New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 22, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas
41 Friday, July 22, 2011 | herald-zeitung.com
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Can Obama muddle through debt-ceiling insanity?
No wonder people are cynical The ation increasingly appears to be governed by cheap political theater made for FV melodrama more like prof« ssional wrestling than actual com bat A, ! write this column, •he United States all« dly hou-rs on the edge of a ’ al crisis
Should Congress fail to raise the national debt limit by Aug 2 the overnment ,vill default on its debt for the first time in U S history — .) cataclysmic event, should it happen.
Dressed in his big boy suit Republican H use 'aker John Boehr put it this vvay on CBS News "face the Nation" back on May 15 "I understand what the president wa saying about jeop ardizmg tl 1 full faith and credit of the United States
lat 1 why ! have said in every public and private utterance that our obligation is to raise tf debt ceiling
We could see the end of our economy if we don’t act
Meanwhile President Barack Obama has made similar noises all along Never mind that debt default by the world's largest economy could trigger a dwide depression Last week, he told a CBS network news reporter that a failure to raise the debt limit might mean fie couldn't guarantee grandpa's Social Security checks. In keeping with the time-honored precepts of Washington theater Republicans cried foul.
Heie are the acts As of
Aug 3. according to tfie Washington Post the Trea sury Department is sched uled to issue 25 million Social Security checks totaling roughly $22 billion Tax revenues for the month are expected to total around $12 billion, leaving the govern ment $10 billion in the red (August is a slow month for tax collections )
Fhat s not counting Medicare Medicaid and national defense — programs that, along with Social Security ; :count for almost 60 percent federal spending Not to mention what to pay debt interest, unern-pl yment insurance and vet erans benefits along with the National Weather Ser vice, the IRS. FDA FAA. etc.
It follows that to believe this "crisis" is real requires believing that, come August, post offic es. airports federal courthouses and even prisons from sea to shining sea could bee ome subject to the equivalent of rolling blackouts, adding many thousands of government employees to tfie rank s of the unemployed Then on Aug 4 $100 billion in Treasury bonds become due So no. absent mass political psychosis of tfie kind historian Barbara Tuchman described in " I he Guns of August," it's not going to
happen As with the threat ened "government shutdown" TV talking heads got so excited about a few months ago. a face saving last-minute solution will be announced In that sense your brother-in-law who's paying more attention to the Major League trading dead line also coming up at the end of July definitely has his priorities in order Hey a World Series could hinge on a couple of deals The debt limit’s strictly a pseudo-event It’s all about itionmg for the 2012 pres idential election, nothing else An entirely superfluous law — Congress can trim individual programs at will the debt limit s been raised 89 times in the 72 years since it was enacted Under George W Bush every Republican leader now posturing dramatically on the brink — Boehncr House Majority Leader trie Cantor Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, etc. — voted to increase it seven times It wasn't really an issue As of this writing further more, tfie face-saving plan likeliest to be enacted could ri t be better calculated to increase public cynicism Under a scheme proposed by McConnell. President Oba ma could raise the debt limit at his discretion, subject to congressional votes of disapproval. fhat way. Greg Sar gent explains. Republicans could "repeatedly vote against raising the debt ceiling without actually stopping it from being raised "
See. sane Republicans
know perfectly well that default's unthinkable Alas, much of the Republican base has been persuaded by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Michele Bachmann — smarter and crazier than Sarah Palm by half — that it isn't even a major problem Of course Bachmann may be posturing serene in the knowledge that default won’t happen
Hence Mr Connell’s excellent plan Sargent writes, "provides for Republicans to vote to 'disapprove' of each debt ceiling hike But since they need a veto proof majority to block each debt limit hike those ’disapproval votes won't actually stop the hikes from happening -----keeping the business com muriity happy and averting economic and political dis aster."
Except that tea partiers , won't fall lor that They’re itching for a showdown Conservative columnists like David Brooks have begun complaining that the con gressional Republicans who began this lamentable cha rade have committed the unpardonable sin of believing their own bull . uni, propaganda.
Meanwhile, nobody's say mg that about President Oba ma Democrats keep hoping he’ll reveal his inner Hairy Truman. Instead, it s fellow Illinois politician Adlai Stevenson — eloquent, pro fessorial. oddly detached — that this president increasingly resembles.
Can he muddle his way to victory? That's unclear
TheAssu» .¿»ted PuK Today is Friday,; July 22, 2011 On July 22,1861, the U S House of Representatives passed a resolution declaring the Civil War was being waged to preserve the Union rather than to end slavery, a stance that would shift as the conflict continued. (The Senate passed a similar resolution three days later.)
In 1587, an English colony fated to vanish under mysterious circum
TODA'i IN MISTOin
stances was established on Roanoke Island off North Carolina.
In 1796, Cleveland, Ohio, was founded by General Moses Cleaveland (correct).
In 1893, Wellesley College professor Katharine Lee Bates visited the summit of Pikes Peak, where she was inspired to write her poem "America the Beautiful."
In 1916, a bomb went off during a Preparedness Day parade in San
Francisco, killing ten people In 1934, bank robber John Dillinger was shot to death by federal agents outside Chicago's Biograph Theater In 1943, American forces led by General George S. Patton captured Palermo, Sicily, during World War II In 1975, the House of Representatives joined the Senate in voting to restore the American citizenship of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
HERALD-ZEITUNG EDITORIAL BOARD
Publisher and Editor Ooug Toney
Managing EdNer Autumn PMkj» Citculttwn Otftclm Jsfl fowtor
At*l Mifo» Sfctwn tfwii Cooy rtiW l*W thorn«
Sustaining the unsustainable
Editor's note Columnist Qeorge Will usually is on Thursdays and Sundays in the Herald Zeitung He sent this column for immediate release in response to the debt ceiling debate
WASHINGTON — The tea party, the most welcome political development since the Goldwater insurgency in 1964. lacks only the patience necessary when America lacks the consensus required to propel fundamental change through our constitution
al system of checks and bal ances If Washington's trajecto ry could be turned as quickly as
Xw GEORGE lea partycrs wish — while con yyfiii servatives control only one-half
COLUMNIST "'I0 °f ,h' IW° POl^a| mmmm___branches — their movement
would not be as necessary as it is Fortunately not much patience is required The Goldwater impulse took 16 years to reach fruition in the election of Ronald Reagan The tea party can succeed in 16 months by helping elect a president who will not veto necessary reforms To achieve that, however, tea partyers must not help the incumbent achieve his objectives in the debt c eiling dispute.
One of those is to strike a splashy bargain involving big — but hypothetical and nonbinding ■— numbers This would enable President Obama to run away from his record and run as a debt reducing centrist Another Obama objective is tax increas es that shatter Republican unity and dampen the tea party's election turning intensity Because he probably can achieve neither. he might want market chaos in coming days so Republicans henceforth can be cast as complicit in the wretched recovery that is his administration s ugly signature Mitch McConnell s proposal would require Obama to make three requests for additional debt ceiling increases Each time he would be required to recommend c mmensurate spending reductions Concerning them Congress would of course retain its constitutional power to do what it wishes Obama could muster sufficient Democratic votes (one third plus one. m one house) to sustain his veto of ( ongress disap proval of his requests But this would not enhance presidential power Rather, McConnell s proposal would put a harness on the president tightly confining him within a one time pro* ess Congressional primacy would he further enhanced by Me( onnell s proposed special (ongressional committee It would not be another commission; it would have no administration members or other outsiders Its proposal would be unamend able and would be voted on this year I fianks largely to tfie tea party, today, more than at any time since Reagan s arrival 30 years ago. Washington debate is con ducted in conservatism's vocabulary of government retrenchment The debt ceiling vote, an action forcing mechanism of limited util ity has at least demonstrated that Obama is strictly speaking unbelievable
live months ago he submitted a budget that would have accelerated indebtedness, and that the Democratic controlled Senate rejected in May, 91 0 Just tfiree months ago he was demanding a clean increase in the debt ceiling, containing nothing to slow the spending carousel Now he calls for "the largest possible” debt reduction deal oday he says if you look at the numbers, then Medicare in particular will run out of money and we will not be able to sustain that program no matter how much taxes go up Last yeai he advertised Oba mac are as a sufficient reform of health care He denounces Republicans as uno nptomising regarding tax increases but vows "I will not accept" a deal that does not increase taxes Obama vaguely promises to "look at" savings from entitle merits because "we need to find trillions in savings ovei the next decade." But when McConnell learned that negotiations chaired by Vice President Joe Biden fiad identified a risible $2 billion in 2012 discretionary spending cuts — a sum equal to a rounding error on the GM bailout — McConnell concluded that Obama s frugality pantomime lequired a response that will define tfie 2012 election choice Obama s rhetorical floundering is the sound of a bewildered politician trying to be heard over the long, withdrawing roar of ebbing faith in a failing model of governance. From Greece to California. with manifestations in Italy. Spain. Portugal. Ireland, Illinois and elsewhere, this model is collapsing Entangled eco nomic and demographic forces are refuting tfie practice of ever bigger government financed by an ever-smaller tax base and by imposing huge costs on voiceless future generations Richard Mmiter, a Forbes columnist, is right "Obama is not the new FDR, but the new Gorbachev" Beneath the tattered, fading banner of reactionary liberalism, Obama struggles to sustain a doomed system. Democrats' dependency agenda — swelling the ranks of government employees, multiplying government subsi dized industries, enveloping ever-more individuals in the entitlement culture — is buckling under an intractable contradiction It is incompatible with economic growth sufficient to create enough wealth to feed the multiplying tax eaters Events are validating the tea partyers arguments 1 irue is on their side — but not on America's, unless the impediment to reform is removed in 16 monthsCONTACT YOUR KI.KCTKI) OFFICIALS
U S PRESIDENT Barack Obama
'600 Penn*ylvama Ave NW Washington DC 20600
U S SENATE Kay Bailey Hutchison
Russeli Senate Office Building
HMMM Room 284
Washing!--, DC 20b telephone 12021 224 5922 Fax. (202) 224 07/6 Wel> http //hutchison senate gov (Sei d e mails through Web site 1 San Antonio ottico 145 Dune an Drive Suite 120 Sari Antonio /8226 Telephone 1210) 340 2885 tax (210) 349-6/53 John Cornyn
W~ Wk ^ssell Senate-Hart Room 517 I J Washington, DC 20510 I • ¿È Telephone (202)224 2934 1 'JM Fax (2021228-2856 ^ Web http //cornyn senate gov (Send e mails through Web site )
221 West Sixth Si, Suite 1530 Austin TX /8701 Telephone (512)469 6034 Fax 12)4696020
San Antonm office
000 Navarro, Suite 210 San Ant ) 78205 Telephone (210)224 7485 fax (2101224 8569
U S CONGRESSMAN Lamar Smith
jm Rayburn House Office Building Room2409 f J Washington DC 20515
1 Telephone (202) 225 4230 ■ fax (202) 225-8628 Web http://iamarsmith tiouse.gov (Send e mails through Web site )
San Antomo office
1100NE loop410, Suite 640 San Antonio 28209 Telephone <210)821 5024 fax (210)82! 5947 Henry Cuellar
104 Longworth House Office rm Building
Washington, D C 20515 y|Q telephone (202)225 1640 Fax (202)225 1641 Web: http //house gov/cuellar San AntOnio office 615 E. Houston St.
San Antonio 78205 Telephone (2101271 2851
fax (210)277 66/1
TEXAS GOVERNOR Rick Perry
State Capitol, Room 2S 1 P0 Box 12428 Austin IX /8/11 Tel ihone (800)843 5789 Fax (512)463-1849
STATE HOUSE Doug Miller
■pa Capitol Office FXT El 216 R0 Box 2910 Austin, TX 78768 RpI Phone (512)463 0325 New Braunfels address 387 W Mill Street New Braunfels, TX 78130 Phone (830)625 1313 John Kuempel
~~ Capitol address
Room 11 208, Capitol Extension PO Box 2910 Austin IX 78768 " (5121463-0602 (512)480-0391 Fax Segum address 523 F Donegan #102 Segum. TX 78155 (830)3798732
STATE SENATE Jeff Wentworth
Capitol office IF 9 Capitol phone (512) 463 0125 San Antomo
1250 NI Loop 410 Suite 925 San Antonio. TX 78209 (210)826 7800 Fax: (210)826 0571
I mail jeff [email protected]
state tx us
NEW BRAUNFELS CITY COUNCIL
424 S Castell Ave PO. Box 311747,
New Braunfels, TX /8 1 174/
Mayor Gale Pospisil [email protected]
Telephone (830) 629 2447
BDist 1 Councilor Richard Zapata [email protected]
Telephone Extension 4501
BDist. 2 Councilor Mark Goodner [email protected]
01 g Telephone Extension 4502 Dist. 3 Councilor Mike Ybarra [email protected]
org Telephone Extension 4503 Dist. 4 Councilor Sandy Nolte [email protected]
BLjl Telephone Extension 4504
Dist. 5 Councilor Bryan Miranda
org 1 eplione: (830) 837-5178 Dist 6 Councilor Steven Digges
sdigges®nbtexas org Telephone Extension 4506
COMAL COUNTY COMMISSIONERS COURT
Comal County Commissioners' Court 199 Mam Pla/a. New Braunfels (830)221-1100
County Judge Sherman Krause krausi 8cocomal.tx.u$
Telephone (830) 221 1105 Pet. 1 Comm Donna Eccleson [email protected]
comaltxus Telephone: (830) 221-1101 Pet. 2 Commissioner Scott Haag [email protected]
tx.us Telephone: (830) 221-1102 Pet. 3 Commissioner Greg Parker [email protected]
tx.us Telephone: (830) 221*1103 Pet. 4 Commissioner Jan Kennady cct([email protected]
comal tx us Telephone (830) 221 1104
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION
William B Travis Building 1701 N Congress Ave Austin. TX 78701