The main reason that Rand Paul and other House tea partyers rejected the New Year’s Day package was that it did not include spending cuts. I understand their dismay, but at that point, spending cuts weren’t on the table and there was no way to put them there. Better to take the deficit-reduction stand on the next fiscal battlefield: Refuse to raise the debt ceiling until there’s some attempt to balance the budget instead of increasing the national debt another $4 trillion during the remaining years of Obama’s presidency.
Those Republicans who voted for the New Year’s Day package voted to “permanently” cut tax rates and the AMT for the middle class, and to put off the debate on spending cuts. The “sequester” cuts that had also been scheduled for that midnight hour have been delayed with the hope that the new Congress will carefully set priorities for reform and reduction. Don’t hold your breath.
Last weekend, I heard former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson complaining that back in his day, Republicans and Democrats worked together on compromises. Yes, Senator, that’s how we got here, deficit hawks compromising with big spenders/borrowers. If I were in Congress, the New Year’s Day compromise would be my last.
Barbara Anderson of Marblehead is a regular Salem News columnist.