal

  1. Dear Bt,
    What if. What IF…people cared more about the good for all, instead of the good for just themselves? What a world that would be. It’s a good thing to remember, and I’ll try to make that happen in my own life…what if *I* cared more about the good for all, instead of just the good for me and my family?
    Food for thought♥ Thanks BT.
    Love, Lis

    • Great comment Lis. When I find myself being too selfish, I need to repeat that mantra. We need more greater good thinking like you espoused. Thanks for reading and commenting. Best regards, BTG

    • That would involve a return to the “public virtue” the colonists preached about just prior to the revolution. They were convinced that Americans would never succumb to self-interest. (A blog is in the works on this. Stay tuned!)

  2. I so agree “for the good of all.” My vision is hoards and herds of believers, on their haunches just waiting to get behind the President…if he would only stand tall and Lead. Just lead. Plain and simple. There is a following….does he not know it. How can he not?
    Honestly…how can he not know?

    • I am with you. Bill Maher summarized all he has done and it is a pretty impressive list. If he did what you say and said this is what we need to do and let’s get it done, then he would get us off some of the inertia. One of my pet peeves about politicians is sanctioning a study to show you are doing something, then ignore the findings. Simpson-Bowles was handed to him on a platter in early December 2010 when he had a majority in the house. If he had only said – this is a terrific working draft, I move that we start with this and show good reason as to why something recommended should not be done. An eco-energy strategy is another effort that should be undertaken. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      • Thank you for that. Yes…and I do recall when Brother Bill took office and began reducing the defict. He just said to “us”…this is what we need to do “for the good of all”…and…this is how we are going to do it. And…WE ALL DID IT!!! That is what is so frustrating. We’ve done it before….and we are ready to do it again.
        Just tell us when…..please.
        (apologies…I’m done now)

    • Thanks for stopping by. It is funny, Ben Bernanke was criticized yesterday by some Republicans for being political. His retort is I am trying to do my job and help stimulate the economy. That makes one who is more focused on his job. Yet, if Romney wins he will fire this excellent public servant, whose cache and grasp of the financial crisis in September – October, 2008 may have saved this country. It is not lost on me that both he and Elizabeth Warren have come under GOP fire. She is an excellent public servant as well.

      • I agree with the change of mind stuff. I heard it on PBS Newshour or BBC World News America last night from a Wall Street Journal reporter, yet that does not make it so. These news shows tend to get it right more than not. It could all just be posturing, who knows?

  3. I heard about Romney dumping Bernanke again last night by Judy Woodruff in front of David Brooks and Ruth Marcus, subbing for Mark Shields. Doesn’t make it correct, but two times make a trend. Of course, he could change his mind again.

  4. Great post as always. I read a document that was released yesterday from the Office of Management and Budget that shows the indiscrimate armeggedon that will happen to federal programs if the automatic cuts go into place. I think what we need is a scapel, not an atomic weapon here to use the words from the last presidential campaign. It is so frustrating and I agree – if Congress can’t find a way to work together to solve this problem, they are wasting our time and money. But the tea-partiers are making common sense compromises nearly impossible. Very tricky. Thanks for another thoughtful post! And I am with Lis – all we can really do is make a personal commitment to care more for others – if we all could just do that, maybe we could start to move the needle.

  5. How this country’s politicians will gladly cut off their own noses to spite their faces…all out of loyalty to Grover freaking Norquist. Unbelievable!

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