Memo to GOP Congress: More Boldness Needed

The thread about Speaker Boehner led me to put in a comment that agreed with the main point about Speaker Boehner, he’s done a good job so far , but there is legitimate concern and unease. A simple way to express how Speaker Boehner needs to recalibrate:  MORE BOLDNESS NEEDED.

We see this clearly in this FY2011 deal. We went from $100 billion in promised cuts, in a budget that is bloated by hundreds of billions, then we compromised down to only $61 billion, then it was turned into a ‘deal’ where supposedly Boehner got most of what he wanted at $38 billion, and now we find $22 billion of that was smoke-and-mirrors and the real Obama spending items are still there.  So we got a mere $16 billion in cuts.

All you need do is compare the FY 2006 with FY2010 budgets to see this. Bush the ‘big spender” proposed a $2.57 trillion budget:


Total spending for FY 2006 ended up around $2.6 trillion. So why is there ANY excuse to have, in an era of supposed austerity, a budget any larger than 20% above that level, which would be around $3 trillion? that extra $800 billioin above that is stimulus (wasnt that temporary?), CHIP, domestic discretionary, new Obama programs (more govt programs). etc. etc. Big Government to the max. This has led to Government spending at the Federal leve that eats up 25% of GDP and more, higher than at any time in US history except during WWII.

We are way up in the stratosphere at $3.8 trillion, and the FY 2011 ‘deal’ shaved only $16 billion for real, in a budget bloated by the above reckoning by about $600 BILLION.  When viewed in the context of the real spending cut opportunity space, this was a pathetic deal. $16 billion versus $600 billion, we got about 3% of what we need to do.

We need to be much more bold and talk about the need to CUT HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS IN SPENDING IN THE UPCOMING BUDGET.

1. I find it very interesting that you are naming names when it comes to the staffers who are helping / not helping here. (Like Conryn’s NRSC missteps, lots of errors are driven by having the wrong staff – Morton Blackwell had a rule on that.) This puts them on notice as to how closely they are being watched. Keep it up! Tell us the wimps and the stars, and send a message: BOLDNESS IS NEEDED.

2. We are doing SO MUCH to get the Democrats off the hook politically, its laughable. Why? We NEED this to be a fight. The instinct to avoid conflict with the Democrats is the RINO way, a failed and flawed way that destroys our ability to show the stark differences between the parties on the ONE MAIN ISSUE WHERE THE GOP HAS A CLEAR ADVANTAGE. We should NEVER be cutting back-room deals or cutting them slack. We should never relent on reminding that the last 3 years were an egregious deviation and we must fix it NOW, and not let stimulus over-spending become the ‘baseline’ for bloated Government. Be bold and attack!

3. The approach on the ‘negotiations’ going 3-way was wrong. Boehner should have insisted on the Senate coming up with and passing real legislation. THAT would have put the Democrats on record with their plan, which then could be picked apart (notice how the Democrats are in total attack mode over the Ryan plan, but where is there plan – they did not have a budget at all for purely political reasons, they knew their plans were politically indefensible). the second thing it would do is get the Senate GOP in the loop and make the Senate more the ‘compromise’ AND it would even the odds. Boehner in a 3-way with Reid and obama is a prescription for GOP giveaways, but a House-Senate one-on-one, when you have 47 GOP senators and 23 Dems up for re-election? Much better odds. Be BOLD enough to keep it out in the open.

4. We know now that most of the $38 billion was smoke and mirrors. It was a bad deal, and it would have certainly been made better had it been in the open, see #3. DONT FALL FOR IT AGAIN. That is inside-the-beltway same-old same-old. Boehner needs to stand up and tell Obama and Reid their midnight sessions are not right – BOLDNESS NEEDED.

5. The Ryan plan is bold? Really? It locks in the extravagent 25% of GDP budget as a baseline and gradually winnows it down over 10 years. Here’s the numbers – sticking spending way up at the $3.6 trillion level, instead of knocking off the spending now:


Ryan spending plan is $3.529 trillion in FY2012, $3.559 in FY 2013.

No good enough – the GOP FY2012 budget plan should be cutting about $400 billion in one year from the Obama budget, which is bloated by $400billionrelative to where we would be based on a trajectory from the 2006 budget. So, use the 2006 budget as baseline and spend a population and inflation adder for 2012 and you would get $400 BILLION OFF, or around $3.1 trillion instead of $3.5-3.6 trillion – not off some extravagant Obama plan – $400 billion off The RYAN PLAN.

To put it another way. Obama overspends by at least $10 trillion in his $40+ trillion 10-year budget, with a proposed $4.4 trillion in spending by FY 2016. Ryan plan cuts about $6 trillion of that off, but is off the mark by about $4 trillion from whee we need to be. RYAN PLAN STILL SPENDS TOO MUCH. The RSC and Rand Paul plans get closer, and one benefit of getting closer is that they actually get to balance in 8 years. the RSC plan is the plan we really should be selling, if not one that CUTS MORE and CUTS SOONER.  A $3.1 trillion FY 2012 BUDGET … now THAT would be bold, and NECESSARY, to get the deficit down from the stratosphere NOW. MORE BOLDNESS REQUIRED.

And let us not think such a thing, cutting the budget a mere 10% in a single year, is impossible or even hard. After WWII, the US cut the Federal budget over 3 years by 2/3rds. Nor should we think $3.2 trillion in FY 2012 is austere, it is about 20% of GDP, above the post-war average spending. What makes FY2012 BOLD is that it would FORCE the elimination of all of the added spending programs enacted in the past 5 years. Including repealing Obamacare and much more.

6. MAKE A BIG DEAL OVER THE DEBT CEILING. Failure to utilize every tool available to move the center of gravity on tax and spend is a failurer of leadership. Here is what Boehner needs to extract from the Debt Ceiling vote:
Defund Obamacare. Do ifs, no ands, no buts, no excuses. NOTHING HAPPENS WITHOUT THE HOUSE AGREEING. This is a bill that the majority in the House and the majority in the Senate will want to greatly amend. And the majority of the people agree. GO TO THE MAT – NOW – ON DEFUNDING OBAMACARE AND KILLING THE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE.

It can be done. Will Obama veto it? Ahem, what exactly will cause Obama to get defeated if have a happy-smiley bipartisan ‘deal’ of mush that does nothing and sends the signal that the GOP wont change a thing? Do we not remember that the 1994 GOP Congress had to send the welfare bill to Clinton 3 TIMES to get him to sign? And that in the end Clinton DID sign to get re-elected? You think ignoring the #1 cause of bloated Government spending is OPTIONAL?!? No Mr Speaker, BOLDNESS is required to get any progress. YOU MUST CONTINUE TO PUT OBAMACARE DEFUNDING AND REPEAL IN EVERY BILL AND EVERY BUDGET. IT MUST BE A LINE IN THE SAND.

7. Ignore the media. Know that by your actions, you will be setting the agenda and can make your points clearly on that basis.

So here is the path to boldness:

  • Keep negotiations out in the open through the legislative process, forcing Democrats on the record
  • Defund and repeal Obamacare – again and again and again
  • Pass a $3.2 trillion FY 2012 budget, $350 billion below the Ryan plan – make the cuts NOW
  • Put obamacare repeal and spending caps into the debt ceiling vote – give NO free passes to the Democrats or Obama

If Boehner and the GOP fails, the autopsy of their failure will read: “MORE BOLDNESS NEEDED”