On Debt Deal, Americans Want Compromise Not Grandstanding

Three new polls provide a warning to both sides of the debt negotiations, but mostly to Republicans.

As the clock ticks down to August 2nd and the unknown world that lies ahead if the debt ceiling isn’t raised, a trio of polls released over the past two days makes clear that what the public wants, and the risks the GOP is taking if it goes with the “no compromises” strategy that some in the House seem committed to.

First, we’ve got a new Gallup poll that finds that a majority of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, want a compromise:

Two-thirds of Americans would like government officials to agree to a compromise plan on the debt and budget deficit negotiations now underway. Fewer than 3 in 10 want lawmakers who share their views on the debt and budget deficit to hold out for their desired plan. A majority of Republicans, independents, and Democrats favor reaching a compromise.

These results, from a July 15-17 USA Today/Gallup poll, come as President Obama and congressional leaders continue to wrangle over a number of different types of agreements that could be reached in time to raise the debt ceiling before the Aug. 2 deadline.

Obama held two press conferences last week on this topic, and in each portrayed himself as willing to compromise, while arguing that not all Republican leaders have reciprocated. Rank-and-file Republicans, however, believe compromise is in order, with 57% saying leaders should agree to a compromise plan, even if it’s a plan the respondent disagrees with. Independents and Democrats are somewhat more likely to support a compromise.

The results are similar in the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released today:

As Democrats and Republicans wrestle over spending and deficits in advance of an Aug. 2 deadline to raise the debt ceiling, most Americans want their political leaders to compromise rather stand their ground, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Strong majorities of Democrats and independents prefer that Democratic congressional leaders make compromises in this budget debate, while almost 70 percent of independents want Republican leaders to do the same. And nearly six in 10 favor President Barack Obama’s proposal to lower the federal deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years by cutting federal spending, raising tax revenue from the wealthy and reducing some Medicare spending.

By comparison, only about a third of respondents prefer the House Republican proposal to reduce the deficit by $2.5 trillion over 10 years through cutting spending alone and not raising additional revenues.

Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted the survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff, says the public’s message can be summed up in one phrase: “Compromise and get it done.”

And the ABC News/Washington Post poll is sending the same message:

Majorities of Americans see both President Obama and congressional Republicans as not willing enough to compromise in their budget negotiations, but the public views the GOP leaders as particularly intransigent, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

There is also growing dissatisfaction among Republicans with the hard-line stance of their congressional representatives: Fifty-eight percent say their leaders are not doing enough to strike a deal, up from 42 percent in March.

While Republicans in Congress have remained united in their opposition to any tax increases, the poll finds GOP majorities favoring some of the specific changes advocated by the president, including higher income tax rates for the wealthiest Americans.

There is also broad dissatisfaction with Obama’s unwillingness to reach across the aisle: Nearly six in 10 of those polled say the president has not been open enough to compromise. Among independents, 79 percent say Republicans aren’t willing enough to make a deal, while 62 percent say the same of Obama.

Republicans may also be losing the war of perception about who stands with whom in the debates over the deficit and the economy. A majority view the president as more committed to protecting the interests of the middle class and small businesses, while large majorities see Republicans as defending the economic interests of big corporations and Wall Street financial institutions.

If there were an economic breakdown, neither side would escape blame. Forty-two percent say they would mostly hold the GOP responsible, and 36 percent say Obama would be at fault. But Republicans in Congress are also under increasing pressure from their own partisans.

(….)

Overall, more than six in 10 Americans say a plan to reduce the deficit should include a combination of spending cuts and new taxes, rather than exclusively one or the other. Big majorities of Democrats and independents and nearly half of all Republicans support the mixed approach.

One of the main reasons that the public seems to have moved toward a compromise position on a debt deal, even if it includes a debt ceiling increase, is that there now seems to be general acceptance of the idea that failure to do so would harm the economy. In all three polls, majorities of respondents, although a minority of Republicans, say that failing to raise the debt ceiling would cause problems for the economy. If you took t the same survey among House Republicans you would be unlikely to get similar numbers, and if you polled House Republican freshman, you’d probably get only a few who were willing to admit that not raising the debt ceiling would be a very bad idea.

Ed Morrissey is correct to point out that these poll numbers portend trouble for both sides of the debate if things go badly. Certainly, the economy going south will cause the President’s job approval numbers to take a hit regardless of the reason that it happened. However, as we head into the final  13 days of bargaining here, I think it’s the GOP that needs to be careful about how they play things here. The public wants a deal, mostly because they are beginning to recognize that the arguments of the debt kamikazes that we can somehow cut off 44% of federal spending in one month without suffering some economic consequences is nonsense. They also want a deal that is a compromise of the respective parties positions rather than the “stick to your guns” advice that the House GOP is getting from the activists. It strikes me that the party that is most likely to take the blame if things go wrong is the one that is perceived as having refused to compromise. So far, the Democrats and the Administration have done a very good job of making the Republicans appear to be that party, thanks largely to help from Republicans in the House and Senate themselves.

Steve Benen sums it up:

The American mainstream fears the consequences of failure, wants a debt-ceiling increase, expects new revenue, supports tax increases on the wealthy, wants Republicans to be more flexible in reaching a compromise, would blame Republicans if a deal doesn’t come together, and trusts President Obama more in dealing with this mess. This clearly isn’t what Boehner, McConnell, & Co. had in mind.

I disagree slightly with Benen here. I’ve said all along that I think that Boehner wants a deal. He’s been in Congress long enough to understand the consequences of not raising the debt ceiling, and the limits of the actual power that he has at the moment. McConnell, I think, knows this as well although he is also motivated by the desire to turn his Senate minority into a majority in 2012. I think both of them have maneuvered as best they can within the confines of their respective caucuses. Boehner is especially constrained because the influence of the Tea Party movement is much stronger in the House than the Senate. They know what votes they can deliver on a given deal, more or less, and that’s one of the things that has motivated their actions. If it was up to them, we’d have a deal, but it isn’t up to them.

So, we head into the final two weeks of this spectacle not knowing exactly what’s going to happen. If the GOP was smart, they’d take the best deal they could get on spending cuts even if it meant agreeing to revenue increases. That’s the most rational outcome, but we’re not exactly living in rational times. Personally, I fully expect this to go down to the wire, and I think the GOP will live to regret it.

 

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Congress, Deficit and Debt, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed for too young in July 2021.

Comments

  1. sam says:

    @Doug

    However, as we head into the final 13 days of bargaining here, I think it’s the GOP that needs to be careful about how they play things here.

    HaHa. “The GOP needs to be careful” — very droll … See, Greg Sargent, Conservatives whipping furiously to block McConnell proposal in House:

    It’s worth taking a moment to appreciate how deadly serious conservatives are about ensuring that the McConnell escape-hatch proposal, should it come to that, does not pass the House — perhaps leading to default with untold consequences to follow.

    The latest: Some eighty House Republicans have now signed a letter calling on GOP leaders not to even let the McConnell plan get to the floor for a vote, a GOP aide tells me.

    As I noted here yesterday, one key metric for judging whether the McConnell plan can get through the House is a letter that Tea Party-backed Rep. Joe Walsh is distributing among colleagues. He’s hoping to amass 100 members on the letter, which would be a strong statement of opposition that would call into question whether the McConnell plan has any chance of passing.

    The GOP aide tells me he’s roughly 20 signatures away from that goal. The letter with final signatories wil be released tonight.

    217 is the magic number. And some Democrats aren’t all that happy with the McConnell plan.

  2. Fiona says:

    I initially thought that, while it might come down to the wire, the “adults” (such as they are) in the Republican Party would be able to wrangle enough of their crazies in line to accept a deal and raise the debt ceiling. But I’m beginning to have my doubts. The crazy wing of the Republican Party seems hell bent at maintaining ideological purity at the cost of economic ruin. Appeals to rationality have no weight with them. We live in scary times.

  3. legion says:

    Doug,
    While true, your statement is also entirely irrelevant. What “the American people” want could not possibly matter less to the one cluster of hair-hanging fecal matter most responsible for this oncoming train wreck: the Teatards. I’ve been trying lately not to devolve into childish insults here, but I really can’t express proper derision and lack of respect for these idiots without it. These morons, ably (and aptly) represented by Cantor, were sent to Congress by equally stupid, gullible, and misinformed voters with one phrase on their lips – NO COMPROMISE. Even if it destroys the country, these unfettered boobs will not allow any forward motion on any vision but their own. They, and the Republican Elders that spawned them, are the ones who will bear the blame for the coming disaster, and the most disturbing part of all is that they will wear that blame like a badge of honor. “We bankrupted the world, just so we and the people we represent wouldn’t have to think too hard.”

  4. Ron Beasley says:

    Steve Benen also says that the Republicans big money boys are having some words with Eric Cantor.

    Adding an unusual twist to the political maneuvering, GOP aides say that wealthy donors have approached Cantor to push tax increases. […]

    A few wealthy donors have called Cantor to tell him they wouldn’t mind if their taxes are raised. During two closed meetings this week — one with vote-counting lawmakers, and another with the entire conference — Cantor told colleagues that some well-heeled givers have told them they’re willing to pay more taxes. Cantor, according to an aide, has responded that House Republicans aren’t standing up for the wealthy, but rather for the middle class, who want to see their taxes stay low.

  5. Wayne says:

    Most of those I talk to want a “compromise”. However ask them about the details of what should be compromise and you get a very different reaction. Liberals and Conservatives don’t want to give in on many of the details that “they” support. Look at many of prior post here and you get pretty much the same results.

    Ask liberals if they would comprise and agree to a balance budget amendment to be sent to the states or “some” of the real cuts not future promise cuts the Republicans are requesting and you will get a “hell no”.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    That’s the most rational outcome, but we’re not exactly living in rational times.

  7. sam says:

    @Wayne:

    Ask liberals if they would comprise and agree to a balance budget amendment to be sent to the states or “some” of the real cuts not future promise cuts the Republicans are requesting and you will get a “hell no”.

    Actually, you’d only get a “hell no” from me on a balanced budget amendment. As for entitlement reform, I myself would take a 10% cut in my SS if need be. Which is a hell of lot more of a compromising concession than those “no tax increases evah” tea party folks would go for.

  8. Wayne says:

    @Sam
    Would you agree to 10% immediate cut in all non-defense\intelligence domestic spending and the return of all unspent stimulus funds?

  9. David M says:

    @Wayne: What kind of revenue increases would you support with that? And why should defense spending be exempt from any cuts?

  10. sam says:

    @Wayne:

    “Would you agree to 10% immediate cut in all non-defenseintelligence domestic spending and the return of all unspent stimulus funds?”

    I don’t know if I would. I’d have to see what 10% from the individual programs would mean. My guess is that I’d say yes to some, no to others. Would you agree to a restoration of the Clinton-era tax rates? Or, since you brought up the stimulus, would you agree to a repeal of that one-third of the stimulus that is tax cuts?

  11. Ron Beasley says:

    The House Freshman say they were elected to cut government spending. That may be true but what they may soon find out they were not elected to cut Medicare or Social Security. In fact when you ask them what they want to cut it’s practically nothing.

  12. sam says:

    Yeah, and some of those ever so sincere House Republican freshman didn’t wait all that long to get their snouts in the trough, Ron: Cost-Cutters, Except When the Spending Is Back Home. Maybe Wayne should send his compadres on the Hill an email.

  13. Drew says:

    LOL.

    sam tells us he’s willing to give up 10% of his SS, all while lecturing us about the dire straits of the poor and elderly, and our country’s finances.

    Try this, typical liberal fraud sam, revoke it all. 100% I will.

    Let’s get real. Revoke it all in acknowledgement that the whole program is bankrupt; it was a liberal government fraud, Enron like. Back up your supposed “concerns,” sam.

    Stop telling us you have concerns, and will dip your pinky toe in the water – all the while pointing over there to someone you want to rape of their wealth. Revoke it all, sam, being well off as you are.

    Stop the usual faux liberal concern…………always to be financed by other people’s money.

  14. anjin-san says:

    WTF should defense spending be exempt? It was up over 100% percent in the last decade, essentially because a handful of guys with box cutters successfuly attacked our country. The f35 program alone is a money sink of epic proportions.

    Sorry, but we need more than “conservatives are scared of Muslims” to justify this endless river of money flowing to defense contractors.

  15. john personna says:

    The only path open to Republicans is to paint their demands as compromise. We’ve seen a little of that. We’ll see if they can make it fly.

    Speaking for myself, I think tax cuts “off the table” and defense cuts “off the table” isn’t compromise.

    You’ve got to narrow your world down to their level to think that compromise is possible within those limits.

  16. john personna says:

    I should probably add again that I don’t think a properly designed balanced budget amendment would be a bad thing … but a poorly constructed one, as phony solution to a budget crisis, is bad.

    I’m one of those who thinks the BBA is designed to fail the Senate, and so “cut, cap, and balance” without that BBA is just “kick the can.”

  17. Wayne says:

    I think going back to the Clinton tax rates would be going too far. I would “compromise” on some tax increases but they would have to be couple with a good deal of spending cuts. Also I would push hard for the Balance Budget amendment. Remember just because it will be sent to the States doesn’t mean the States will ratify it. I say let the people decide on the amendment and the States are much closer than the federal government on that.

    I would be open to some defense spending cuts. However it should be realized that when you do that, we will be short on many thing when the next major conflict happens. The Democrats gutted the military in the 90’s then had the nerve to complain when they didn’t have the proper personnel, body armor, communications, etc when Bush went to war.

    Any of the tax and defense compromise has to be done after the real spending cuts. None of this we “promise” to cut 5 to 10 years down the road. Also some sort of spending caps has to accompany it so they can’t simply decrease it then turn around and increase it two-fold next year.

    We have been burn to many times by Democrat promises. They raise taxes and cut defense and intelligence spending with promises of spending cuts that are never realized. The increased in taxes mostly maintain and then a great deal of money is thrown at the defense and intelligence when something happens which ends up costing us with waste and lack of preparedness.

  18. Wayne says:

    I put what I’m willing to compromise. Sam already said he wouldn’t compromise on the Balance Budget amendment but would on SS spending. Let’s hear what other liberals are willing and not willing to compromise on.

  19. Wayne says:

    JP
    The problem is in the past when the Republicans agree out of the gate on tax increases and defense cuts out of the gate, the whole deal ends up about how much. The Democrats keep moving the goal post further and further toward their side. They end up getting a good deal of what they want. Then their promised spending cuts that never happen.

    It is like amnesty and border enforcement. They get their amnesty then don’t follow through on enforcing the border. The Republicans have been burned time and time again.

    So is it no wonder why the Republicans are saying “no you go first this time”?

  20. john personna says:

    @Wayne:

    I think going back to the Clinton tax rates would be going too far. I would “compromise” on some tax increases but they would have to be couple with a good deal of spending cuts.

    Very good, Wayne. Good enough for a solution.

    Also I would push hard for the Balance Budget amendment. Remember just because it will be sent to the States doesn’t mean the States will ratify it. I say let the people decide on the amendment and the States are much closer than the federal government on that.

    This particular one, with 4/5ths votes required for emergency spending, and with a % of GDP cap, is very partisan. It is an “agree to Tea Party philosophy” version of a BBA.

    I believe that BBAs proposed in the past had 2/3rds vote emergency features, and of course no hard caps on the size of a balanced budget.

    I would be open to some defense spending cuts. However it should be realized that when you do that, we will be short on many thing when the next major conflict happens. The Democrats gutted the military in the 90’s then had the nerve to complain when they didn’t have the proper personnel, body armor, communications, etc when Bush went to war.

    There is always tendency to prepare for the last war. We didn’t have the things you name because we didn’t need them for our crushing victory in Gulf War I.

    And, if we’d kept that successful model (no large or long term occupations) we would have been fine.

    The kind of stand-off punishment we are providing for Libya works pretty well, at lower cost in gold and blood.

  21. john personna says:

    @Wayne:

    The problem is in the past when the Republicans agree out of the gate on tax increases and defense cuts out of the gate, the whole deal ends up about how much. The Democrats keep moving the goal post further and further toward their side. They end up getting a good deal of what they want. Then their promised spending cuts that never happen.

    I think the high ground here is to remember that congress as a whole loves to spend money, and will get back to it when they can.

    A reasonable BBA might be a curb on that, if you could actually get one passed.

    But we always face this problem that “the BBA is in the mail” is just a lie, even from the Republicans.

  22. CB says:

    @Wayne:

    I would be open to some defense spending cuts. However it should be realized that when you do that, we will be short on many thing when the next major conflict happens. The Democrats gutted the military in the 90’s then had the nerve to complain when they didn’t have the proper personnel, body armor, communications, etc when Bush went to war.

    short on what relative to who? weapons systems? intelligence? manpower? a 10% cut in defense spending would hardly cripple the US’s military capabilities, especially considering the massive advantage they already hold. i dont think its as unrealistic as you believe.

  23. An Interested Party says:

    …revoke it all. 100% I will.

    Considering how much wealth you claim to have, your oh so generous proposal doesn’t seem all that generous…you could, of course, simply refuse to take any of that money, in much the same way that some conservatives argue that wealthy liberals who want higer taxes should voluntarily send the IRS more money…

    The Democrats gutted the military in the 90’s then had the nerve to complain when they didn’t have the proper personnel, body armor, communications, etc when Bush went to war.

    And why shouldn’t they have complained? Bush certainly didn’t want to raise taxes to pay for those things…

    So is it no wonder why the Republicans are saying “no you go first this time”?

    The Republicans are certainly welcome to play this game of chicken if they like, but they shouldn’t be too surprised if they receive most of the blame as well as most of the pain if the nation defaults because of their supposed “principles”…

    By the way, it is a joke to argue that going back to the Clinton tax rates is going too far but not agreeing to a BBA isn’t enough of a compromise…please…

  24. sam says:

    @Drew:

    Rant

    Jesus Christ, Drew.

  25. emrka says:

    This used to be a solid site before it started mindlessly trusting every flawed and discredited poll that made conservatives look bad.

  26. john personna says:

    Yeah emrka … Gallup … who are they, some new kid on the block?

    George Gallup founded the American Institute of Public Opinion, the precursor of The Gallup Organization, in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1935. He wished to objectively determine the opinions held by the people. To ensure his independence and objectivity, Dr. Gallup resolved that he would undertake no polling that was paid for or sponsored in any way by special interest groups such as the Republican and Democratic parties, a commitment that Gallup upholds to this day.

  27. PJ says:

    emrka, which flawed and discredited polls?
    And where are the non-flawed, now-discredited polls that make conservatives look good?

  28. anjin-san says:

    The Democrats gutted the military in the 90’s

    Wayne, you have been pushing this load of crap for a long time – even the flies have lost interest in it. Clinton continued the cuts that Bush ’41 started. In light of our victory in the cold war, it was the right thing to do, unless perhaps you are a defense contractor or one of their tools.

    And the “gutted” military vastly outperformed what the Soviets had been able to do in Afghanistan. Our supply problems started when Bush chose to engage in a second, elective war with a country that did not threaten us and did not attack us.

  29. Wayne says:

    These posts just show what I have been saying. Liberals want the other side to compromise but won’t themselves. Sam was the only one that would state any examples of what they were willing to give up. However even he had a position he wasn’t willing to compromise on.

    I can respect a position of wanting other things in return for compromising. I can respect having positions you won’t compromise on. What I can’t respect is slamming the other side for things you are not willing to do yourself. Many are slamming the Republican for wanting some things in return for them to compromise and for not being willing to compromise on some core issues.

    It shows how great of hypocrites and phonies many of them are.

  30. Wayne says:

    @Anjin-sin
    Downsizing the military in 90s was the right thing to do. How Clinton did it was not and he did a terrible job at it.

    I see you have never answered the question on what you are willing to compromise. Then again all you do is call names and say how bad the other side is. Your idea of answering direct questions is to slam the other side. News flash, screaming out your talking points is not answering a question. It is avoiding it.

  31. anjin-san says:

    How Clinton did it was not and he did a terrible job at it.

    Really? Perhaps you could provide details. Remember you said he “gutted” the military. Put up or shut up.

    As for compromise, I have been saying in here for quite some time that we need to get serious about spending cuts. Public pensions and pay are out of control at all levels of government. I have no problem with means testing for SS & Medicare. The President and Democrats have already put substantial compromise on the table, and everyone who has sources of information beyond Fox News and right wing radio and rant sites knows it. If conservatives cannot live with the better than 80/20 ratio of cuts to new revenue, i can only assume they are too stupid, too ignorant, or both to understand the risks inherent in the path they are going down. I imagine the Supreme Soviet was much the same in the late 70s and the 80s locked in ridged ideology as they lurched towards oblivion. Some of these tea party folks would have made fine party apparatchiks, they would need only trade the funny hats with tea bags for the fun variety sported further north.

    I don’t regard DOD cuts as some sort of compromise. We need to cut, and we need to cut everywhere. Unless Republicans are simply bitches for defense contractors, that should not even be an issue. As I said earlier, we more that doubled defense spending in a decade, largely because of a handful of guys with box cutters. If conservatives are really that terrified of Muslims, I suggest they grow backbones. That is national treasure that we need to be spending at home.

    I have also praised Republicans frequently in here – just not the clown show that currently runs and supports the GOP. Frankly, these people are deserving of contempt. I also think I have been pretty critical of Democrats. It is simply that compared to the modern GOP, even hacks like Pelosi and Reid come off reasonably well.

  32. john personna says:

    @Wayne:

    These posts just show what I have been saying. Liberals want the other side to compromise but won’t themselves. Sam was the only one that would state any examples of what they were willing to give up. However even he had a position he wasn’t willing to compromise on.

    Come on Wayne, that won’t fly. As we’ve been noting in all these threads, Obama has been putting forth a very moderate, bordering on traditional-Republican, position. Trillions in cuts – 83% spending cuts, and only 17% in tax increases (that mostly closing benefits in the tax code).

    Maybe it would help if you thought back to what the traditional Democrat position would be … with President Pelosi demanding that there be zero spending cuts, and that the whole gap be closed by tax increase.

  33. john personna says:

    Shorter: When you say “LIberals want,” try to remember who the Liberals really are.

  34. sam says:

    @Wayne:

    Sam was the only one that would state any examples of what they were willing to give up. However even he had a position he wasn’t willing to compromise on.

    Let me clear, Wayne. I would not support the current version of a BBA being touted by the House Republicans. This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t support some other version of a BBA.

  35. Argon says:

    I couldn’t support a BBA. ‘On Autopilot’ is not a safe way to run a dynamically changing economy or government. Not that we’re necessarily safe now but it’s hard to imagine a BBA that wouldn’t run us into a mountain if we encountered unanticipated conditions.

    We can model aerodynamics pretty well but politics? Hari Seldon and ‘psychohistory’ still only exist in the sci-fi of Asimov.

  36. Eric Florack says:

    So, Legion…. you say the Tea Party is responsible for the oncomng train wreck,a dn supposedly the right is being immature?

    Sure. We refuse to give Obama nd the Dems a blank check for the huge bills they’ve rung up. And it’s all our fault.

    Not a word about who ran up the debt.

    Only in Obamaland.

  37. Moosebreath says:

    Bithead,

    You’re right, we aren’t saying a word about who ran up the debt — because scapegoating Bush the Younger and the Republicans in Congress who passed a 10 year “temporary” tax cut, who added new social programs without paying for them, and fought two wars without even putting them on the budget much less paying for them doesn’t help get the debt ceiling raised.

  38. john personna says:

    @Eric Florack:

    To say three to four trillion in spending reductions is a blank check is pretty insane.

    You sir, are the face of the problem.

  39. george says:

    One of the more annoying things about political parties is they change the rules depending upon whether or not they’re in power. Remember Bush raising the deficit dramatically? Remember Cheney saying deficits don’t matter? Now the Democrats have the presidency, and suddenly the GOP decides deficits matter after all.

    Of course, the Democrats did the same thing with the current set of wars – horrible when run by the GOP, a necessary evil under Obama.

    Neither party really believes in any ideology other than “be in power”.

    Having said that, right now the GOP are acting like brain-dead idiots. The only people that will benefit from the US defaulting is China, who must be amazed to see the US close to destroying itself – I almost wonder if the Tea Party has been infiltrated by Chinese spies who figure the best way to get rid of a rival superpower is to have it self-destruct (yes, that’s obviously a joke, though the effect is as true as if it were real). I still can’t believe they’re really going to go through with this.

  40. Rob in CT says:

    You’re a joke, Wayne.

    A liberal start position would be a 50/50 split between cuts and revenues, with a good chunk of the cuts (say 1/2) being in the military budget. The tax increases would be primarily on richer folks, including reducing deductions and taxing capital gains as normal income.

    The liberals didn’t start there, though. There is quite a bit of debate in the blogosphere about whether that was smart, or the result of the Dems once again failing negotiation 101.

    Instead, we’re getting proposals that are 3 or 4 to 1 cuts to revenue. And this is deemed by you as an example of liberals being unwilling to compromise… which leads me back to negotation 101. One of the reasons you do not start out by preemptively compromising is that it skews the expectations of the other side. They will naturally presume that your opening offer is your dream solution.

  41. jukeboxgrad says:

    Florack:

    Not a word about who ran up the debt.

    How ironic. 3/4 of the debt Obama inherited was created under these three presidents: Reagan, Bush and Bush. Reagan tripled the debt. GWB almost doubled it.

    Your amnesia is a serious problem.

  42. Rob in CT says:

    I personally would go for a mix of 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 spending cuts to revenue increases. It’s important to remember that once the household debt overhang clears (and it will probably take a while), the economy should pick up again. This will increase revenue and decrease spending (saftey net spending) naturally. That closes a portion of the deficit right there. Further, theoretically our wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya should wind down, reducing spending again. I personally would further reduce military spending, back down to 1990s levels by % of GDP (ala when “Clinton gutted the military” – which is a standard RW trope). I want to cut military spending by 20% (phased in over 10 years, adjusted for inflation). I will compromise by adding a 10% cut to non-defense discretionary spending over the same period.

    Even so, we’ve got long-term budget issues, because of healthcare spending. Thus, adjustments (aka cuts, but ones that kick in down the road) must be made to Medicare and Social Security. There are various ways of doing this. One could “means test” which is the preferred liberal cut. This protects relatively poorer people at the expense of richer people. As a compromise, I’ll drop that. Let’s enact across-the board benefit reductions to Medicare and SS. I don’t think raising the age is a great solution… I’d rather leave that were it is and reduce payments to all. I don’t know the exact % we’d need to cut offhand. Obviously that depends on revenue, but let’s go with a 10% cut to Medicare and 5% to SS.

    And to deal with that, I would like to completely revamp our tax code. I’d want rates to be progressive, but I’d have no deductions/tax expenditures, capital gains would be taxed as normal income, and I’d have an inheritance tax. As a compromise, I’ll go for simply repealing the Bush/Obama tax cuts in their entirety and reinstating our normal estate tax with a $1MM exemption (indexed to inflation starting now).

    Deal?

  43. PJ says:

    I’m not sure why Wayne is asking about what other people would agree to.

    It doesn’t matter what citizens/voters/whatever think.

    If it did then the Republicans in Congress would have listened to what the people, including ordinary Republicans, wants and agreed on a plan which would include raising tax revenue.

    The only ones that matters to Republicans in Congress are Republicans in Congress.

  44. Wayne says:

    @PJ
    To prove my original point. Most people when ask will say they want a “compromise”. However when ask on the details what “they” are willing to compromise and it is usually very little. Congress is a bit of a reflection of us. Democrats have issues that they are unwilling to compromise on just like the Republicans which is just like us.

    @JP
    Obama hasn’t even put up a plan. He talks in generalities and refuses to give specifics. It easy to say you want to cut trillions of dollars especially when you want those cuts years down the road. He refuses on any immediate cuts and cuts in next year budget except when it comes to the military. They even are talking about wanting another stimulus package. Higher taxes and increase spending now while promising cuts years down the road, sorry but that is not much of a comprise by Obama and the liberals.

    @goerge and jukeboxgrad
    Many of us were complaining about the deficits when Bush was racking it up. We wanted domestic cuts to pay for the war back then. IMO that is one of the reasons Republicans lost so much in 2008 elections. What ironic is the Democrats complaining about the level of spending when they wanted more. Obama has run up more debt in three years than Bush did in eight. Obama sign large increase in spending his first few months in office long before his first budget.

    @Anjin-sin
    I explain that to you in detail several times in the past. You just made excuses or simply ignore much of it.

    @Sam
    You said “hell no” not “yes but not in the current form”. Regardless it shows what the issue is. Many are bashing that Republicans are insisting on some things. Guess what so are the Democrats. Democrats are insisting on tax increases. They are insisting on no BBA, on no immediate cuts and cuts in next year budgets except for the military. Cutting the military is generally a constant Democrat position. . In the end is suspect many in Congress will do what you did. They will say “hell no” on many issues but then backtrack on it.

  45. jukeboxgrad says:

    wayne:

    Many of us were complaining about the deficits when Bush was racking it up.

    Bullshit. Prove it. The GOP gave us Medicare Part D, even though it “added $15.5 trillion (in present value terms) to our nation’s indebtedness.” Bush signed that bill on 12/8/03. Nevertheless, in 11/04 the GOP won control of the White House and both houses of congress. Yup, that reflects lots of “complaining.”

    The record shows that major conservatives made excuses for Bush. They weren’t “complaining.”

  46. jukeboxgrad says:

    Obama has run up more debt in three years than Bush did in eight.

    Wrong. When Bush took office, the national debt was $5.7T (link). When he left office, it was $10.6T. 10.6-5.7=4.9. Right now the national debt is about $14.3T. 14.3-10.6=3.7. Only in wingnut world is 3.7 greater than 4.9. And of course this analysis ignores the reasons why the debt is going up so quickly.

    This analysis also blames Obama for a bad budget (FY 2009) that was created by Bush, and it gives Bush credit for a good budget (FY 2001) that was created by Clinton. But even doing this, your claim is still false.

  47. legion says:

    @Eric Florack: Not a word on who ran up the debt?!?!? Wow, you are in complete la-la land, Eric. GW Bush ran up those debts. Period. End of discussion. Has Obama eliminated them? No. The tax cuts, the wars, _that’s_ where the debt everyone is complaining about came from.

    You, sir, are a liar.

  48. Rob in CT says:

    Higher taxes and increase spending now while promising cuts years down the road…

    No one is proposing such. Rather, both increased taxes and spending cuts would be down the road.

    The big meme on the Right now appears to be “the Dems are offering phony cuts! They’ll never stick to them!”

    Meanwhile, we are supposed to trust the GOP to stick with tax increases? It’s the same problem: future elected officials may or may not stick to the deal. That’s true on both the revenue side and the spending side. Should the Democrats refuse to compromise by saying the GOP will never stick to promised revenue increases (setting aside the fact that the GOP hasn’t yet agreed to revenue increases)? Should they point out that the Bush tax cuts were supposed to expire, but when it came time the GOP fought tooth and nail to keep them (and Obama caved), and therefore we cannot trust the GOP on taxes? There’s a certain logic to it, in fact. But if we go down that road, no bargain is possible and we’re all screwed. So no, that’s NOT a good excuse.

  49. Wayne says:

    @Jukeboxgrad
    End of Obama’s third year will be the end of next January. At the current rare he will be very close if not over 4.9 trillion.

    Go back and look at blogs on this site. You will see many conservatives including myself complained about not cutting domestic spending and not doing more to control out of control spending. Did all “Republicans” complain especially those of the RINO variety? No but my statement was “many of us” not” all Republicans”.

  50. Wayne says:

    @Rob
    In the past for example in the Reagan Era promise spending cuts never materialized while many of the tax hikes did. Promise of a secure border in return for amnesty never materialized. So isn’t it understandable that many of us don’t trust promises.

    Bush tax cuts were only set to expire because the Democrats demanded them to. It is design to force the issue to be address every so often and to make it easier to raise them. Fortunately it hasn’t been easy enough and forced enough Democrats to agree to extend them.

    I do agree that future promises are very hard to enforce and often are not follow through on. The deficit has gotten out of hand under both Parties. Republicans spend too much and Democrats want and do spend a great deal more than Republicans do.

    That is why many of us want enforceable legislation pass to control spending. It would be nice if they can find a way to do it without a constitutional amendment. However such legislative measures like the debt ceiling have not been successful so far in curbing spending. If it takes a constitutional amendment to get our house in order so be it. Things as they are now, sure as hell isn’t working.

  51. Wayne says:

    In case I haven’t made myself clear. I not interested in getting one up on the Democrats. I want the damn problem of overspending solved. And it is a overspending problem not a “we are not tax enough problem”.

  52. john personna says:

    @Wayne:

    Obama hasn’t even put up a plan. He talks in generalities and refuses to give specifics.

    Whatever you do, don’t turn on a radio.

  53. PJ says:

    @Wayne: If you’re so interested in getting the damn problem of overspending solved, then perhaps you should start by actually acknowledging what the cause of the growing debt actually is.
    Cause otherwise you will never learn anything, and the history will keep repeating itself.

    Here’s a some clues. Unfunded wars, Medicare Part D, and tax cuts without spending cuts to offset the lost revenue.

  54. jukeboxgrad says:

    wayne:

    End of Obama’s third year will be the end of next January. At the current rare he will be very close if not over 4.9 trillion.

    This is what you said before:

    Obama has run up more debt in three years than Bush did in eight.

    That claim is false. Do you understand that “has run up” is past tense? Do you understand that “the end of next January” is in the future? Do you understand the difference between making a claim about the past and making a claim about the future? I guess not.

    If you can’t take responsibility for making a false claim, you’re letting everyone know that you’re a waste of time and nothing you say should be taken seriously.

    Aside from that, you don’t know what the national debt will be “the end of next January.” You should tell the people who sold you that crystal ball that you want your money back.

    Go back and look at blogs on this site. You will see many conservatives including myself complained about not cutting domestic spending and not doing more to control out of control spending.

    You and “many conservatives” complained about this while Bush was still in office? Really? I don’t believe you. Prove it. This is just another example of you inventing your own facts. Disowning Bush became fashionable only after Bush was out of office and he no longer needed your support.

    By the way, Doug made essentially the same point when he wrote about “conservative acquiescence to Bush Administration profligacy,” in his post called “Why Were Republicans Silent During The Bush Years?” Because they were.

  55. Wayne says:

    OK Jukeboxgrad, I should have said Obama will run up more debt in three years than Bush did in eight having already run up 3.7 and on pace that will put it very close if not over 4.9 trillion. My posts tend to be long so I’m trying to be more concise. Doing so often results in lack preciseness.

    Having put it in the past tense though doesn’t change the fact that Obama’s increase in deficit rates is over double that of Bush.

    You can look back at past blogs as easy as I can. Do your own research. I have written many times that so call “emergency” spending for disasters like Katrina or war supplementals should be allowed. However, spending should be cut the next fiscal year to pay for them.

    You wouldn’t believe me if I proved it anyway. Anytime I prove things before you ignore it. How about you prove that I didn’t.

  56. Rob in CT says:

    If conservatives were complaining about Bush’s spending – the unfunded wars, the unfunded Med Part D – I missed it. All I remember is if/when somebody opposed the entirely unnecessary Iraq War they were unpatriotic America-hating libruls. If someone mentioned that repeated tax cuts (two rounds, 2001 & 2003, if I recall correctly) + 2 wars (kept off the budget, at least in part!!) was bad policy, they were freedom-hating librul defeatists who didn’t understand the magic of the “Bush Boom.” That’s how I remember it. I watched in disbelief. In horror. The GALL of the same Party/ideological movement now trying to claim the mantle of fiscal responsibility is just breaktaking.

    There probably were a few lone voices in the wilderness. There’s usually at least a few. But man oh man did the bandwagon fill up on 1/20/09.

  57. Moosebreath says:

    Rob — that’s my memory as well.

  58. Wayne says:

    Unfortunately I don’t have the time right now to find a post of mine. However I did find this from a fellow conservative who I often agreed with in my quick research of previous posts.
    From yetanotherjohn August 2006
    “The problem I see here is that one party shows it is willing to win the war and neither party shows it is willing to control spending. As a realist, I won’t abandon the republicans because they aren’t acting purely and perfectly as conservatives. I will be looking for a president in 2008 who would count noses on the conservative coalition in congress and recognize that a presidential veto can be upheld to control spending. “

    https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/government_spending_and_the_war_in_iraq/

    “But conservative weren’t complaining about spending levels during the Bush years”. Bull. Who are the liars now?

  59. Moosebreath says:

    Wayne,

    In that same thread, yetanotherjohn also said, “And like it was under Reagan, I had to bite my tongue when I saw the deficit continue to rise, but winning the cold war was more important. Dhimmitude is not an option and pushing of the problem of the deficit (like we did under Reagan) is preferable to losing this war.”

    In other words, he explicitly said he wasn’t going to do anything to rock the boat, because he felt other issues were more important.

  60. Wayne says:

    @Moosbreath
    That is not my take. My take is if given a choice between not having a deficit and winning a war, he chooses winning the war. He as well as I wasn’t happy with the deficit under a Republican President and was looking for a President to vote in 2008 that would get the spending under control.

    I remember posting about the need for countering emergency spending from one year in the next year budget. All of which was said during the Bush administration. I haven’t found it yet. It is possible that I post it on Whizbang blog since I did post there more often than OTB back then. However I sure I posted similar feelings on OTB back then as well.

  61. Moosebreath says:

    Wayne,

    “He as well as I wasn’t happy with the deficit under a Republican President and was looking for a President to vote in 2008 that would get the spending under control.”

    Uh-huh. He was so unhappy that he explicitly says he is biting his tongue and pushing the problem off to the future. You’re not exactly doing much to counter the argument that this only became an issue for conservatives on 1/20/09.