Blog No. 19 Senator Lee vs. Scrooge McDuck

IO Nov 2013 - Gold Duck for WebSenator Mike Lee has not been a favorite of RINOcracy.com. Most particularly, we strongly disapproved of his effort, along with that of Ted Cruz, to seek the defunding of Obamacare at the price of a government shutdown. Nevertheless, we salute Senator Lee for his willingness to address an issue that most Republicans have tended to tiptoe away from: income inequality. While the subject is often raised by liberals, a typical Republican response has been to mutter a complaint about “class warfare” and attempt to change the subject.

Senator Lee, however, has introduced legislation intended to mitigate economic hardship through tax reform, and it has drawn favorable comment from several quarters. Nevertheless, as constructive as his proposal may be, Lee’s recognition of our underlying problems and the need for action–by Republicans–may be even more important. Speaking in September to the American Enterprise Institute, Lee’s remarks are worth quoting at some length: […]

Blog No. 16 The Patty and Paul Show: Let’s Make a Deal?

Senator Patty Murray and Representative Paul Ryan have drawn the short straws: they chair the Conference Committee that is charged with reaching a budget agreement that will avert a second round of crises over a government shutdown (January 15) or a collision with the debt ceiling (February 7). The entire committee, totaling 29, consists of the entire Senate Budget Committee  (12 Democrats and 10 Republicans) and 7 House members (4 Republicans, 3 Democrats).Lets Make a Deal logo

No one, it is fair to say, is overly optimistic about the outcome. If the Grinch does not steal Christmas, he will be hovering not far away. It is a positive sign that Senator McConnell has expressly ruled out the use of a shutdown, and by implication a threat of default, as bargaining chips. As he put it rather colorfully, “One of my favorite sayings is an old Kentucky saying, ‘There’s no education in the second kick of a mule.’ ”  Nevertheless, Ted Cruz and his cohorts in the Senate, and the Tea Party Oozlums in the House appear to have an appetite for mule kicks that is not easily satisfied. Moreover, the Conference Committee itself is hardly lacking in gritty conservatives: 9 of the 14 Republicans, including Ryan, voted against the bill that ended the just concluded crisis. (As noted in a prior blog, however, their votes were “free” in the sense that they were not required for the passage of the bill and may not reflect a tolerance for shutdown or default.) […]

Blog No. 13 Ted Cruz, the Oozlums and the Electorate: Wealthbusters Confront the Silent Majority

Ted Cruz and the Oozlums have worked their will and the government has shutdown, at least in substantial part. (Newcomers to RINOcracy.com see Blog No. 12 for a definition of Oozlums.)  Ironically, owing to the structure of appropriations laws, and arcane interpretations of the Anti-Deficiency Act, one part of the government that will not shutdown is…Obamacare. But elsewhere pain aplenty there will be.

Blog No 12 pointed out that a neither a shutdown, nor a default precipitated by a failure to raise the debt ceiling, are likely to escape punishment by the financial markets. Evidence of that result has already begun to accumulate. The losses in the stock market have thus far been manageable, but if the shutdown continues very long, or as the specter of default draws closer, the financial consequences will inevitably become more severe. At that point, Senator Cruz and the Oozlums will be widely recognized for their accomplishments as Wealthbusters. […]

Blog No. 2 Taxes, Spending and the Deficit

A development in Congress last week seemed peculiar even by the standards of that troubled institution. For years, Republicans have been complaining – quite reasonably – about the failure of the Senate to pass a budget. Pass a budget, they said, and proceed with the process of negotiating a reconciliation of the budget passed by the House in the ordinary way. Now that the Senate has, after four years, finally passed a budget, three Republicans in the Senate, self-styled “tea-party conservatives,” have blocked the appointment of a Conference Committee to do exactly what the Republicans had been demanding. Senator John McCain’s description of that tactic as “bizarre” seems altogether fitting. […]