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March 30, 2011

Marco Rubio: I Will Not Vote To Raise The Debt Ceiling Unless Accompanied by Spending Cuts, Entitlement Reform, and Tax Reform
Me: There You Go With That Sexy-Talk Again
Marco Rubio: Oh Please I Thought This Was Over


This seems like a sound strategy. I'm actually more on Monty's Team DOOM, because I doubt very much America's ruling class has the political will to save the country.

And that's not even exactly right -- It's not just America's ruling class which is slow-walking towards disaster, it's America's citizens themselves. There is a reason, after all, that our elected representatives have chosen the course of irresponsibility and crushing debt every time they've been given the choice. It's a popular decision. Our representatives aren't exactly voting against our wishes on this issue.

Still, I'm looking for some kind of ray of light here. Maybe Rubio's pairing of one unpopular policy choice (responsible reforms to entitlements, cuts in apparently-popular spending programs) with another unpopular choice (raising the debt limit) can wake some people up.

I will vote to defeat an increase in the debt limit unless it is the last one we ever authorize and is accompanied by a plan for fundamental tax reform, an overhaul of our regulatory structure, a cut to discretionary spending, a balanced-budget amendment, and reforms to save Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.


Such reductions are important, but nondefense discretionary spending is a mere 19% of the budget. Focusing on this alone would lead to draconian cuts to essential and legitimate programs. To get our debt under control, we must reform and save our entitlement programs.

No changes should be made to Medicare and Social Security for people who are currently in the system, like my mother. But people decades away from retirement, like me, must accept that reforms are necessary if we want Social Security and Medicare to exist at all by the time we are eligible for them.

Finally, instead of simply raising the debt limit, we should reassure job creators by setting a firm statutory cap on our public debt-to-GDP ratio. A comprehensive plan would wind down our debt to sustainable levels of approximately 60% within a decade and no more than half of the economy shortly thereafter. If Congress fails to meet these debt targets, automatic across-the-board spending reductions should be triggered to close the gap. These public debt caps could go in tandem with a Constitutional balanced budget amendment.

Well, I don't like that last thing, really. Statutory caps can always be overcome by majority votes (though I suppose it would empower a minority of 41 senators to filibuster and thus defeat any attempt to override the cap). I'm not against such procedural changes to future spending procedures; I just know these are often used as an unsuitable replacement for current substantive action.

I also don't like the way he puts that bit about "draconian cuts to essential and legitimate programs." I think I'm growing more and more fond of the Rand Paul/Jim DeMint line of thinking on this, and am not happy about statements that implicitly, I think, seem to defend current spending -- which is absurd -- as "essential and legitimate." Domestic discretionary spending can and should be cut by 15%, 20%, or more.

Still, I take some heart in the fact that leading members of the caucus don't seem to have given up and consigned the country to its fate.

Via Hot Air, which has some interesting quotes of the day from yesterday -- including Rubio's reluctance to rule out a vice presidential bid.

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posted by Ace at 11:23 AM

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