Should We Kick the Can?

 Posted by at 3:48 am  Politics
Feb 082013

Several times in the last few weeks, I have said that I would rather suffer the spending cuts in the sequester than a ‘grand bargain’ that reduces benefits, that present and future Social Security and/or Medicare recipients have earned with their life-long payroll deductions.  On that, I have not changed.  However, I have also strongly opposed kicking the can down the road, and on that issue, Paul Krugman has made some arguments that are leading me to defer to his wisdom on that point.

8KickTheCanJohn Boehner, the speaker of the House, claims to be exasperated. “At some point, Washington has to deal with its spending problem,” he said Wednesday. “I’ve watched them kick this can down the road for 22 years since I’ve been here. I’ve had enough of it. It’s time to act.”

Actually, Mr. Boehner needs to refresh his memory. During the first decade of his time in Congress, the U.S. government was doing just fine on the fiscal front. In particular, the ratio of federal debt to G.D.P. was a third lower when Bill Clinton left office than it was when he came in. It was only when George W. Bush arrived and squandered the Clinton surplus on tax cuts and unfunded wars that the budget outlook began deteriorating again.

But that’s a secondary issue. The key point is this: While it’s true that we will eventually need some combination of revenue increases and spending cuts to rein in the growth of U.S. government debt, now is very much not the time to act. Given the state we’re in, it would be irresponsible and destructive not to kick that can down the road.

Start with a basic point: Slashing government spending destroys jobs and causes the economy to shrink.

This really isn’t a debatable proposition at this point. The contractionary effects of fiscal austerity have been demonstrated by study after study and overwhelmingly confirmed by recent experience — for example, by the severe and continuing slump in Ireland, which was for a while touted as a shining example of responsible policy, or by the way the Cameron government’s turn to austerity derailed recovery in Britain… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

Photo credit: Washington Post

I think he is right.  I’m all for increasing revenue, because, as a percentage of the GDP, it is at a record low, but if we can’t come to a deal that leaves the big three alone, I’d rather put off the decision until another time.  I know that is a change, but when I have been wrong, I say so.


  18 Responses to “Should We Kick the Can?”

  1. I am in favor of no deal that in any way cuts SS, Medicare or Medicaid.

  2. I agree with you TC.

  3. Mitch McConnell already, stupidly, let the cat out of the bag during Obama's first year in office.  He said publicly that the GOP would not, under any circumstances, pass any of Obama's legislation during his presidency.  This was to see Obama fail.  It is wonderful the way that backfired on the GOP.  But I make this point becaue Boehner's whining about the deficit is something neither Boehner nor the other trolls under the GOP bridge could care less about.  Boehner may say he's had enough of it, but trust me, if a republican was (mis)leading the country and racking up the deficit, Boehner would be a quietly happy fat cat.

    The GOP would not pass legislation  of the president's under any circumstances.  They woudn't even pass Obama legislation  if it was designed to reduce the deficit and give money to those GOP icons, the Koch brothers.  .

    You know, if I am wrong and Mr. Boehner is sincere, then  I am doing him a disservice.  Why don't we, in an  effort to give him a chance to prove his veracity, get a petition up to have him and all the other whiners in the GOP donate their Super PAC leftover millions to help pay off the deficit?  Bet we really hear some whining then! 

  4. Bone-head said:"“I’ve watched them kick this can down the road for 22 years since I’ve been here. I’ve had enough of it. It’s time to act.” NOW??????? Seriously? He WATCHED for the 22 YEARS he's been there, but NOW he wants to do something? No matter what the Real cost is in pain & suffering?? SUDDENLY he has Principles??? I'm so sick of Bu$h League LIARS & profiteers!!! Can't we start kicking CONgre$$ional "cans" down the road?? 

  5. It was only when George W. Bush arrived and squandered the Clinton surplus on tax cuts and unfunded wars that the budget outlook began deteriorating again.

    No deal with any cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid… 💡

  6. John Boehner said:

    At some point, Washington has to deal with its spending problem, …I’ve watched them kick this can down the road for 22 years since I’ve been here. I’ve had enough of it. It’s time to act.

    I personally think the phrase should be, although Boehner would not say this: At some point, Washington has to deal with its politician problem.

    It has taken Boehner 22 years, the squandering of a Democratic surplus (after Clinton), 1 illegal war, 1 questionable war, unnecessary tax cuts to the 1% and corporations, countless stupid decisions like the USPS debacle and the focus on repealing Obamacare 33 times, 2 fiscal cliffs, . . . etc etc ad nauseam to realise there is a problem?  Not a very intelligent person this John Boehner!  As I said, it IS a politician problem, not a spending problem.

    Realistically, we’re not going to resolve our long-run fiscal issues any time soon, which is O.K. — not ideal, but nothing terrible will happen if we don’t fix everything this year. Meanwhile, we face the imminent threat of severe economic damage from short-term spending cuts.

    So we should avoid that damage by kicking the can down the road. It’s the responsible thing to do.

    My question is, how far down the road?  If it is until the US is in full recovery, then there needs to be a lot of new progressive political blood in Washington that understands some economics and is not playing up to the 1%, corporations and banksters.  Europe is proving just how ill conceived austerity only is.  Previous US administrations, both Democratic and Republican I might add, have proven that government spending, not gratuitous spending, but prudent spending, is better for stimulation of the economy.

    Also, SS, Medicare and Medicaid cannot be on the table for both moral and financial reasons, not that morals would ever stop the Republican/Teabaggers.



    • The biggest cause of the deficit now is low tax revenue from the Republican Recession.  The more the exom ony recovers, the more people are working and paying taxes, and the fewer people are needy and collecting benefits.  That is the fastest way to shrink the deficit.

      More than a Politician problem, what we have is a Republican  problem.

  7. I hate it when I forget something in my comment.

    The GOP is ideologically constipated!

    2014 is coming! Deal with the political problem by cleaning the House and Senate of the Republican/Teabaggers and DINOs.

  8. The last unemployment statistics showed that the biggest job loss was in government jobs, that is driving up the unemployment rate.  I know most people thing government workers don't really work, but how do they think they get their unemployment checks, social security checks, get their roads paved and cleared after a storm, get their taxes credited, etc?  Most states are cutting government jobs to make up for the tax deficits caused by high unemployment rates.  Can't they see cause and effect?

    We are rabid Kentucky basketball fans.  Today, Boehner showed up at the Ky/Auburn game wearing a Ky jacket. It made me ill.

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