Saturday, August 13, 2011

The 10 to 1 Question and the Republican Quandary

I believe Barack Obama becomes more beatable every day, though he should probably still be favored in 2012 at this point.  Republicans are making up ground, and the slate of candidates is getting plenty of exposure.  So far, so good.  Then we get to the debate the other night, and this question:

“Democrats will demand that savings come from a combination of spending cuts and tax increases, maybe $3 in cuts for every $1 in higher taxes,” York noted. “Is there any ratio of cuts to taxes that you would accept? Three to one? Four to one? Or even 10 to one?”

Every single one of them answered no.  There was no conceivable deal for them that involved even a token tax increase.  This my friends, is the nature of the Republican Quandary.  No matter who we nominate, Barack Obama will have sufficient evidence of the intractability and the extremism of the modern Republican Party, and he would need only point directly at this exchange.   He'll be able to say to moderate, swing voters (who I believe, are trending our way), "look--I'm the only hope you have against an onslaught in which these guys control everything.  Look how irrational they are--they'd walk away from a deal in which spending were cut 10 dollars for every 1 dollar.  They are worse than Yassir Arafat when it comes to not being able to recognize the deal of a lifetime.  You cannot trust the future of this country to them."  Do I believe this?  No.  Do I believe Dems will say it?  Absolutely.  Will it work?  Probably.

Every active Republican Presidential candidate save Rick Perry--who will almost certainly be asked this question immediately--is on the record as saying there were no formula in which they would support raising revenue/taxes.  Want to hear how I would answer that question?

"Byron, of course I would take that deal.  And you know what?  So would every other person standing on this stage--if they were the occupant of the White House.  Those who say they wouldn't are either lying outright or are not ready to be President.  Do you realize what this deal would mean?  It means you could balance the budget NEXT YEAR.  Not ten years down the road after we've piled up another couple of trillion in debt--but NEXT YEAR.  It means that in the course of one year, we could deprive the federal government of substantial portion of the drain it represents on private activity and free markets--unleashing the real and raw power of both.  I honestly don't care if the answer to this question means the end of my candidacy.  I'm not going to lie to my Party, and I'm not going to treat the Republican electorate like children from whom I withhold bad news.  So yes--I would take the deal."

What is AMAZING to me is that all eight of them thought that their chances of being nominated were good enough that they didn't need to (or shouldn't) differentiate themselves from the others on this question.  Some would say that is a sign of how strongly held the notion of no taxes is within the Republican Party.  Perhaps.  But I would suggest that it also bespeaks a certain level of "tell the primary voters what they want to hear and then tack back to the center in the general election" tactics.  I don't think that's what voters want anymore.  I think they want leadership.


Anonymous said...

Great analysis Bryan, and for the record, I agree, I'd take 10-1 if it was verifiable. - Jerry

Mudge said...
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Mudge said...

Ditto--IF I could absolutely be assured that the 10 cuts were real. So far, I believe ZERO POINT ZERO of what this Administration claims when they announce "cuts." When a reduction in the rate of spending growth equates to 'dramatic cuts' in their lexicon, I have no confidence whatsoever in saying, okay, NOW you can take more of my money. I think that is the unsaid part of the GOP candidates' intractability--the knowledge that the other side's intractability (which gets a daily "pass" in the media) on spending is (thinly) veiled in deception and double-speak. Nope, don't give 'em one additional red cent until we get verifiable REAL cuts.

Sally said...

You are right, of course, in the dream response you crafted. Look at the risk, though-that honesty is not always a winner. When Mondale said 'we're both going to raise taxes, I'm just going to be honest with you about it,' how did that work out for him? Look at the potential commercials-'here's Candidate X, the only Republican in the field who will raise taxes.'
If you're following things closely, and many Americans are not, those sound bites are killers.
If there were 8 Democrats on that stage, and they were asked the question 'is there any ratio of Social Security/Medicare cuts you would accept to get billions in tax increases' I guarantee they'd say all say no too.

"The Hammer" said...
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"The Hammer" said...
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"The Hammer" said...

Of course one would take that deal, if one thought our problems were on the revenue side of the ledger. But they aren't.

No deal.

Doc Milnamo said...

You nailed it, "I think they want leadership." Yes I do.

Anonymous said...

Any politician to say they would never raise taxes under any circumstances automatically disqualifies them in my book. have people forgot about 9/11? So if we were to be invaded or attached again and had to advance a military response, wouldn't the no tax pledge inhibit our ability to respond? how are going to pay for the replacement of our interstate highways and bridges? Rarely in the last 100 years has the private sector paid for infrastructure out of their pockets. And what about schools? No new taxes means no no schools event though our population continues to grow. And as people live longer, they are going to require more medical care. Unless you think it is ok to throw seniors out of the hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities, that expense is going only increase. The next time someone says no new taxes, take them to a VA hospital or a nursing home.

My two cents.

"The Hammer" said...

You two cents are worth just that, two useless, worthless cents!

Here's a radical idea, if grandma gets old and can't afford her meds, let her children pay for them. If our population continues to grow because our government refuses to control immigration (both legal and illegal) let the immigrants pay for their own education. Otherwise they can join the ranks of the underclass and pluck our chickens and pick our cucumbers or, in the alternative, get the hell out!

You may say that's wrong, that we have a moral obligation to take care of the poor. I say you and people like you have used the poor as a vehicle to feather your own nest, at other people's expense. But that's a liberal speciality isn't it? Using other people's money ostensibly for all kinds of do-good reasons when in fact it's all about the money. Furthermore if our government had not been so corrupt and inept for these past decades we would have money for those things you reference. But we've been too busy spending money on union boondoggles, abortion services and political action groups, among other things. And let's not forget the TRILLIONS we've pissed away on the grand-daddy of all boondoggles "The War on Poverty".

Anon, you are a statist. You believe in the collective. You wish to be a farm animal...feed, looked after, worked, controlled and sometimes slaughtered all at the whim of the powers that be. No actually I think you've deluded yourself into believing you'd be the farmer controlling the productive people, like me.

Well sorry asshole, ain't gonna happen! You have no right to my life, my liberty or my property. And I will resist you with deadly force if you attempt to take away my God given rights. That's as plain as I know how to put it...and I ain't alone.

Uncle Willie said...

C.W. if your blog had any class at all you lost it when you gave "Hammer" open gangway.

Anonymous said...

Interesting but true conversation at the Bozeman,MT airport yesterday:

Friendly Cashier: Just the two postcards, ma'am?

Me: Yes, that's it.

FC: That'll be one dollar even.

Me: No tax?

FC: No, our governor knows how to balance our budget.

Me: You don't want to know where I live [DC].

Does the average American also believe that the deficit can be fixed without taxes? I think so.

Recently, the Congressional Page program was scrapped all together, saving $5 million a year. Really, we spent $5 million a year on roughly 75 unpaid, teenage interns?

Why is it we cannot work with a balanced budget?

Anonymous said...

Hammer, people in glass houses don't throw stones, think about it.

Anonymous said...

This is how sad the parties have become that they need to lie and deceive to get elected. The simple answer is "I will do what needs to be done to get the country on the right track. This may mean tax increases. Everything should be on the table and examined and discussed.

Anyone who says different is not being fair to all Americans: poor, middle class, rich and super rich.

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