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Fiscal Policy &Virginia politics Richard Falknor on 21 Jul 2011 11:58 pm

Debt Crisis: Appropriator Frank Wolf & the Gang of Six

UPDATE! Scroll to end — “Thirty Problems with the ‘Gang of Six’ Proposal

As what is becoming an historic struggle over bringing Federal spending — and thus Federal power — under control, northern Virginia Representative Frank Wolf (and Tennessee Democrat Jim Cooper) on Tuesday wrote to House Speaker John Boehner and Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi —

The Gang of Six plan is bitter medicine and, while not perfect, could restore our fiscal health. There is never a convenient time to make tough decisions, but the longer we put off fixing the problem, the worse the medicine will be. We believe this approach deserves the full and immediate attention of the House of Representatives.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Ben Pershing in his Washington Post piece of yesterday “Frank Wolf backs ‘Gang of Six’ plan” even claimed “Wolf has long been an advocate for fiscal discipline” citing as evidence Mr. Wolf’s own website.

Let’s see how conservatives view the Gang of Six “plan” which Mr. Wolf endorses. They estimate tax hikes ranging from $1 trillion to $3 trillion.

Today the editors of National Review on Line in their “Government by Platitude” declared–

“Some Republicans are getting desperate over the debt-ceiling debate, but we hope not desperate enough to embrace the Gang of Six proposal. It may be the worst of the debt-ceiling compromises placed before them to date.” . . . . “The main deficit-reduction instruments would be a $1.2 trillion tax hike and deep cuts to defense spending”. . . . “If the tax side is contradictory, the spending side is simply fuzzy — it depends on the vaguest of generalities. It calls for the government to ‘encourage greater economic growth’ and ‘spend health-care dollars more efficiently.’ That is government by platitude.”(Underscoring Forum’s.)

The American Enterprise Institute’s Marc Thiessen in today’s Washington Post reveals “The Gang of Six’s $3 Trillion Tax Hike” —

“When normal people judge what constitutes a tax increase, they compare what they will pay tomorrow to what they are paying today. If that number goes up, it’s a tax increase. That is not how the Gang of Six did its tax calculations. The Gang of Six’s assumptions are based on current law, not current policy. Big difference. Current policy assumes Americans will continue to pay what they are paying right now. Current law assumes that, over the next decade, taxes will go up by some $4.5 trillion dollars because of tax cut expirations. The Gang of Six reduces this $4.5 trillion tax increase by $1.5 trillion — and calls it a tax cut. But the practical result is really a $3 trillion tax increase over what Americans pay today.”

And for those who would prefer to get their analysis from a Republican pillar, here (video) is senator Jeff Sessions, ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee

The Tea Party People: Why Shouldn’t They Be Angry?”

The myth that the Gang of Six outline is a concrete plan with $4 trillion in deficit reduction: ‘My staff on the Budget Committee, taking the summary pages that they’ve produced for us, can only find $1.2 trillion in reduced spending in that outline, along with what is clearly a $1 trillion tax increase. Where does the other $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction claimed in the outline come from?'”

What did Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions say about our fiscal fix?

“When this kind of leadership has occurred in the Congress of the United States of America, it is utterly, totally indefensible — it should never, ever have happened.”

Conservatives should hear the entire Sessions video.

But the good Mr. Wolf is a big-government Republican, and he is — and has been — a part of the Beltway GOP Establishment.

In our May 14 post “Does Appropriator Frank Wolf Seek A Taxing Bargain?” we summarized

“Some Highlights of the Wolf Spending Record”

“We vividly recall Dan Mitchell’s warning in 2003 that the House-of-Representatives-embellished Medicare Prescription Drug Act would jeopardize the Bush tax cuts.  Mr. Wolf along with most (but not all, Mike Pence for example) Republicans supported that measure.  (To apportion paternity equitably for the Medicare Prescription Drug Act, Mr. Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform failed to put a spoke in the wheel of that major entitlement expansion so important to the Bush White House.)  Frank Wolf also voted for an expansion of the costly SCHIP program during the opening days of the Obama Administration; he had earlier voted to override then president George Bush’s veto.  (See our A Rush to Government Medicine: SCHIP and the ‘Stimulus.’ ) Mr. Wolf also voted for No Child Left Behind. He voted for the TARP bill in 2008, although one wouldn’t know it from his current anti-deficit rhetoric. Just last month, he voted against the tougher (even than Ryan) Republican Study Committee (Garrett) version of the FY2012 Budget Resolution.”

“Mr. Wolf expresses concern about the supposed Grover Norquist opposition to getting rid of the ‘ethanol subsidy’ in his Thursday Washington Post op-ed. But in 2007 Wolf voted for the final version of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 which mandates ethanol use. In fairness, Wolf’s op-ed was referring to a dispute over what constitutes a tax hike. But he is using the properly criticized ethanol program as a sympathetic back drop. Consequently readers should be aware of Wolf’s vote for the ethanol mandate. Here are the final 2007 Senate and House votes. Here is our take from 2008: Senate Energy Expert: ‘Dramatic’ Action to Fix Ethanol Mess, where GOP Senator James Inhofe slams the 2007 ethanol mandate.”

Senator Jeff Sessions:
“We’ve got a battle over the vision for the future of America.”

 

Mr. Wolf’s positions were rarely if ever publicly questioned by the local GOP Establishment. He can accurately say that he spoke for the movers and shakers of Loudoun County. Consequently they now share responsibility for the actions he took in expanding the Federal (and by derivation) the local role of government.

The only remaining question is whether any grass-roots conservative groups in his Congressional district have emerged with sufficient grit and wit effectively to call Mr. Wolf to account and bring him to a better mind.

Stay tuned.

* * * * *

UPDATE! Michael Hammond, former General Counsel of the Senate Steering Committee, spells out “Thirty Problems with the ‘Gang of Six’ Proposal.”

 

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