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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
70°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
October 19
1945 - Acton Hotel, est. 1890, burns down; arson is suspected [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
Tuesday, Oct 10, 2017
It was 10 years ago this fall semester that we opened the Canyon Country Campus on Sierra Highway. We are celebrating a decade of academic excellence and community impact. What a difference a decade makes.
Tuesday, Oct 3, 2017
The Trump budget proposes decreasing funding to the Department of the Interior by $1.5 billion. Trump is calling for more drilling in national parks and monuments. He plans to open BLM land to drilling and fracking.
Tuesday, Oct 3, 2017
We are quickly approaching the culmination of the year-long celebration of our city’s 30th anniversary. It is truly a time to celebrate all the hard work, dedication, perseverance and passion that took our City from being a tiny portion of Los Angeles County to the thriving third largest city in the county.
Tuesday, Oct 3, 2017
This month marks an exciting milestone for the premier arts and entertainment district in Santa Clarita.
Friday, Sep 29, 2017
Kaepernick has never spoken of personally experiencing any negative interactions with the police. Appearances are he had a pretty nice life provided by people with white skin while living in a country that presented him with obvious, mind-boggling opportunities.
Thursday, Sep 28, 2017
Despite its close proximity to the city of Barstow, Rainbow Basin remains virtually undiscovered. It is well worth a visit. Visitors to the area can find scenic opportunities for hiking, rock scrambling, camping, photography, sightseeing and horseback riding.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
CHESTERFIELD, MO — NewGround, a St. Louis-based experiential design-build firm, recently teamed up with Logix Federal Credit Union to work on a large scale facility project, a new corporate headquarters building for the full-service credit union in the Burbank, California area.
Valencia Will Soon be Home to Logix Federal Credit Union Headquarters
The CSUN women's volleyball team (10-9, 4-3 Big West) opens the second half of the Big West season this week as the Matadors head up the coast this week for road tests at No. 23 Cal Poly (17-2, 7-0 Big West) and UC Santa Barbara (4-15, 3-4 Big West). CSUN, coming off a tough five-set loss to Hawai'i at home, is 3-4 in seven road matches this season but has won two of three Big West road contests.
Matadors Volleyball Testing Their Skills on the Road
No. 5 College of the Canyons defeated L.A. Mission College 3-0 on Wednesday to earn its eighth consecutive match and fifth straight sweep. Set scores were 25-15, 25-11, and 25-20.
Cougars Volleyball Earns Fifth Straight Sweep
CSUN Women's Soccer (7-4-5, 3-1-1 BWC) looks to move up in the Big West standings this week as it hosts UC Irvine on Thursday at 7:00 p.m.
Matadors Get Ready for Big West Matchups
Behind Julio Rubio's goal in the 11th minute CSUN defeated UC Riverside 1-0 in Big West Conference men's soccer action Wednesday night.
Matadors Lone Goal Enough to Hold Off UC Riverside
Northridge, CA – CSUN Athletics officially opened its new satellite athletic training facility on Thursday at an event featuring Athletic Director Dr. Brandon Martin, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer Steven Grech, student-athletes, coaches, staff and campus partners.
Matadors Student-Athletes Welcome New Training Facility
Want unique gifts and a shopping experience unlike any other?
Nov. 18-19: City’s Annual Two-Day Fine Craft Show
City officials gathered Wednesday for the Grand Opening of "Three Oaks," the first 100 percent affordable family development in Santa Clarita.
Affordable Housing Comes to Santa Clarita
The Gibbon Conservation Center will celebrate Halloween for the first time on Saturday, Oct. 28 from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 28: Gibbon Conservation Center Celebrates First Halloween
California State University, Northridge is partnering with the California State University Entertainment Alliance to host a morning of workshops designed to offer students and members of the public advice on building successful careers in the entertainment industry.
Oct. 23: CSUN Workshop; Succeeding in Entertainment Industry
Spotlight Arts Center, a local non-profit that provides free performing and visual arts classes to children in the Santa Clarita Valley, will hold its Fall Festival, Sunday, Oct. 22 from 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Oct. 22: Fall Festival Spotlight Arts Center
The College of the Canyons Athletics department is inviting all players, coaches and cheerleaders associated with a Santa Clarita Valley youth sports league or cheer organization to attend Saturday's Cougar football game free of charge.
Oct. 21: SCV Youth Teams Invited to Free COC Football Game
College of the Canyons freshmen Joanna Roecker and Cassandra Lee both turned in scores of 79 to lead the Cougars to a second place team finish at the Western State Conference (WSC) event hosted by Glendale College at Brookside Golf Course on Monday.
COC Falls Short at WSC Glendale
Beginning Monday, October 23, 2017, the city of Santa Clarita will increase the frequency of street sweeping throughout all areas of the City.
Oct. 23: City Begins Increased Street Sweeping Frequency
In a battle for Western State Conference, East Division supremacy, it was College of the Canyons that came out on top Tuesday night, as the Cougars scored two second half goals to secure a 2-0 win against visiting Antelope Valley College. Justine Hoeft and Jennifer Roney collected goals for the Cougars (11-2, 2-0).
COC Secures Win Against AVC With Two Second-Half Goals
The upcoming 10-year anniversary of the Buckweed Fires offers Santa Clarita residents a reminder of the ever-present fire danger in Los Angeles County, as blazes ravage the northern half of the state, as well.
County, City Officials Reflect on 10-Year Anniversary of Buckweed Fires
Deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station, with help from a Smartphone GPS system, were able to locate a lost hiker Wednesday night at Towsley Canyon.
Smartphone GPS Locates Lost Towsley Canyon Hiker
Dreamation Craft Guild will be hosting a boutique at Canyon High School, Nov. 18, from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. to benefit the family of John Phippen, the Santa Clarita resident who was killed in the Las Vegas shooting.
Nov. 18: Holiday Marketplace Benefiting John Phippen Family
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – To ensure drivers, passengers, and children are properly restrained while traveling California’s roadways, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has partnered with the California Office of Traffic Safety on a new traffic safety campaign entitled, “California Restraint Safety Education And Training” (CARSEAT).
CHP’s New Traffic Safety Campaign Focuses on Saving Lives, Reducing Injuries
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Speed and aggressive driving, the main causes of traffic collisions in California, will be the focus of a year-long education and enforcement campaign by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) that started Oct. 1, 2017.
CHP Grant Aims to Reduce Fatalities, Traffic Injuries; Addresses Street Racing
1945 - Acton Hotel, est. 1890, burns down; arson is suspected [story]
The fall 2017 Star Party at College of the Canyons' Canyon Country campus on Friday, Oct. 27 will focus on the pathways to space exploration that exist for star-gazers who are captivated by the many mysteries of the universe.
Oct. 27: Star Party at COC Canyon Country Campus
Determined to transform the deeply troubled Los Angeles County Probation Department, the Board of Supervisors Tuesday voted unanimously to consider an independent entity that would provide guidance, oversight and accountability.
Supes Consider Entity for Probation Reform Guidance, Oversight, Accountability
Alexia Cina of Canyon Country was arrested Wednesday in connection with the death of a mother of six children in a head-on crash on Golden Valley Road on October 6.
Woman Charged with Manslaughter, DUI in Death of Mother of 6
The 22nd annual Santa Clarita Marathon is scheduled for Sunday, November 5, 2017, following the Santa Clarita Health and Fitness Expo on Saturday.
Nov. 4-5: 22nd Annual Santa Clarita Marathon Events
The Los Angeles Dodgers jumped to a 3-0 lead in the best of seven series following Tuesday night’s 6-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs in Game 3 of the NLCS at Wrigley Field.
Dodgers Out to Sweep Cubs in NLCS Game 4
The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department's 2017 Medal of Valor Awards were held Tuesday in Los Angeles, and SCV Sheriff's Station Deputy Dmitry Barkon was recognized for his bravery and heroic actions.
SCV Sheriff’s Deputy Dmitry Barkon Earns Medal of Valor
Now is the time for all good college-bound high school seniors to join the 'Race to Submit' applications for FAFSA and CADAA grants to help cover college expenses.
High School Seniors: ‘Race to Submit’ is on for 2018 College Financial Aid
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies interrupted a smash-and-grab burglary on The Old Road early Friday morning, arresting one suspect and seeking two alleged accomplices still at large.
SCV Deputies Catch Window-Smash Burglars in the Act
Pukúu Cultural Community Services, founded in 1971 by members of the local Fernandeno-Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, will host its 13th Annual scholarship gala fundraiser, "Night with the Stars," in Sunland on Saturday, November 4 starting at 6 p.m.
Nov. 4: Local Tribe Honors 3, Celebrates Native American Heritage Month
California's Attorney General today filed a motion to compel the federal government to follow the law and pay the subsidies that millions of Americans rely on to lower the out-of-pocket costs in their insurance plans.
California AG Fights to Keep ACA Cost-Sharing Subsidies
Santa Clarita business owners are encouraged to take the city's broadband feasibility study online survey and participate in the next phase of the study -- in-person focus groups scheduled for October 30.
Oct. 30: Focus Groups in Next Phase of City Broadband Study
The $17 billion "California WaterFix" project reached a tipping point Tuesday after a Silicon Valley water district voted against Gov. Jerry Brown’s approach in favor of a less expensive, scaled-back version.
Silicon Valley Water Board Wants Delta Tunnels Downsized
Maryama, a band led by CalArts alumna Maryama Mirbagheri (Music MFA 17), was recently nominated for a 2017 Hollywood Music in Media Award in the World Music category.
Maryama Nominated for Hollywood Music in Media Award