Monday, March 26, 2012

Tea regret...  

I have been mildly amazed at the anti-government ferocity in rural America, even while we were cashing many forms of government checks. I still think the majority of the virulent anti-Obama hatred (and that is a reluctant assessment) arises from who he is rather than his policies.

In fact, anyone could have seen how this would play out. With the Ryan budget, it has suddenly become undeniable.
It must have been a lot of fun to show up at meetings in the summer of 2010 and bash your sitting congressman or senator. No one knows how many video clips were shot of Tea Party members shouting down members of the U.S. House and Senate, some of whom had put their careers on the line for farmers.
Now the chickens are coming home to roost, so to speak, and, for the first time in decades farmers are faced with the very real possibility of not having a new farm bill or much chance of an extension of the current legislation when the 2008 law expires later this year.
By now, most of you have seen reports of the new federal budget proposed by Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee. The proposal would cut $33 billion from federal farm programs or about $10 billion more than the House and Senate Agriculture Committees proposed last fall.
Unlike previous years, this time the House of Representatives is filled with freshman members who have little or no sense of the purpose of farm programs or the stability they provide to agriculture. All most of them know is they think they have a mandate to cut federal spending. [More]
The curious thing for me is I am not alarmed by budget cuts to ag, so don't have a dog in this hunt, so to speak. But the Ryan budget is rapidly becoming the Republican budget, and as he is forced to fill in details, you can hear the gasps.
Of course, it is impossible to know what tax expenditures Ryan plans to eliminate; we can only guess. But it is worth knowing that just the top 6 tax expenditures account for more than half of the dollar cost of all tax expenditures. These include the exclusion for health insurance and the deduction for mortgage interest. Among those not in the top 6 are the deduction for charitable contributions and the deduction for state and local taxes.
In other words, it will be impossible to achieve Ryan’s revenue target without pretty much wiping the slate clean of every tax preference except for a handful of the most popular ones. This may be worth doing, but will be very difficult. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 reduced tax expenditures by about 2.7 of GDP, according to the TPC. If it could be duplicated, that would only get Ryan to his absolute minimum level of revenues as a share of GDP. Getting to the upper end of his target range would require a tax reform one third larger.
In short, looking only at the tax side of Ryan’s plan, he is anticipating enactment of an extraordinarily ambitious tax reform on top of the most ambitious budget cutting effort ever enacted. He would sharply cut outlays for every major program except Social Security and national defense. Every governmental function one can think of would be virtually abolished except for Medicare, Social Security and defense. A key reason for the severity of these cuts, of course, is that Ryan would cut taxes at the same time he is cutting spending. To achieve balance with lower than projected revenues requires even larger cuts in spending. [More]

The harsh rhetoric of the last 3 years hasn't left the majority of farmers much room to maneuver on policy. These are THEIR representatives, whom they sent to Washington to mandate concealed carry, shut down the Fed, obstruct any compromise, and spot Muslims under every bush. And they may be about to send some more.

What did they expect?

There is some parallel here with raising pit bulls, but I won't go there.


Anonymous said...

John, We sent them to Washington to repeal Obamacare and the massive Administrative regulations he put into effect day 1 along with being sickened by the Chicago tatics that HE brought to Wasington. I remember the "read it later" bills HE jamed thru w/o the "compromise" HE now wants. We are and will continue to pay for OBAMAS rotten leadership. He was the mistake.

John Phipps said...


Thanks for your feedback. Please see my later post in reply.