Are Republicans falling into a trap by tying raising the debt ceiling to budget cuts?

I just had an odd thought.  Republicans have drawn a line in the sand:  no new taxes, no restoration of the old tax levels, all deficit reduction must be accomplished by budget cuts.  This is a fairly extreme position.  While most Americans aren’t eager to have tax increases, I think most reasonably feel that the deficit is so large that the only practical way to even begin to rein it in is by both raising taxes and cutting spending.  Anyway, the Republican have taken this stand and tied it directly to raising the debt ceiling.  [As an aside, I think they will either have to back off of this position, allowing tax increases, or accept deficit reductions far too small to even begin to solve the problem.  Perhaps they are just taking a hard negotiating position to see who blinks first, but I think they are setting themselves up to fail.  We shall see.]

But, isn’t this all backwards?  The implication if the Republican position is, gee, we’d like to do all of the things the government is doing, but we can’t afford it.  By making this all about the budget deficit and the debt ceiling, rather than saying there are many things (mostly redistributions of income) that the government shouldn’t be doing at all, we’re saying we’re too broke to do them.

I’ve fallen into this trap myself.  I’ve said on this blog that I think our government should do what real people do — figure out how much money we have, then budget what we are going to do with that money.  When the government runs out of money, it should quit spending.  Perhaps, however, the government should first figure out what it wants to do, and what it shouldn’t be doing, then budget to make sure it has the money to do what it wants to do.  What do you think?

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  1. Charles Martel says

    Zach often trips over his would-be cleverness. But, as always, it’s entertaining.

    For example, he suggests that we could eliminate the disparity between states that pay more in federal taxes than they get back. Does he say how this might be done? Of course not—that would require original thought. But, since Moose has aptly pointed out that Zach lets others do his heavy lifting, perhaps he could point us to a link that explains “if you eliminated the disparity?”

    Next Zache blithely passes over why blue states run such enormous deficits, except to imply that somehow it’s the federal taxes they’re paying that are the culprit. Not a hint of cognition about the nature of blue-state governments, which do not peg their deficit spending sprees on how much their citizens pay in federal taxes.  

  2. says

    Moose: Perhaps another pull from the link link provided will help explain you chart a little more:
    Yes, we read your link, and this was your point above.
    : You see, the result of your beautiful progressive tax scheme results in the very condition you claim to be unfair.
    To which we responded.

    Moose: Maybe your response should be: “You’re right, maybe my chart didn’t reinforce my position clearly, but I will get my people on getting an applicable link.”

    No. The chart did provide the necessary information. You had suggested that blue states were sponging off the red states, but the money is flowing in the opposite direction. Your original claim was wrong. 


  3. says

    Moose: Z, your chart explains zero, zilch, nada.

    Sure it does. It shows that money generally flows from the Blue States to the Red States, directly contradicting your previous position.

    Moose: Here is some clarification of my point: ranking of federal non-defense spending by state… You may have to do a little work, Z, to sort by the appropriate heading.

    You still aren’t making your point clear. Blue states put more in than they take out. We’re talking about money, right?

  4. Oldflyer says

    Hey Z; what’s with the “WE”?   Is this the “Royal we”?  Are you a team of low level Lefty staffers huddled in the incredible talking White House, trying to keep up with the flow of the blog?  Are you a bunch of college kids trying to act like grown ups?  Does the collective you get extra credit for participating in this discussion?
    You let another cat out of the bag, Z.  So far you have revealed that the tax code, in the minds of you and your collaborators, is not about funding government, but about leveling society.  You revealed that you think it is “fair” for the government to confiscate from people who exceed an arbitrary income level so as to distribute the money to others; after the government wastes a significant percentage, of course.  Now you reveal that  the verbose Zachriel is not a person but actually a cabal in disguise.
    HA! HA!  Cracking me up!
    You should be more careful with your responses.

  5. Moose says

    Z, we are also talking about geography. Payroll taxes are being credited to states where companies are based, but the employees for whom those payroll taxes are contributed live elsewhere. I live in a red state but your silly chart gives the tax contribution apportionment to a blue state because it is headquartered there. If we were to place the contributions accordingly, your cute little chart may not look the same.

    My chart depicts actual dollars (yes, money) that flows TO each state from the federal government.

  6. says

    Oldflyer: So far you have revealed that the tax code, in the minds of you and your collaborators, is not about funding government, but about leveling society. 

    Not sure where you got that idea. Markets, including the ability to make money (i.e. disparities in income), are the driving force of economic and technological development.

  7. says

    Moose: My chart depicts actual dollars (yes, money) that flows TO each state from the federal government.

    Yes, but that is only meaningful in resolving your previous claim if you include money coming from each state. Most of the disparity is due to income differences. Blue States have higher income levels, on average, and pay higher marginal tax rates. They carry more of the federal tax burden. 

  8. says

    Hey Z; what’s with the “WE”?   Is this the “Royal we”?

    Old, he does that whenever Z is annoyed at not getting his way ideologically. He’s like a cultist relying upon dogma and saying we have numbers and thus we are right. Or at least, that’s what he thinks even if he won’t say it. 

    Actually, with his “consensus” propaganda lines, he did say.

    Z is, by some accounts, British or German. Not American at all even.

    He did all this a long time ago, Old. For those of us that read most of his comments, at least. You could say he isn’t careful, because he already knows that we know.


  9. Moose says

    Z – ” Blue States have higher income levels, on average, and pay higher marginal tax rates.”

    This proves my point. Your chart does not clarify what taxes are being represented. You state ONLY “income tax levels,” but the chart vaguely includes “Taxes.” without any clarification.

    If company located in Minneapolis employes tens of thousands of people spread accross the land, those payroll taxes would be credited to ONLY MN. So, the chart does a poor job of reinforcing your point, whereas my chart describes specifically to which states go most of the federal funds.

    I am willing to engage in debate, if you can retract your chart and start fresh with better ammunition.

  10. Charles Martel says

    Zach: “If you eliminated the disparity, then it would go a long way to eliminating the deficits in the liberal states.”

    Zach: “There are a number of reasons for the disparities and there would be no practical way to eliminate them, nor is there necessarily anything wrong with some disparities.”

    LOL! Oh, Great Pontificator, which one is it?

  11. Moose says

    Charles, looks like that puts an end to this debate. Z needs to decide on their position in order to contribute to another string. I, myself, have to go to work in order that the VAST MAJORITY of my income tax will be routed to liberal states that need to distribute to those more deserving than myself.

    Goodbye for now, Bookworm Room.

  12. says

    MooseYour chart does not clarify what taxes are being represented.

    We provided links to the study and to a discussion of the disparities from the  Tax Foundation. 
    Moose: I am willing to engage in debate, if you can retract your chart and start fresh with better ammunition. 
    It’s your claim at issue. 
    MooseLiberally run states are drowning in debt that people in other states are getting tired of paying for. 
    In reply, we cited studies by the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan tax research group, which contradicted your assertion, while you have provided nothing to support your claim.  


  13. Charles Martel says

    Zach, you’re done. Moose pretty well demolished your argument, and most of us have had it up to here with your autistic tactics. Try moving over to a fresh thread where you can bore us anew.

  14. SADIE says

    Charles Martel – LOL. You really charm me. I am more of an Eastwood fan.

    You‘ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya punk?

  15. says

    On the contrary, CM neither Zach nor Moose has proven his point.  And Moose, as the person who made the statement, has the burden of proof. 

    Zach’s chart and argument fails to take account of things like the clustering of corproations in the liberal states.  Nor do they control for income.  For example, what is the tax expense and benefit for a person making $50,000 a year in a blue state compared to a person making $50,000 a year in a red state? 

    Moose’s article and chart are interesting, but they don’treally answer the question either.  The charts aren’t even broken down per capita, which they woulod need to be for the comparison to even begin to be meaningful. 

    I have no idea who is right, or even if it matters, but we certainly need more data than we have so far.  By the way, I thought it was interesting that one of the factors mentioned in Moose’s article was farm subsidies, which I think is the kind of government expenditure that Zach would say illustrates his point.  

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