Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Red Lines Redux - UPDATED

In usual parlance, the term 'Red Line' is meant to imply a line or barrier that cannot be crossed without some severe ramification... like an engine's RPM exceeding it's 'Red Line' maximum after which point the engine is at risk of 'blowing'.

The Obama Administration has putting this term's use into overtime these days - defining red lines for the actions of the bloody Assad regime in Syria regarding it's chemical weapons as well as defining red lines for the negotiations that are supposed to be taking place between the White House (on behalf of Congressional Democrats) and the GOP Congressional Leadership.

In the last several days, the President or his minions have announced 'Red Lines' regarding not bringing any discussions or negotiations about entitlement reform into the scope of the fiscal cliff debate - excluding the three largest programs (Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security) which are part of our federal spending.

They have announced 'Red Lines' around the President's flip flop in new revenues, insisting that new revenues come from higher income tax rates on the wealthy.

They have also announced 'Red Lines' around the usual vapid qualifiers on any agreement - saying that any solution that doesn't meet their (slightly warped) definitions of 'fairness' or 'balance'.

The effects of these 'Red Line' qualifiers?  To define, for all practical purposes, that the President sees no personal or political downside for taking the country off the fiscal cliff.

He knows very well that his sycophants in the mainstream media will attack and blame the GOP for their failure to 'compromise' - or as most of define it, surrender.

Thinking about this, I've noted a couple of other interesting aspects.

First, one can only have wished, as the we look at the Middle East - and in particular the rise of Islamic Jihadist and al-Qaeda in the region over the last couple of years along with Iran's accelerating efforts to produce a nuclear weapon, that the President was as insistent and active with tossing 'Red Lines' at the Islamic fundamentalists and Iran as he is with tossing them at the GOP.

Second, if there was any doubt that the President intends to take the country over the cliff in his effort to destroy the GOP, that disappears with the latest buzzword being used from the President, to Jay Carney, to SecTreas, and others in the Administration to demonize the GOP.  Because starting today, all of the above are insisting that the GOP, in their refusal to surrender and accept the President's ludicrous offer, are now holding the process 'hostage' and forcing the President to shoot / take the country over the cliff.

This rhetoric will do little to prevent plunging off the cliff - and only frames the argument that the intransigence of the GOP is the problem when the person / entity being intransigence is the President who is insisting not only on hiking taxes, but getting a carte blanche approval from Congress to have sole control on the debt ceiling.

There's been no counter-offer from the President - and no clearly no response from the President that demonstrates any willingness to reduce spending - even though the President has increased spending over 30% in the past 4 years.  He continues to insist that our challenges are related to insufficient revenues- not too much spending.  Even more laughable is that his 'solution' for revenues will only cover about 7% (at best) of the current annual deficit.  What about the other 93%?

But perhaps the most asinine insistence from the President, beyond the GOP's outright surrender, is the demand that he gets carte blanche on setting the US National Debt Ceiling - which is basically an intent to eliminate that debt ceiling.

Let's put that request in a form that all of you understand... It's like going to your bank, where you have a large credit card debt balance, and since you are at your credit limit, demanding bank grant you an unlimited credit limit in order to allow you to reduce your credit card balance.

Why doesn't the President just demand that all banks also eliminate their credit limits too if that is such a great solution for massive indebtedness?

These economic ideas can only come from a community organizer.

UPDATE - Maybe that is why Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader is declining to bring the President's 'fiscal cliff' plan to a vote in the Senate...

If the President’s proposal was made in good faith, Democrats should be eager to vote for it. So I’m surprised the Majority Leader just declined the chance for them to support it with their votes. I guess we’re left to conclude that it couldn’t even pass by a bare majority of votes, and that they’d rather take the country off the cliff than actually work out a good-faith agreement that reflects tough choices on both sides. … I think folks should know who actually wants to raise taxes on family farmers and manufacturers, and who thinks we can solve our fiscal problems without doing anything serious to our real long term liabilities. Democrats are so focused on the politics of this debate they seem to forget there’s a cost. They’re feeling so good about the election, they’ve forgotten they’ve got a duty to govern. A lot of people are going to suffer a lot if we go off this cliff. That’s why we assumed Democrats wanted to avoid it. We thought it was the perfect opportunity to do something together. Apparently we were wrong.

'Pinky' Reid's response? It's all just a 'stunt'.

A 'stunt' like defining 'Red Lines' and using rhetoric that the GOP is holding the country 'hostage'?

There is no good faith intent by the President or his allies to prevent the country from going off the cliff.

That's a feature - not a bug.  

Because one doesn't let a crisis go to waste - and if you don't have a convenient crisis - create one.

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