Tuesday, October 8, 2013

GOP wants negotiations, eh? Part 2

Robert Costa, the National Review reporter with all the recent GOP inside scoops, directed his twitter followers to this Wall Street Journal op-ed by Paul Ryan. Of course I read it.

Paul Ryan sounds reasonable--he wants "a breakthough" instead of a crisis. He correctly identifies mandatory spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid as the biggest fiscal challenges. He wants to "talk specifics" and get the "conversation" going.

But here's what he doesn't say:

  • He doesn't say how the negotiations should be conducted, or what timeframe is reasonable. You can't do any important reform of entitlements in less than three months, and it probably should be longer. We'll need a fairly long-lasting Continuing Resolution and debt limit to do that. Ryan isn't brave enough to admit this forthrightly.
  • He lauds the 1982 SS reform, especially the rise in the retirement age. For some reason, he doesn't mention the major increase in the SS tax rate. Actually, we know the reason. He can't mention a tax increase because it's forbidden among "conservatives."
  • He lauds the Medicare reform proposals he and Senator Wyden made, but ignores that he misrepresented Wyden's position and greatly angered Wyden in the process.
  • He doesn't mention Obamacare, so delaying it, defunding it, or repealing it doesn't seem to be part of his plan, at least in this op-ed.
Of course he's right that both sides ought to sit down and talk. The Tea Party GOP members haven't allowed that because talk can lead to compromise, and compromise means the end of America. I don't know if Ryan is serious about new negotiations. This could be the mask of rationality over the same partisanship that's prevailed for the last 5 years. I don't trust Ryan when he says he supports "common-sense" reform. Normally Ryan equates "common-sense" as the GOP proposals. Back in 2011, he rejected the best common-sense proposals, which came from the Simpson-Bowles commission.

So I don't trust him. I'd like to see how he follows up on these suggestions. How specific does he get? Once I see that, I'll know whether he's serious or not. I won't give up on him at this point because a mildly reasonable Republican leader is an extremely rare and helpful thing right now.

Ready for heavy negotiating, or just the same old?
Image: uselectionatlas.org

1 comment:

Dangerous said...

The GOP wants "negotiations" when they can ram their preferences down the other guy's throat. When confronted with what the other party wants, the GOP stamps their feet and says it's a non-starter and goes straight to the blame game.

Just consider taxes. They know that taxes are unpopular so they have become crusaders against ANY taxes. Raising any tax is heresy, so agreeing to anything is total surrender on their part. It's not enough to pillory their opposition on suggesting more revenue is necessary, even from those who can most afford it and who took advantage of loopholes or favors to acquire wealth.

What they want is as much of their agenda as they can get without any compromise on their side. So my "negotiation" with them is to repeat my position again and again -- with a smile -- and propose popular items I want (such as infrastructure and a jobs program and a minimum wage increase) until they accept that these are items they either support or oppose.

Several times lately I'm heard the GOP say "Let's do what we agree", but it's always in the context of the GOP wants less and the Dems want more so since the lower amount within the higher amount, we do agree on the lower amount so let's settle on that.

I know, it sounds ridiculous, but they mask it in lots of other words to make it sound reasonable. For example, a GOP Congresswoman on CNN said yesterday that the sequester spending levels were the law of the land, just like the Dems say Obamacare is. Um. No. The sequester ran out at the end of the fiscal year. The GOP acts like it's a new baseline, and the Dems accepted it for six weeks to keep the government open, but it's not the law. If it was the government would be open.

All citizen have to watch out for this kind of hustle from both sides, but the GOP is cleverer and more ruthless, and the Dems don't call them on it nearly as often and as effectively as the GOP. Thanks to MP for trying to catch them on at least some of them.