Friday, December 13, 2013

Wait. "Compromise" IS a Bad Word

Compromise: a change that makes something worse and that is not done for a good reason

So, Paul Ryan has agreed to sell out Conservatives because Democrats might say mean things about Republicans.  Again.  The "compromise" bill to which Mr. Ryan agreed will increase discressionary spending for FY 2014 from the ~970 Billion that was written into the 2011 Budget Act by about 300 Billion dollars (to approximately 1,025 Billion).  FY 2015 spending would go up from there.

We are told that this is a "compromise" between House Republicans and Senate Democrats.  See, Democrats wanted to spend All The Money, so anything less than that is a win, right?  Wrong.  Even after the sequester cuts (which could have been avoided by Democrats negotiating in good faith), our debt has still grown.  When your out-go is higher than your income you have a problem, and the politicians in Washington, DC refuse to address the problem.

As pointed out on the PowerLine blog, the sequester itself was a "compromise."  So why must it now be the Republican's starting position?  Shouldn't Republicans honestly contend for what their constituents want- a balanced budget?  Had Mr. Ryan started from that position, we might have had a "compromise" that was an actual "meeting in the middle."  Had Mr. Ryan, or any Republican, really, been able to articulate why even sequester level spending is still too high, perhaps the new "compromise" would have been to lower spending again.

Instead, by using sequester as the starting point, the new plan increases spending and taxes.

But that, perhaps, is the worst part.  You see, the plan not only increases taxes, but it hides them.  No politician in his right mind would vote to increase the income tax rate.  Despite what the MFM would have you believe, we're still muddling along in a financial quagmire.  We might not meet the technical definition of a Recession, but for many families, a Recession is still their reality.

But rather than decrease spending, Washington Politicians want to increase spending.  Mr. Ryan, having run as a Budget Hawk, can't do that without somehow being able to say he's "decreasing the deficit" and obvious tax increases are off the table, so what can he do?  Hike "fees."  There is also some talk of decreasing Federal Employee pensions but a) I'll believe that when I see it and b) the numbers talked about there are inconsequential in relation to the size of the budget.

Some will claim that by raising "fees" Mssrs. Ryan and Murray are giving people a way to avoid taxes.  Aren't fees a "usage tax?"  Well yes, and then again no.  For one thing, Mssrs. Ryan and Murray don't want you to forego the activities they will now be taxing a higher rate.  They want you to do more of those things (which is counter-intuitive and, frankly, stupid, but whatever).  For another, the things they've chosen are activities it is hard to avoid.

Certainly I can choose to drive on vacation instead of fly, but what about a business traveler?  I have known and worked with a fair number of people who lived and worked 3 weeks out of every 4 in Illinois, and the other week in Texas.  If they had to drive instead of fly, that would be a huge cost to them and the company.  So they'll suck up the extra fee.  So will many families on vacation (who really wants to spend 4 days of a 7 day vacation in a car?).

Indeed this is a "compromise," but not in the way Mr. Ryan would have you believe.  This is a cave, a capitulation.  It is a complete forfeiture of Fiscally Conservative principle.  Spending does not need to increase faster (remember, even the sequester was a cut in the rate of growth, not a "cut" as you and I understand it).  Spending needs to decrease.  Failing that, it certainly needs to increase yet slower than it is.

But the Republicans are afraid Democrats and the Media (BIRM) will say mean things about them.  So of course their first and only option is to sell out Conservatives.  Again.

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