It’s mindblowing that Democrats get to simultaneously push for $700 billion in defense cuts while demanding the government retain expansionary spending programs. The Republicans who are willing to trade robust national security to avert tax hikes have deeply flawed priorities, but at least those are identifiable priorities that can bedebated.
But Democrats are pushing cuts in military spending while insisting that what we need is more spending because spending as such – in the Keynesian sense where we should pay people to dig holes rather than let scared money stay on the sidelines — is good. That’s closer to sheer incoherence.
John Boehner, t
So in the end, it was bit of a Ronald Reagan moment for John Boehner on Saturday. Just as the U.S. president walked away from a bad arms control agreement with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev at Reykjavik, Iceland in 1986, the House speaker passed on President Barack Obama’s mega-debt reduction deal in Washington.
In both case, the asking price was just too high. For Reagan, it was lethal limitations on his Strategic Defense Initiative. For Boehner, it was a trillion-dollar tax distraction from America’s true fiscal threat: spending run amok: “Despite good-faith efforts to find common ground, the White House will not pursue a bigger debt reduction agreement without tax hikes.”
A GOP congressional source was a bit less diplomatic, telling me Saturday afternoon via email:
"Their fierce insistence on higher taxes is beyond bizarre. After months of demanding ‘clean’ increase to avert economic calamity (default), WH threatens economic calamity (default) unless they get economic calamity (trillions in tax hikes). No wonder these guys are governing over an economic calamity (9.2% & growth malaise), w/ an economic calamity on the horizon (debt explosion as mapped out in president’s budget). The bipartisan consensus on tax reform (broader base & lower rates) was championed by President’s fiscal commission, and yet now is being rebuked by the President. Lowering top rates that would help make America more competitive was too large a leap for a true class warrior."