[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Cloudy
Cloudy
68°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
June 17
1890 - 18-day murder trial of Castaic's W.C. Chormicle and W.A. Gardner ends in acquittal [story]


The Rational Center | Commentary by John Zaring
| Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013

johnzaring2012President Barack Obama walked into the East Room of the White House on Monday for his final press conference of his first administration and forcefully threw down the gauntlet at the feet of Republicans in Congress.

With strength in his voice, Obama said, “We are not a deadbeat nation.”

Obama pointed out that raising the debt ceiling does not authorize additional spending; it only guarantees that America will pay for spending to which Congress has already committed. He reminded the world that America does not dine and dash, and he warned Republicans not even to try.

To quote him, “They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The financial well being of the American people is not leverage to be used. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip.”

Some Republicans in Congress apparently think it is. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the House Republican Conference Chairwoman, told Politico: “I think it is possible that we would shut down the government to make sure that President Obama understands that we’re serious.”

Treasury Sec. Timothy Geithner recently announced that through “extraordinary measures” our creditors can be held off until mid-February or so before the whole house of cards implodes – which doesn’t leave much time for Republicans in Congress to come to their senses and stop acting like primates who puff all up and make a lot of noise when agitated.

With Monday’s press conference, the president escalated this conflict preemptively, claiming the high ground to magnify the dangers for Republicans should the tea party wing successfully blow up the economy and take all of us down with it. Thankfully, there are a few sensible Republicans still out there. “This is not the normal way forward; this represents a broken system,” said former Republican presidential candidate Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah.

My guess is that there are enough rational Republicans to shift their next “stand” against Obama from the debt ceiling to the expiration of the sequester, which comes at the end of March. If Republicans decide to make this their Waterloo, it still might lead to a shutdown of the federal government, but at least the world’s economy wouldn’t be torpedoed in the process. And while polls show this will offer only a marginally better outcome for the GOP politically, the catastrophe for all will be smaller.

Despite real evidence to the contrary, Republicans have for decades successfully spun the tall tale that Democrats are reckless, feckless spenders while the GOP is all about smaller government and fiscal conservatism. Neither is true. You might be surprised to know that the president who raised the debt ceiling most often was not a “big spending” Democrat, but in fact the most revered of all modern Republicans, the vaunted Ronald Reagan, who did so 17 times. George H.W. Bush was next, with eight increases in just one term, followed by son George W. Bush with seven. The highest Democrat on the list? That was Bill Clinton, who did so a relatively paltry four times in his two terms.

The irony of this is, we’re having this argument at exactly the moment when the deficit has shrunk at the fastest rate since the Korean War. In December, America’s deficit was $260 million dollars – that’s million, not billion – the lowest monthly total at any point in five years. In Washington terms, that’s as close to a balanced budget as we’ve seen, well, since we actually had a balanced budget.

Which fiscally responsible Republican president was it who last balanced America’s budget?

Bush One? No. The second Bush? Nah, we’re still cleaning up his mess. It must have been Reagan, right? Oops, nope. He ran big deficits. Sorry.

It was actually Bill Clinton. Not only was he the last president to balance a budget, but he also did it four years in a row and left office with a surplus. And do you know who was in charge of the Budget Office during three of those four years? It was Obama’s nominee to replace Geithner as our next Treasury Secretary, his current chief of staff, the wildly uncontroversial Jack Lew.

By the way, my Republican friends, the last president from your party to balance a budget was Dwight D. Eisenhower, in 1956 and 1957.

Boy, how facts can be a nuisance. Here’s another one:

For the first three months of fiscal 2013, the federal government has actually seen a rapidly shrinking deficit, so in many ways we are chasing a vanishing problem. Obama has already trimmed $1.4 trillion and added $600 trillion in revenue (by returning tax rates for those who make over $400,000 annually to Clinton-era rates).

Yes, I recognize that government overspends, and more cuts need to be made, but they shouldn’t be the exclusive burden of the middle class. Let’s balance them from other sources – things like a bloated defense budget that is larger than the next 13 countries combined, or silly subsidies to oil companies that have achieved record profits while America has floundered. And yes, by reforming a tax code riddled with loopholes and special waivers.

Few people realize that because of historically low interest rates, America is in reality paying less interest on our debt today than at any point during the prior three administrations, and while rates will surely go up as the economy continues to improve, it is likely to be several years before rates return to pre-Bush apocalypse levels.

Therefore, I support Obama’s logic that we can borrow more now (30 years at 3 percent terms) so that we can invest in job creation and other programs designed to get the unemployed back to work and accelerate the economy, and in turn generate greater revenues, thereby allowing us to reduce the debt faster.

Getting there, though, will take one long, big fight with Congress. On Monday, Obama filed notice that he’s ready.

 

 

John Zaring describes himself as a reformed Republican turned moderate Democrat who believes democracy works best when its government actually functions because its leaders are working together. He serves on the Castaic Area Town Council’s Land Use Committee, Castaic Middle School’s Site Council, the Hart District’s WiSH Education Foundation, and he is the West Ranch High School representative on the Hart District’s Advisory Council. A self-proclaimed “New Democrat” a la Bill Clinton, he lives in Castaic with his wife of 21 years and their daughters, Fiona, 16, and Kylie, 12. His commentary publishes Tuesdays.

 

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

1 Comment

  1. Reason says:

    I understand this is an opinion section but an opinion
    writer’s opinion should at least have some basis of fact to support their claim. Someone who doesn’t rely on facts to support
    their opinion is an ideologue. And this
    writer is nothing but a liberal ideologue.
    He claims that the GOP has no right in forcing Obama to cut spending
    dollar for dollar for any increase in the debt ceiling because “we’re having
    this argument at exactly the moment when the deficit has shrunk at the fastest
    rate since the Korean War.” So in the
    eyes of this writer the fiscal damage brought to our country by Obama’s four
    consecutive years of historic trillion dollar plus deficits is forgotten
    because last month’s deficit shrunk.
    Seriously, one month and its problem solved. Funny, but last month’s smaller deficit was
    attributed to the fact that many people and corporations pushed income into
    last year to pay at the lower tax rates before Obama’s higher taxes for this
    year hit. Even with December’s smaller
    deficit, our current fiscal year which started October 1 of last year, Obama’s
    deficit is $300 billion, which puts us on a run rate for a fifth trillion
    dollar plus annual deficit once again.
    This article is nothing but liberal propaganda which serves no purpose
    other than to continue to divide the country with falsehoods. Obama’s spending is the problem and must be
    stopped.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Friday, Jun 15, 2018
Your rights guarantee that you get the health services the law says you can get, protect you against unethical practices, and ensure the privacy of your personal and medical information. You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect at all times, and to be protected from discrimination.
Friday, Jun 15, 2018
California voters just bought the feel-good tax proposition that was stated to raise yet another $4 billion for “clean water” funds. Days later, Brown declared it isn’t enough. There will be another ballot measure in November to raise another $8 billion.
Friday, Jun 8, 2018
Our state leaders are finally working together to address one of the greatest inequities in higher education – funding for California community colleges that serve high need students.
Wednesday, Jun 6, 2018
Not every decision on the table must be made within the next week. When it comes to deciding how to fund community colleges, it would be wise to hit pause and devote more careful consideration to the discussion.
Monday, Jun 4, 2018
This summer, help your kids break away from Fortnite and YouTube – by signing them up for fun recreational opportunities offered by the City. Instead of screen time, their days can be filled with sunshine, learning, activity, arts, culture and much more.
Friday, Jun 1, 2018
In her June message, Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste details the best ways to enjoy the local trails and open space this summer.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1890 - 18-day murder trial of Castaic's W.C. Chormicle and W.A. Gardner ends in acquittal [story]
1950 - Dedication of H.M. Newhall Memorial Park, aka Newhall Park [story]
Crooks Binge on Victims’ Data with Streaming Service Scam
Fraud Alert: Crooks Binge on Victims’ Data with Streaming Service Scam
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Business After Hours Social at Ashley Furniture on Wednesday, June 20 at 5:30 p.m.
June 20: Business After Hours Social at Ashley Furniture
The Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center (PAC) at College of the Canyons will welcome back the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West Concert Band on Wednesday, June 27.
June 27: Air Force Band of the Golden West Returns to the PAC
Throughout the week of June 11, 2018, the House of Representatives voted to pass a package of legislation to help combat the rising nation-wide opioid epidemic. Representative Steve Knight (R-CA) voted in support of all the measures.
Knight Supports Legislation Package to Combat Opioid Epidemic
Khecari, a Chicago-based contemporary dance company directed by CalArts alumna Julia Rae Antonick (Dance BFA 03) and Jonathan Meyer, will be undertaking a study in duration from June 18 through June 24. Their newest project, "The Retreat: One Week" is a 168-hour dance and music performance that begins on June 18 and runs through June 24.
June 18-24: CalArts Alumna to Present a 168-Hour Dance Performance
Your rights guarantee that you get the health services the law says you can get, protect you against unethical practices, and ensure the privacy of your personal and medical information. You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect at all times, and to be protected from discrimination.
Know Your Medicare Rights | Commentary by Greg Dill
This month, CalArts Center for New Performance (CNP) will head to Warsaw for a month-long interdisciplinary collaboration with Teatr Studio, one of Poland’s premier experimental theaters.
CalArts Center for New Performance to Host Residency, Festival in Poland
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has identified the first case of human West Nile virus (WNV) infection in Los Angeles County for the 2018 season (excluding Long Beach and Pasadena as cases identified in those cities are reported by their local health departments) and the Department of Public Health is urging all residents to take precautions against mosquitoes.
First Human Case of West Nile Virus Reported in LA County
The Santa Clarita Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency (SCV-GSA) is inviting stakeholders and members of the public to participate in its Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) Workshop on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, at 2:30 p.m.
June 26: SCV-GSA Invites Public to its Groundwater Sustainability Plan Workshop
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Scientific Services Bureau, Forensic Identification Specialist Michelle Acevedo and her partners, routinely go above and beyond the call of duty. On one particular day, Michelle’s supervisor received a request from our Homicide Bureau to photograph human remains found 600 feet down a cliff off of Angeles Crest Highway.
LASD Recognizes Forensic I.D. Specialist for Going Beyond the Call of Duty
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has announced that a diverse group of patient groups, legal experts, economists, medical associations, and public health experts, filed amicus briefs in Texas et al. v. United States et al. supporting California’s opposition to Texas and 19 other states’ motion seeking to halt the operation of the Affordable Care Act nationwide.
Attorney General Supports State Opposition of Motion to End ACA
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has announced a settlement with Balboa Student Loan Trust that will provide $67 million in critical debt forgiveness and other much-needed relief for the 34,971 Californians who took out private student loans to attend Corinthian Colleges.
Attorney General Announces Debt Forgiveness for Defrauded Corinthian Colleges Students
The California Highway Patrol Newhall Area Office will be conducting a sobriety checkpoint in the unincorporated area of Los Angeles County on Friday, June 15.
June 15: CHP to Conduct DUI Checkpoint in Santa Clarita Valley
G.H. Palmer, a Southern California-based commercial real estate developer, has closed on $158.8 million in financing for Colony Townhomes, a multifamily property located at 17621 Pauline Court in Santa Clarita.
G.H. Palmer Closes $158.8 Million Refinancing on Santa Clarita Townhomes
The JetHawks missed early opportunities to score and ended up 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position in a 6-0 loss to the Inland Empire 66ers on Thursday night at San Manuel Stadium.
Inland Empire 66ers Defeat JetHawks 6-0 Thursday
Veterans who have fallen on hard times, the working poor and those suffering mental illness all find themselves among the epidemic of homelessness in Southern California.
Providence St. Joseph Health Offers Community Programs for Veterans, Homeless
The city of Santa Clarita invites residents and their families to register for an upcoming day trip to Ventura Harbor Village and Harbor Cove Beach on Saturday, July 14.
July 14: Hop on the Santa Clarita Summer Beach Bus to Ventura
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station has released its crime information and public safety report for Newhall (Zone 6) for crimes reported from May 14, 2018 - June 3, 2018.
Crime Blotter: Grand Theft Auto, Robbery in Newhall
California voters just bought the feel-good tax proposition that was stated to raise yet another $4 billion for “clean water” funds. Days later, Brown declared it isn’t enough. There will be another ballot measure in November to raise another $8 billion.
It’s Still Taxifornia | Commentary by Betty Arenson
1957 - Lang Station dedicated as State Historic Landmark No. 590 [story]
The William S. Hart Museum located in Hart Park in Santa Clarita will kick off summer with two free events this Saturday, June 16, for attendees of all ages.
June 16: Open House, ‘Day at the Ranch,’ at Hart Museum
Santa Clarita Valley Water's Public Outreach and Legislation Committee is scheduled to meet on Thursday, June 21, at 5:30 p.m.
June 21: SCV Water Public Outreach, Legislation Committee
After an investigation of an alleged bear attack on the Pacific Crest Trail Thursday morning, which included a flyover by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, officials have confirmed no such attack occurred.
Fish & Wildlife Official: No Evidence of Bear Attack at Vasquez Rocks
Castaic Lake's Moonlight Kayaking trips are a rare opportunity for visitors to enjoy an evening out paddling on the upper lake, normally closed to nighttime use.
June 25: Moonlight Kayaking at Castaic Lake
Here’s something you rarely hear about - an art exhibit where you are encouraged to touch the artwork.
‘Pettable Paintings’ Now on Display at Newhall Community Center
LOS ANGELES – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced its newly elected 2018–19 Board of Governors, who assume their posts as of July 1.
Academy Announces 2018-2019 Board of Governors
NORTHRIDGE - A week after he was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft, CSUN Baseball's Albee Weiss has received ABCA/Rawlings All-Region Second Team honors, as announced by the American Baseball Coaches Association on Wednesday.
Minnesota Twins Select Matadors’ Weiss in MLB Draft
Nancy Eckels will demonstrate acrylic painting at the Aug. 20, meeting of the Santa Clarita Artists Association (SCAA). This event is free, open to the public and meets at 6:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 23630 Valencia Blvd.
Aug. 20: Nancy Eckels Demonstrates Acrylic Demo at Barnes & Noble
On Thursday, June 7, JSB Development showcased the first of Vista Canyon’s mixed use retail/office structures in an introduction to the SCV commercial brokerage community.
JSB Development Debuts Vista Canyon’s Mixed Use Structure
The 2018-19 Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center (PAC) season will feature an eclectic lineup of talented musicians and performers, as well as family-friendly programs as part of its College of the Canyons Presents season.
Santa Clarita PAC Announces 2018-2019 Season
SAN BERNARDINO – The JetHawks came back by plating four runs in the fourth inning and held on by holding the Inland Empire 66ers scoreless over the final six frames in a 4-3 win on Wednesday night at San Manuel Stadium.
JetHawks Come from Behind, Take Two-In-A-Row from 66ers
After seven years as guests of North Oaks Church of Christ, Family Promise of Santa Clarita Valley has found a new home for its Resource Center.
Family Promise of SCV Finds New Home
Take to the streets and enjoy a run through the City’s beautiful paseos and trail system at the 23rd Annual Santa Clarita Marathon, presented by Parkway Motorcars.
July 1: Registration Opens for 2018 Santa Clarita Marathon
1916 - Jesse Doty buys White Star Garage; he turns it into Newhall's first Ford dealership [story]