Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
I have previously made the case that the TanMan, Weeper of the House John Boehner, is the "WORST. SPEAKER. EVER." The man is terrible at his job. No speaker has ever been held hostage by a radical minority within his own caucus the way that Boehner is held hostage by the Tea Party. This was inconceivable with past Speakers of the House.
On Thursday, the TanMan held his weekly press conference and pushed a new GOPropaganda message in the so-called "fiscal cliff" austerity crisis negotiations that Boehner seemed excited about: "Spending is the problem." As Steve Benen explains, Sorry, Boehner, spending isn't the problem:
By focusing solely on one side of the ledger, Boehner hopes to push the
debate onto more comfortable terrain. He doesn't want a debate about
reducing the debt and moving towards a balanced budget; he wants a
debate about shrinking government. This isn't about finding a
post-election compromise with those who won with broad public support;
this is about the Republican crusade to cut public investments and
weaken public institutions for purely ideological ends.
The flaw in Boehner's pitch? Spending is not the problem.
For Republicans, it's an incontrovertible fact that President Obama
has thrown caution to wind and increased spending dramatically in his
first term, writing checks like there is no tomorrow. In reality,
government spending has gone down as a percentage of GDP, a fact that's been documented many, many
times. What's more, Obama accepted $1 trillion in spending cuts just
last year, and the White House is offering additional spending cuts as
part the ongoing fiscal talks.
It's true that spending is set to
increase in the coming years, but that's not because rascally Democrats
are fiscally irresponsible; it's because of an aging population and
rising health care costs.
There are modest steps we can take now
to deal with these long-term fiscal challenges, but to date, Republicans
have opposed all of them.
We can also go one step further, and
ask the House Speaker where his plan to cut spending is, if in fact,
spending is the problem. Boehner has initiated these fiscal talks, but
has not yet produced a detailed plan to do, well, anything — we don't
know exactly what kind of cuts he wants in social insurance programs; we
don't know exactly where he intends to find new revenue; and we don't
know exactly what spending cuts he expects to see.
Steve Benen adds more detail today, 'They have only moved backwards':
Boehner visited the White House yesterday for another chat with the
president and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, but by all indications,
everyone is just spinning their wheels. A senior administration official
told the New York Times
the House GOP leader "has not given on revenue and has not identified
any cuts that he wants in exchange for rates." The official added that
Republicans "have only moved backwards since the beginning,"
* * *
Remember, it's been four weeks. If Republican leaders weren't
prepared to come to the table with specific ideas and policy details a
few days after the election, that's understandable. But a full month
later, with the deadline looming, and with a credible White House plan
already presented, all available evidence suggests GOP officials haven't
even done the first page of their homework assignment.
spending cuts, but won't offer any details as to which ones. They'll
accept new revenue, but won't say where it might come from. They want
"reforms" to social-insurance programs and entitlements, but won't point
to any details.
In the process, we're learning something important about how congressional Republicans think about governing.
More on this subject in the next post.