Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Why Charlie Dent Refused To Say Geronimooooooo

In 2008, I voted for President Obama, but grew to regret that decision. He was not the bipartisan person who, as a candidate, led me to believe that he would rise above the partisan bickering. As President, he dove into the quagmire head first, breaking promise after promise concerning accountability and transparency.

In 2012, I voted for Mitt Romney. And now, I'm pleasantly surprised by the post-election Obama. In the latest fiscal cliff debate, which should have lasted all of about three seconds, he seemed a lot ore like an actual President.

Like little children, Congress has been dickering about this mess since the election. It's sent Wall Street into a tailspin. And the problem, this time at least, was squarely on House Republicans. They just refuse to be reasonable.

In the Senate, the Fiscal Cliff compromise passed 89-8. The House vote, 257-167, was much closer. Only 85 Republicans refused to say Geronimoooooo.

One of these is the Lehigh Valley's Charlie Dent. He issued a statement, explaining his vote.

Tonight I voted for a bill that averts huge tax increases for 99 percent of Americans. This bill prevents tax increases on individuals, families and small businesses with income earnings below $450,000 for couples and $400,000 for individuals.  Further, this legislation keeps the Death Tax from rising to 55%, as President Obama preferred. It exempts the first $5 million (per spouse) of an estate from taxation. Additionally, the Alternative Minimum Tax is permanently patched which will prevent millions of middle class Americans from paying higher taxes.

Let’s be clear. Failing to act on this legislation would have resulted in a tax increase of more than $4 trillion over ten years for American families. There was widespread agreement from credible economic sources that the effects of “going over the Fiscal Cliff” would have pushed our struggling economy back into a recession and that unemployment would have reached 9%. Those outcomes would have caused real harm to the vast majority of American families and were not acceptable to me.

This agreement is far from perfect. It does not properly address the Sequester. We must better balance the spending cuts contained in the Sequester so that important programs including defense, education, transportation, and medical and scientific research are protected. 

I recognize that this legislation does not deal with the fact that America has long term financial obligations that will become impossible to meet if we continue to spend at current rates.  We must get serious about spending cuts. It is the only way to put our nation on a sustainable fiscal path. Also, I still believe that we must make our tax code fairer, flatter and simpler.  I will continue to work at addressing these issues.

We came unacceptably close to fully going over the Cliff.  I think it is better for the country that we have taken at least one step back from the edge.

NOTE:

Additional items dealt with in the legislation:

Medicare Reimbursement Rates for Physicians (The “Doc Fix”)
*Blocks for one year the scheduled 27% cut to reimbursement rates for doctors.

Unemployment Benefits
*Extends for one year the current unemployment insurance benefits

Stops Milk Prices from Going Up
*Protect consumers against the sudden huge price increases in agricultural commodities, like dairy products

Rescinds the Congressional Pay Raise
*Rejects the .5 percent Congressional pay increase that resulted from a recent Executive Order by President Obama.

59 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is becoming increasingly clear that Washington cannot control spending. It has gotten to such levels that trillion dollar budget deficits have become necessary because (and here's the critical part) THE ECONOMY COLLAPSES IF GOVERNMENT SPENDING IS CUT BACK EVEN MODESTLY BECAUSE LEVERAGE IS THE ONLY THING KEEPING GDP AND EMPLOYMENT IN POSITIVE TERRITORY. Charlie did the right thing, however, the dye was cast as far back as the early 1980's. I fear 2013, I really do.

Anonymous said...

What's the next "hot" number after trillion? Is it zillion?

I one zillion dollar deficit sounds less than a 16 trillion dollar deficit, doesn't it? Let's DO it!

It SHOULD have been easy for all members of Congress to include an across-the-board 3% (?) reduction in EVERY department's budget.

At least "chip away" at the deficit. This adds 4 trillion MORE to our debt.

Anonymous said...

Actual unemployment is over 9% if you count the individuals who have dropped out of the workforce and have stopped looking for work all together. The government's unemployment #s are a joke as they pick and choose what the definition of unemployment is.

Some figures have unemployment as high as 17%. A more telling # is the % of able bodied individuals available to work who are currently working in the US. It his hovering around 65%, which is the lowest it has been since they started to keep this stat

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

For various reasons the Republicans were in a no win situation on the fiscal cliff. In light of this I believe one could say they live to fight another day, and on much better ground.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

You actually voted for Mitt Romney? I can almost understand your complete GOP talking points disdain of Obama but Romney? Wow. There couldn't have been a worse candidate for this country at this time. Credibility tarnished.

Peter J. Cochran said...

Think of your own house hold as micro country. If you wanted to survive to be an old person that pays his own way and have pride about who you are,then did you ....spend more money than you made,spend and live the big shot life on an ice beer pay check? Did you have more kids than you could take care of?No you did not,you adhered to certain PRINCIPLES of a self disciplined lifestyle and you saved and did without. Irresponsible consequent downfall should not come to rest on someone else. Same thing applies to the Fed.

Anonymous said...

How many more years of this recovery can we survive? We haven't seen the Obama recession yet. It's coming and it's going to be a doozy.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I did vote for Romney, whom I consider a decent and honorable man. It was like 51-49 in my own mind. But in the weeks since his re-election, Obama has impressed me. He has not insisted, as some Democrats ridiculously claimed, that he had a mandate. He has refrained from name-calling and has encouraged Congress to come up with a solution. He caved on the $250k income requirement.

But what is sad is this constant, show-down politics that has been going on for the past two years. It is what is wrong with the tea party and what is wrong with the Move On element inside the Democratic party. Lately, it is House Republicans who appear to be the most childish of the bunch, and I am glad that grown-ups like Charlie Dent is distancing himself from them.

Anonymous said...

In other words Bernie, getting virtually no cuts in spending during this opportunity is OK with you?

Bernie O'Hare said...

What was at stake was an automatic tax hike. Put out that fire and then deal with the cuts. It is absolutely ridiculous to have allowed it to get this far.

Anonymous said...

The president always claimed to be for a "balanced" solution. To me, that meant some new revenue, and an equal amount of spending reduction.

Evidently, his definition of balanced is different from mine.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I am sure that agreements on reductions in spending can be reached. They must be reached. That requires entitlement reform. But you don't take a buzzsaw out and make these changes without some consideration to the implications down the road. These are entitlements, so there has to be some thought put into the reforms. I don't think you can accomplish that in 2-3 weeks. Maybe 2-3 months. That's what House Rs should work on, and they need to be reasonable. But we will not solve our nations fiscal problems without both raising taxes and cutting spending. You can't just do one.

Anonymous said...

Once again, Chuckie spins.

No guts, no leadership.

More "bi-partisan" kicking the can down the road.

And your assessment of teh Won's behavior is incredible to anyone who saw him on Meet The Press or his subsequent arrogant shots at spending cuts.

Spending cuts which, by the way, remain a fantasy for which we will depend on the likes of Representative "can't-we-all-just-get-along-so-I-can-keep-feeding-at-the-trough" to secure after they give away the only leverage they had.

Obama: "I will not have another debate with this Congress about whether or not they will pay the bills..." When speaking about the debt ceiling.

teh messiah IS a lot like Lincoln, but most don't realize why.

-Clem

Anonymous said...

Very good analysis @ 11:09 Mr.O'hare

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

As sure as you are that cuts in spending can be reached I am just as certain it will be almost impossible. What we have before us in Washington and the nation is a stark ideological divide.On the one side you have the president, the mainstream media and most of the Democratic Party supporting a huge expansion in the size and scope of government. On the other you have the most of the Republican Party, and the Tea Party committed to the principle this nation was founded on of limited government.This will be a titanic struggle.The Debt ceiling is going to be a life or death struggle for both sides.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Well, I guess we can all agree our Washington officials decided SPENDING money is a lot more fun than SAVING it.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't that 0.5 percent increase for ALL Federal workers? If so, it is VERY disingenuous to suggest it was only for Congress, the Pres. and VP.

The political gamesmenship cost our 401Ks 2.5% growth.

Every attempt to instill uncertainty (fiscal cliff, debt ceiling) has compounding effects on my 401K and has pushed my retirement further down the road.



Anonymous said...

Bernie O'Hare said...

1. "I am sure that agreements on reductions in spending can be reached. They must be reached."

2. "That requires entitlement reform. But you don't take a buzzsaw out and make these changes without some consideration."

3. "You can't just do one."

11:09 AM

1. Congress has voted to raise the debt ceiling 11 times since 2001. When does "they must be reached" really mean "they must be reached"?

2. That's 11 years. How much more time for consideration is needed?

3. Raising the debt ceiling 11 times in eleven years would prove your point on the revenue/borrowing side? Can we have 11 years of just spending cuts for fair comparison before we declare it won't work? What's good for the goose, you know...

So, I am curious to hear how you are "sure" they will do it this time.

-Clem

Anonymous said...

Looking forward, I cannot see how Congress can protect the Federal Benefits for those that would have a $5M estate to pass on while raising the retirement age of anyone under 55.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Clem, I did not say I am sure they will do it this time. If the past two years is any indication, it won't be done. There is plenty of blame to go around on both sides, but House Republicans appear to be the most unwilling to compromise on anything. And that's primarily the tea party influence.

In a democracy, it is not just "My way or the highway." You might believe we don't need social security at all. You might think there should be no unemployment benefits at all. Others might think that the government should be doing far more. I would argue that the Simpson-Bowles report is a great starting point. The Bill just passed does not come close to tackling the deficit. You are absolutely right. They need to work, in a bi-partisan manner, to stabilize the nation's debt.

Anonymous said...

I think we would be better served if EVERYONE in Congress could be removed and replaced by about 600 random selected names from the telephone book.

Anonymous said...

Charlie voted for continued fiscal irresponsibility. He has just voted to continue increasing our debt. He's voted to royally screw future generations.

He did exactly what the majority of last November's electorate chose. Charlie knows how to stay in office in blue PA.

Voters demanded more spending, higher taxes and passing the bill to the grandkids. We just got it. Elections have consequences.

Anonymous said...

Unemployment rates always magically drop when benefits are not extended.

Americans are still obese and on iPhones. This costs money. There's a huge black economy of those who collect benefits and work under the table. They work tax free and will be a burden at retirement time. This is the new economy.

Anonymous said...

I believe the House majority just compromised here.

11 raises of the debt ceiling, without any net reduction in spending has been, EXACTLY, my way or the highway governance by the spenders on both sides of aisle (see Peter King's latest meltdown simply because some want the pork cut from the Sandy aid.)

Unemployment insurance (that is what it is supposed to be) like almost everything else would definitely be handled better by the private sector. But, I was not as opposed to it as I am since Bush, Obama and the rest of DC started buying votes with it. Same with SS, before the pigs pilfered the trust.

The public sector gets enough money. They spend it, to use teh Won's favorite adverb, stupidly.

-Clem

Anonymous said...

It is not about "cuts" it is about how and where you cut. The baggers want to throw granny on the street without SS and health care. They want to save "our " grandchildren by not ahving the programs there when the kids need it. Remember thre Republican Party has been oipposed to SS and Medicare since its introduction.

All are reasy to accept responsible cuts. So when the baggers get serious, I am sure the grown-ups are more than willing to work with them.

Anonymous said...

1:39 - you must not have been following along carefully. There was NEVER any talk of eliminating SS and Medicare. That was the scare tactic your side used (to success).

The TEA Party chose its name to represent Taxed Enough Already. I sure agree with that view, why not you?

Anonymous said...

There was never a discussion about cutting anything. Discussions about cutting spending growth rates never even materialized. Fleabaggers just can't do math (public schooling?). This is widely known.

Anonymous said...

What is a "Fleabagger"?

CAPTAIN CARING

Anonymous said...

Fleabagger (n) a lazy liberal who covets constantly and is obsessed with homosexual practices

Anonymous said...

Taxes just went UP for 80% of working Americans. YES, that's true.
More taxes to come due to Obamacare.

Good times in America! Enjoy.

Anonymous said...

4:14, calling BS.

Taxes only went up on 77%.

At $40K, you just lost $800 to $1,000 in take home for 2013.

And no spending was cut. Spending was increased.

You asked for the rich to pay.

Look on the bright side. You always wanted to be rich. Lo and behold, you're now rich at $40K!

The Obamaconomy is really swell. And remember: these are the fat times of our fourth year in recovery.

Anonymous said...

Ha!

Tell that to Moody's who is about to lower America's credit rating once again due to what happened (again).

Bernie O'Hare said...

Moody's is not about to lower America's credit rating over this deal. It might if the country fails to address its debt problem. That's best done, however, without a gun to your head. Don't get e wrong. I'm with you on this, but there was no need to tie the reduced spending to the tax hike.

Anonymous said...

The SS pyroll tax of 2% was not extened. That only makes sense. We can no longer live with the Reagan-Bush policies of cut taxes and spend more. Why the Hell do you think thes eporblems occur. BVoth Clinton and OPbama have had top clean up after these messes.

The increasing number of SS beneficiaries combined with a cut in in the tax was at best stupid and at worse just criminally incompetent,

The teabaggers only like the math that works for their extremism. They are spoon fed by the Kock Brothers, using the Party apparatus Fox Noise.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

Just heard on the news that Moody's is reconsidering our credit rating over this deal. Googled just to confirm and found this.

http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-fiscal-cliff-moody-credit-rating-20130102,0,4205703.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MoneyCompany+(Money+%26+Company

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I disagree. The current deal adds 4 trillion to our nation's debt. It adds to our lack of credit worthiness.

Moody's, and others, try to score an entity's ability to repay debts. Our country is stretched too thin, and it just got more thin.

Had this been a balanced, or almost balanced, arrangement, I'd be OK. That's NOT what this was. This was a 41-1 factor in favor of additional debt.

I have little hope discussions two months from now will do anything. No one seems willing to actually get a haircut, for the good of the order.

Most likely, we will now see "rock bottom." It can only be UP from there. Right?

Anonymous said...

Tax hikes WITH reduced spending would have been the most powerful message our country could have sent to all the Moody's of the world.

This did not happen.

Anonymous said...

So let me get this right? You felt Obama was NOT bi-partisan and angry with it, so yo voted for Romney instead. A guy who basically came right out and said only wealthy conservatives matter to him and not 47% of the population.

Makes sense if I don't think about it.

Anonymous said...

Hello,

Tax hikes coupled with austerity is the European solution. Not working!

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Scott, I'm confused.

Tax hikes, plus reductions in spending, equals greater "net worth."

Credit worthiness is ALL about net worth.

Come again.

Anonymous said...

6:57 -

Romney was taken out of context. Who knew?

I DO believe people with actual "skin in the game" come before those without. Those "without" meaning those "who would, if they needed to."

Get it?

Anonymous said...

Bernie -

No matter what you think of this deal, or what side you're on, it is a travesty.

Until politicians stop cutting back room deals and voting for bills that they haven't even read, we are doomed to failure. I realize that we're just the dumb rubes that pay the bills, but they could at least go through the show of letting us see a bill for a few days before voting on it.

The American people were betrayed by their elected officials once again. Shame on them - and shame on us for keeping them in office.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you 7:33.

This was all more of the same WRONG thing. I'm registered Republican. I am now more so Independent, but I believe voting in the primaries is critical, so Independent doesn't do it for me.

Charlie Dent is now on notice. So with others. I will vote for most anyone currently not in office. The Republican label means less to me everyday.

We'll get there.

Bernie O'Hare said...

6:57, Romney did not say that 47% of the American population do not matter. What he said, and it was in a room full of millionaires, is that he doesn't matter to them. There is a difference.

I came around to liking Romney and voted for him. It was a close call for me, as I said. But if the election were today, I would probably vote Obama. I like the way he has handled this mess.

Bernie O'Hare said...

A possible lower credit rating v. a more possible economic recession. What's your poison?

Anonymous said...

We put a lawyers in charge of our money and act surprised that they bankrupted the country. The lawyer who writes this blog didn't even know about the potential Moodys rating lowering. And we wonder why we're screwed.

Anonymous said...

Scott, I'm confused.

Tax hikes, plus reductions in spending, equals greater "net worth."

Credit worthiness is ALL about net worth.

Come again.

response: The truth is that combining tax increases with government spending cuts has the immediate effect of putting any economy into recession. This happens because tax increases and cuts in government spending have the same dampening effect on economic growth. This is happening in Europe today. Ugly, real ugly, check it out.
Conservatives believe that the only sound way to reduce federal deficits is through economic growth. This can be done one of two ways, the liberal solution is even more government spending(Keynesian), the drawback, marginal growth is achieved at the expense of even larger deficits(Europe post WW2). Conservatives on the other hand would cut taxes. This has the effect of putting more money into the hands of taxpayers, they will put this windfall back into the economy with an efficiency the government could never match. The beauty of this is that the government maintains or increases funding levels due to increased economic growth.

Check out Milton Friedman for more details.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Well Scott, I admire Milton Friedman. I knew him when he was alive.

Net worth is where it's at. Everything else is smoke and mirrors. Milton was all about reality. So am I.

Either way, THIS decision was unfortunate, a wasted opportunity.

Anonymous said...

Friedman was a monetarist who believed markets couldn't be fooled for long. A reckoning is underway in Europe and will be here soon. Printing ever more worthless dollars is dragging out a miserably weak recovery and assuring we don't improve anytime soon. Hell, recession is coming. No president escapes them. Most think we've been in one for a while. We've been in anemic recovery for eleven quarters. Moodys is losing more faith for good reason.

Anonymous said...

9:23-

EXACTLY!

Our future is not good. We are still being driven over the cliff. An actual cliff.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Obama won the election. He has his supporters and they mandated this and future tax increases. So what, deal with it. All you teabaggers lost. Crawl back in your hole. The country does want more sustainable programing and we are going to get it. Investment in diversity and other entitlements is the future and the rich will have to pay their fair share. If you don't like it then leave. Pretty simple. Remember that if it were not government, these small businesses, big businesses and rich people would not have garnered their collective wealth. Government giveth and government taketh. That's just the way it is.

Anonymous said...

Got it 9:50!

But. . . when there are no "rich" people left, however will we continue? Where will the money come from?

We hate the rich, right?

Who needs them? We can all have nothing and STILL be provided for.

Anonymous said...

The Republicans would have been much more bipartisan.

Are you out of your fucking mind Bernie?

And Mr. Armstrong thank you for playing out the easy answers. You have all the easy answers. If only the rest of the world could see your ideology everything would be groovy.

Anonymous said...

Yes all the well to do people will move to China, ah no. They will move to Russia, no.

Since the US offers the best places at the best prices, with the best write-offs and rules if you can afford them, I seriously doubt many wealthy will leave the good old US of A. Besides th ehave an army of idioits in the teabaggers carrying on their battle for them. "Pay me less! Lower my standard of livng! Less gruel".

Besides then they would have to endure socialized medicine that the rest of the developed world has. Of course the rest of the developed world and some of the less developed world is healthier than we are.

Anonymous said...




THANK YOU for increasing my TAXES...YOUR a Spinster!!!!

Anonymous said...





You betrayed us....

Anonymous said...


Scenario




Your in a Foxhole in below freezing temperatures with 2 other soldiers, Your ordered to hold the line by your Commander.
The other 2 Soldiers are named TOOMEY and DENT.....would you feel safe, what are your chances?









Anonymous said...



Simmons needs to challenge Dent in the next election.

Simmons would win, in a land-slide.

gasdenguy said...

Another opportunity missed to right the ship of state.