This is absurd. Speaker John Boehner is now behind a move to bring a “clean” Balanced Budget Amendment to a vote in the House of Representatives. The Amendment in question would provide no protections against runaway government, or limit the ability of Congress to raise taxes. Roll Call is reporting that the Republican leadership is willing to consider the weakened, unrestricted version of the amendment in what will surely be the most ridiculous act of self-defeat in a long string of them by this House Leadership. The Democrats like the “clean bill” because it’s going to present a huge “get out of jail free card” for them. In the form that is now under consideration, the Amendment would serve as a club over the head of people who wish to reduce the size and scope of government. It’s another pathetic surrender, and it’s not acceptable.
What’s at stake is this: The amendment now under consideration is stripped of any requirements to cut spending or limit taxation. Under this so-called “clean” version of the bill, if Congress wished to spend 100% of our GDP, the proposed amendment would permit it, and permit or even require that Congress raise taxes to support it. In short, this proposal is a national suicide pact. Earlier this week, 31 conservative organizations signed a letter published by Americans for Tax Reform to John Boehner insisting on the stronger restrictions. From the letter:
“Unless tax hikes are taken off the table, reckless lawmakers will increase taxes to pay for these new bloated spending levels, rather than bring spending in line with revenues. A ‘clean’ BBA provides the excuse big spenders seek to raise taxes and grow government,”
This is exactly correct. The letter continued:
“Any lawmaker committed to restoring American solvency cannot seriously vote for a BBA that does not include a super-majority requirement for tax increases,”
It’s not surprising that John Boehner would seek to do this for the sake of political expedience, but what is shocking about this is that it will undoubtedly be used to either punish the entire economy, or to politically attack Republicans. Let me explain the way in which it will be used for the latter purpose, since the former is self-explanatory. What will happen is that a number of House Conservatives will revolt against party leadership over this(and they had damned-well better,) but this will mean the Amendment will go down to defeat, and this will enable Democrats to say “We voted for a BBA, but Republicans obstructed it.” The details and the truth won’t matter. The President will claim: “See, we tried to get a Balanced Budget Amendment, but those darned Republicans stopped it.”
The way to prevent a disaster is to introduce the stronger version of the Amendment. This means it may go down to defeat, but if it does, it will have been defeated with Democrats’ votes. That would flip the narrative, and place the burden of defending a bad position on Democrats. What Boehner’s surrender promises us is a complete disaster of unrestricted tax increases, or the loss of the House majority, or both. Boehner isn’t fit to lead. He doesn’t understand the concept. He’s a deal-making, arm-twisting surrender monkey, and if the GOP majority survives this disastrous leadership for another two years, it will have been a miracle, but Boehner must go. Cantor isn’t looking any better.