Friday, January 4, 2013

Hugh Hewitt on the Fiscal Cliff and Debt Ceiling

Hugh Hewitt on his radio show on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 had as a guest Representative Paul Ryan, WI-R, who made a good case why he voted in favor of the fiscal cliff deal.  While at first I was one of those conservatives who was very upset at approving such a deal that contained basically no cuts in spending, I realize now that this was the best deal possible that could have been extracted from the president and the Democrats [as they hold the white house and the senate]; also, it would have put the GOP in the untenable political position of being held responsible for increasing the taxes on every working American. As the congressman rightly pointed out, now that the tax issue was out of the way, the GOP does have the leverage of spending cuts in the raising of the debt ceiling debate. As I admire congressman Ryan greatly, I respect him for his vote.

Hugh Hewitt agreed with congressman Ryan that Senator Mitch McConnell did the best job that possibly could have been done in the bad situation and said the GOP congress did the right thing by approving the Senate deal. But Hugh then put the marker down.  He said in the upcoming discussions about raising the debt ceiling is where Senator McConnell has to take a stand.  Hugh Hewitt said  "The debt ceiling negotiations is where Mitch McConnell must play hardball."

While being temporarily upset at the Republicans, I have to look at the reality of what we potentially faced and the deal we eventually got.  To get a permanent tax rate at the Bush levels for everyone under $450,000 and the fixing of the Alternate Minimum Tax [AMT] so it doesn't cover millions of Americans are two big items McConnell negotiated with the tax loving liberals. That was a very good accomplishment. Now that this tax issue is out of the way, there is no more delay time for fixing the real cliff this country is staring in the face-the debt cliff.  That dangerous cliff is real and if not addressed soon, will bring down this country in a Greek like disaster. If that happens, that will be the beginning of the end of the most exceptional country in the history of the world.

The GOP, every time they give in [i.e., cave] to the Democrats, keep using a variation on the old Brooklyn Dodgers phrase as they say "wait till next time."   Well this time is next time. This time may be the last time. If you don't use this raising of the debt ceiling debate to finally use the leverage you have now, there may never be another chance to save our country from economic disaster.  You might say that is a little hyperbolic...I don't think so...not when we are talking about 16.4 trillion and counting.

An update: Hugh Hewitt had Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, on his show on Thursday afternoon. This was another great interview by Hugh.  Senator McConnell said that if president Obama thinks, like he has been saying, that the GOP will just accept raising the debt ceiling without serious discussions on spending cuts [including entitlement reform] he will be greatly mistaken.  I like that kind of rhetoric from Senator McConnell but the GOP must not just settle for talking about the issue of cutting spending.  They must use the leverage they say they have now and show action, not just talk words.  I am not sure if they will after hearing Senator McConnell's answer to Hugh's questioning him if he was willing to go through the debt ceiling [as Senator Rand Paul had said the day before] if needed be to ensure spending cuts and at least a framework for entitlement reform.  McConnell didn't answer that question directly but rather said "hopefully that won't be necessary...."  I would have felt a lot better if the minority leader had told Hugh directly, yes we are ready to go through the debt ceiling to force the president to accept spending cuts.   

One thing that also kind of bothered me in one of minority leader's McConnell's answers was when Hugh Hewitt asked him about the devastating defense cuts of the sequester, and if the GOP would be able to stop those. Senator McConnell said that if that meant foregoing any cuts, then they shouldn't stop it.  He said of course they would try to stop those cuts, but they must be accompanied with the same amount of cuts found elsewhere.   My worry is that the Democrats will not agree to cuts found elsewhere and the GOP will do what they are famous for and fold like a cheap suit. Yes, we need huge cuts in government spending but the one area of government that cannot afford huge cuts is the defense department.  This is the one area of government that should never be sacrificed to save other spending of the government.  This involves our national security, and we cannot afford devastating cuts to our national security.

As you can tell from this post of the great guests that you will only hear on the Hugh Hewitt radio show, Hugh is tops in intelligent political talk radio.  You can hear every interview or previous show Hugh has by joining the Hughniverse web site. If you do join it, I will make a suggestion to listen to one of the segments with the great columnist, radio commentator, and humorist from Minnesota, James Lileks. On the same show Hugh had the senate minority leader on, James Lileks was on to answer some rapid fire questions on personalities of 2012.  @Lileks [name on twitter] answered flawlessly in even greater rapid fire answers.  If you do join Hughniverse and go to the podcast section, you must listen to that interview.

Using the podcast on Hughniverse I have made this video of Hugh Hewitt interviewing Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, on Thursday:


Unknown said...

An excellent job, Michael, of summarizing key points made by Cong. Ryan, by Sen. McConnell (I drove him once in the limo), & by Hugh himself. I must admit that it is getting harder and harder & HARDER! to follow the DC GOP crowd down this seemingly endless path of leftward marching w/ Democrats into deficit & debt & destruction of America! The GOP at some level, in some degree is responsible for this, & IT HAS GOT TO STOP! The GOP is in great danger of losing its very soul! If it is merely a yes vote for Democrat policies, conservatives will CONTINUE to look elsewhere to raise their flag.

Big Mike said...

Great comments Balladeer! I agree this is the time for GOP to finally act to stop this destructive spending behavior-- no more excuses!!!!