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The Ryan/Boehner cunundrum

Last week Paul Ryan blamed President Obama for automatic sequestration cuts. However, in August, 2011, Ryan said that he and congressional Republicans deserved credit for the sequester. He said this on Fox News, so it could not have been missed by those who now buy the line that the sequestration is all President Obama's fault.
 

Recently when questioned on this by ABC News Ryan said,
"So those are the budget caps on discretionary spending. Those occurred. We want those. Everybody wants budget caps. The sequester we're talking about now was backing up the super-committee. Remember the super committee in addition to those caps was supposed to come up with $1.2 trillion in savings. The Republicans on the super-committee offered even higher revenues in exchange for spending cuts as part of that. It was rejected by the president and the Democrats. So no resolution occurred and therefore the sequester is occurring. And what we've always said is let's cut spending in smarter ways to replace this sequester. We passed two bills doing that and we've heard nothing in response from the Senate Democrats or the president."


But, when Ryan wanted credit for the sequester in August, 2011, he wasn't talking about what he now refers to as budget caps. He was specifically talking about the sequester. He is now attempting to change history by using a different term. He changed "sequester" to "budget caps". The GOP members on the super-committee had offered tax breaks they said might someday lead to higher revenues, not the actual "higher revenues”. The Republicans also refused any super-committee compromise that the president and congressional Democrats were attempting to strike.

Meanwhile, the White House and Senate Democrats have proposed a sequester alternative, while the House GOP has not.


When confronted with the fact that he had originally taken credit for what he now blames on the president, Ryan's response was obviously untrue.


As a compromise, Ryan wants 100% of what the Republicans want now.

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And while both Democrats and Republicans agree that the tax code has loopholes and unnecessary deductions that need to be eliminated, and while both agree that closing these loopholes and scrapping those unnecessary deductions would be worth hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade, Ryan made it clear Republicans believe the hundreds of billions of dollars that would result must be applied to more tax cuts.

Democrats, meanwhile, believe this money should be used to reduce the nation's long-term debt problem.
 

Apparently, “tax reform” to Ryan means giving the wealthiest Americans tax breaks.


Along with this flip flop on Ryan's part, John Boehner is doing a little revision of his own during the days leading up to the March 1 due date for the sequester. Back in the summer of 2011 he presented the sequester as the Republicans' way to hold the president accountable. In his July 31, 2011, PowerPoint presentation, entitled “Two-Step Approach To Hold President Obama Accountable", Mr. Boehner explained the sequester in favorable terms to the Republicans.

The final slide in his PowerPoint  presentation made the case for sequestration. The slide said,

1) Sets up a new sequestration process to cut spending across-the-board, and ensure that any debt limit increase is met with greater spending cuts-IF Joint Committee fails to achieve at least $1,2 trillion in deficit reduction
2) If this happens, POTUS may request up to $1.2 trillion for debt limit increase, and if granted, then across-the-board spending cuts would result that would equal the difference between $1.2 trillion and the deficit reduction enacted as a result of the Joint Committee.
3) Across-the-board spending cuts would apply to FY's 2013-2021, and apply to both mandatory & discretionary programs.
4) Total reductions would be equally split between defense and non-defense programs. Across-the-board cuts would also apply to Medicare. Other programs, including Social Security, Medicaid, veterans, and civil and military pay, would be exempt.
5) Sequestration process is designed to guarantee that Congress acts on the Joint Committee's legislation to cut spending.

Two days after his PowerPoint presentation the Budget Control Act was passed overwhelmingly by Congress with a Republican majority and signed by the president with John Boehner proclaiming, “When you look at this final agreement that we came to with the White House, I got 98 percent of what I wanted. I’m pretty happy”.

Now Boehner, within days of the sequester taking affect, is blaming Obama for what he himself promoted and was proud of getting while refusing to consider any new tax revenues to avoid it. The Republican leaders suddenly insist only on spending cuts.


The Republicans' only defense so far has been to attempt to adjust the time line in which things happened. It was at the 11th hour that the White House came up with its sequester idea after the House Republicans refused to raise the debt limit without a dollar-for-dollar savings, and refused to consider any revenue to achieve that target with Republican leaders not agreeing on more than $950 billion in targeted spending cuts.


The sequester was designed to force Congress to find the requisite savings. Congress failed to do so.
With President Obama and Democrats pitching a plan to replace the sequester for one year with a mix of targeted spending cuts and new revenue, House Republicans are still stalling on new revenue.

So now with the fecal matter entering the fan, both Ryan and Boehner are not just distancing themselves from that which they promoted and bragged they had gotten, but are attempting to present the whole mess as the president's fault.

And, isn't this the party that acts self-righteous when they express anger at any blame being assigned to W for things that he did and the effects they had, and continue to, on the financial mess the country is dealing with?

Again it is a case of the victimizer attempting to play the role of the victim in order to get away with what they are doing.

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