The man who should be the first pick to replace the departing Larry Summers has just publish his latest piece analyzing the new GOP "Pledge to
AIG America" and his prognosis is not - how do you say - good.
On Thursday, House Republicans released their "Pledge to America," supposedly outlining their policy agenda. In essence, what they say is, "Deficits are a terrible thing. Let’s make them much bigger." The document repeatedly condemns federal debt — 16 times, by my count. But the main substantive policy proposal is to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, which independent estimates say would add about $3.7 trillion to the debt over the next decade — about $700 billion more than the Obama administration’s tax proposals.
So the GOP want's to cut spending, but what exactly do they propose to actually cut? Well just about everything except for "common-sense exceptions for seniors, veterans, and our troops." But what do they list specifically?
On TARP and "unspent" Stimulus funds - which they claim would save a whopping - $16 Billion. Let than 1/2 of 1 percent of the Tax Cuts they want to make permanent.
Oh and by the way, 40% of the Stimulus were tax cuts and tax credits that haven't been "spent" because people have filed to take advantage of them - which means the GOP would be raising their taxes.
Howard Gleckman of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has done the math. As he points out, the only way to balance the budget by 2020, while simultaneously (a) making the Bush tax cuts permanent and (b) protecting all the programs Republicans say they won’t cut, is to completely abolish the rest of the federal government: "No more national parks, no more Small Business Administration loans, no more export subsidies, no more N.I.H. No more Medicaid (one-third of its budget pays for long-term care for our parents and others with disabilities). No more child health or child nutrition programs. No more highway construction. No more homeland security. Oh, and no more Congress."
The "pledge," then, is nonsense.
In order to keep the tax cuts that GOP wants, we'd have to effectively dismantle nearly the entire rest of the Government except for Defense, Repeal Healthcare, Defund the Department of Energy, Education and of course NASA then - as we well know - they would then attempt to convert Medicaid to a Health Stamps Voucher program, put Social Security on the Stock Market and then privatize the VA as many of their members included the Paul Ryan "Roadmap" has outlined.
That "Roadmap" and this "Pledge" are to take this country over a financial cliff at full speed.
And even those on the Right don't like it much.
(The Pledge) is a significant boost for them, but it is not a homerun.
I'm think it's not even a sacrifice fly ball.
Club for Growth
In a blog post yesterday, Andrew Roth trashed Republicans as drafting a "weak" agenda, "silent" on earmarks and a balanced budget amendment, two core principles of fiscal conservatism. (And the earmarks thing is a little strange, given that the GOP already swore off them this year.)
"The Pledge has no teeth," Roth wrote. "Voters have no reliable assurances that House Republicans will behave appropriately."
Which is a rather ironic response since we now know that the author of the pledge, Bill Wild, is a former Club for Growth alumni.
Then there's Eric Erickson of Redstate
It is dreck -- dreck with some stuff I like, but like Brussels sprouts in butter. I like the butter, not the Brussels sprouts. Overall, this grand illusion of an agenda that will never happen is best spoken of today and then never again as if it did not happen. It is best forgotten.
And Neal Boortz...
"Up until right now, the focus was on the absolute disaster that is Democratic rule in Washington. Now, all of a sudden, the focus is on the Republican party," Boortz said. "Where's the word "tax reform" in this document? It's not there. Where's the phrase 'corporate income tax.' It's not there. Where is the Department of Education? It's not there."
This almost makes me believe that the GOP leadership is not nearly as confident as they pretend to be, and may have taken the wrong page from the Obama play book. The "Split-The-Baby" page, an approach that is relatively bland and "safe" which leaves no one on either side of the political divide feeling satisfied, and consequently pisses off everyone equally.
Congrats GOP, if this is your grand playbook your just about to enter the political Dog House - hope you enjoy the Beggin' Strips because that's about all you're likely to be eating for the next two years after you Fail to take over Congress.