You do not have the votes because the constituents of the members of Congress do not agree with the bill you are attempting to pass.

So what do you do? They call it compromise. It is also known as “the way things are done in Washington”.

However, in plain language, this practice is nothing more than buying votes. In still plainer language, this is bribery, illegal everywhere but in the halls of our lawmakers. Obamacare would not have passed without it and neither will John Boehner’s debt ceiling bill. Politico reports:

In the closing hours before a critical debt-limit vote, the speaker was pulling Republicans off the floor and meeting with them in his ceremonial office on the second floor of the Capitol as he tries to make sure he has at least 217 votes to pass his deficit package….

GOP aides said Boehner and the entire Republican leadership are pulling out all the stops for the debt vote. Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers of Kentucky is helping usher members into their meetings with Boehner. While Rogers can’t hand out bridge and road projects like his predecessors, he has a wide network of contacts after three decades in Congress, both in Washington and beyond. This network is being worked hard by Boehner and other top Republicans.

“We’re calling governors, donors, former senators, anyone we can to talk to these guys,” said a Republican staffer involved in the frantic arm-twisting effort….

I do not know of one person who served a term in Washington and came home as a better person. It seems every man, in Washington anyway, does have his price.


  • Tyler

    All the government cares about now a-days is money and getting into office (or back in office). Want more? Check out there’s some stuff there and they add what ever else they can find, and who knows, you just might agree with some of their opinions and thoughts.

  • Tyler

    All the government cares about now a-days is money and getting into office (or back in office). Want more? Check out there’s some stuff there and they add what ever else they can find, and who knows, you just might agree with some of their opinions and thoughts.

  • Alaina

    Holy cow… I take a long weekend and miss the party…

    As for the debt debacle, I’m really disappointed in Boehner. I haven’t like any solutions that have been on the table, but I think CCB was the best. The “deal” that they struck last night is a joke and an embarrassment. I really hope the House Freshmen stand strong on this one and vote no.

    My opinion has nothing to do with wanting Obama to fail… he’s doing that already. We absolutely have to get spending under control. We can’t keep spending and we can’t keep printing money. The lose of our credit rating (whether we pass this deal or any other) will be devistating to our economy. You think businesses are investing now? Just wait.

    Chris, you’re right about not being able to fix this overnight (and welcome back to PD by the way). Here’s my solution… temporarily raise the debt ceiling and agree on cutting enough spending to decrease the deficit by a minimum of 30% in the next 10 years (actual reductions… not reductions in the increase of the deficit as our current plan projects). They need to look long and hard at each individual agency and program to see where they can eliminate duplication and cut unncessary/wasteful spending (there are a number of cases where we have more than a dozen agencies doing the same thing). There wouldn’t be much, if any, cuts the first year as the work needs to be done to find out where they would come from. The big cuts should come in years 2 – 5 (as some agencies/programs may need to be phased out over a few years).

    Subsequently, we need to review the entitlement programs as they’re just not sustainable, no matter what your opinion is on them.

    For social security, since we’re realistically never going to be able to eliminate it entirely, I am in agreement with having individual accounts (basically a government run 401k, with the exception that it can’t be touched until a person reaches age 65). People could manage their investments themselves, or elect a standard option where the money would be managed by a portfolio manager). That way, you aren’t losing your money in the big pool of funds and everyone gets back what they put in and the government can’t “borrow” the funds. You’d have to have a tiered approach. People 50 and up would continue the plan as is or have a pre-determined lump sum deposited into the account and then have your social security withdrawls deposited into that account until retirement. People 45 – 50 would have $X deposited into their account for previous earnings and all future social security withdrawls would be deposited. The deposit amount would be reduced for each 5 year increment (45 vs. 40 vs. 35, etc.), with 25 being the last year that you receive anything deposited. Essentially, the government would have to bite the bullet and would lose money upfront, but I think it would be more efficient in the long term.

    As for medicare and medicaid, the first order of business would be to crack down (hard) on fraud and eliminate loopholes. There are many doctors out there (and I know of one) that pulls files for his medicare patients and marks that he’s seen then, when in fact, he hasn’t. In terms of the loopholes, people know how to work the system. At my dad’s company, people often refuse salary increases, bonuses or more hours/overtime because they wouldn’t qualify state or federal entitlements. If we could crack down on those two issues alone, we would save billions. Same thing for disability benefits.

    The government needs to stop non-government programs. We provide billions upon billions every year to art programs, organizations like Acorn, etc. All that should stop. We just don’t have the money. If they are worthwhile programs, let the private sector and individuals fund them.

    As for unemployment, there is a tremendous amount of fraud. After 12 weeks on unemployment, it’s time to go back to work… for the local, county, state or federal government. After the 12 week period, if they can’t find a job, then they should have to work at least 20 hours a week for the government (at any level) to earn their pay check. They can clean up parks, run after school programs, whatever… they just need to do something. There are far too many people that skirt the rules… they don’t start looking for jobs until a month or two before their benefits run out. They go on interviews, get an offer, but decline them so they don’t have to work. Obviously, not all people are like that, but I’m shocked at some of the people that I’ve known that have done that (and I’ve de-friended as a result).

    Anyway, that’s my solution… it’s not my ideal situation as I’m with Scott on no (or very limited) entitlements, but the reality is that we’re never going to be able to completely eliminate entitlements.

    • Scott A. Robinson

      Funny…”reforming” the entitlement programs is where I started :-)

      The real discussion is how do we dramatically reform these ridiculous socialistic entitlement programs.

      • Alaina

        Yeah… And that’s the short version of my solution…. ;-)

  • Chris

    I am finding this whole thing staggering.

    First of all this developing story is huge and yet PD seems to touching on it lightly, either you guys are not sure of its significance or could it be that you are uneasy about where the intrenched positions you have been advocating for years are in danger of leading to calamity

    Secondly, legal bribery in Congress? Ive been saying it for years, it comes in the form of campaign and lobbying finance and in most other countries we call it bribery when you call it freedom of speech. Put it another way, how can any elected official who has to vote on a particular issue, eg healthcare, accept money from a healthcare lobbyist?

    Then there is the current crisis. Separate forms of government require that those branches of government work together. It seems to me that there are people in Congress who don’t understand that compromise is sometimes essential and seem willing to bring the Walls crashing down to make a point. My take is this, you deficit like ours needs to be brought down. At the same time there are vulnerable members of society who will suffer if their social security is taken away. At the same time the economy is sluggish and growth is tough. Surely what is needed is long term thinking, fixing the current mess is not going to happen over night but over years maybe even decades. It’s in everyone’s interests to keep the economy afloat and let the country live to fight another day. It’s not a time for being partisan for the sake of it. I get the feeling that some would be willing to let the economy collapse to try to wreck the presidents administration. Ironically such an event might make his reelection more likely. For my money, the Presidents best call is to let the Speaker put before him a tea party lead budget, sign it and say to the people that he couldn’t risk a default and then run his platform for reelection on reversing it. Judging by the recent congressional vote in New York, it would be a landslide

    • Scott A. Robinson

      The issue is actually quite simple. Although most discretionary spending is nothing but waste and pet projects, it does not drive the budget. Social security and medicare do. They are over 50% of the budget and growing dramatically every year.

      The real discussion is how do we dramatically reform these ridiculous socialistic entitlement programs.

      But the problem is, most of our politicians are career politicians. Which means their primary goal is to win reelection. You don’t win reelection if you stop paying off your constituents, which is literally what we are doing with entitlement programs.

      This is why, as has been discussed on PD before, neither side wants to take responsibility. The parties do not want to be held responsible for cutting something that effects someone, so that someone might no longer vote for them.

      • Chris

        Socialist entitlement? Most countries provide safety nets fr the vulnerable. We have it in the UK. I pay more taxes to fund it and am happy to do so for two reasons, first it is the right thing to do and second as one day I myself might need the safety net. In return I ask it not to be abused and for it to be efficient

        • Scott A. Robinson

          Yes. Socialist. The US government forcibly takes money from some and gives it to others.

          Everyone over 65 is not vulnerable. Further, when SS was established, the average life expectancy was 63 in the US. Today it is 78. Many, many people can go on working beyond the age of 65. Yet, we subsidize them not to work.

          There is nothing “right” about providing retirement for people who choose not to plan retirement or have families who refuse to help them. This is not abuse, it is common sense.

          As for efficiency, I’ll give you one example. Medicaid payment error account for $56 billion in the current budget. There is not an efficient program in government. If my grandmother lives with me and 100% of what I contribute to her well-being goes to her well-being, that is efficient.

          • Chris

            So what are you saying? Remove social security all together? No safety net? Make people rely on themselves, or their families or charities?

            I’m struggling how to phrase the next bit as I truly don’t get your view, so please explain it to me.

            I won’t argue with you for a moment about efficiencies, all governents yours and ours included seem to excel at getting it wrong. Our differences lie in the theory.

            In your ideal world of no taxes, no no social security and so one, tell me how your society will function? Because I’m struggling to understand how this is not the case of those that have forgetting about those that have not. Which seems neither American or Christian and appears to me hideousy naive and selfish

            • Scott A. Robinson

              I personally would eliminate social security all together. But it has become so entrenched in our society, I would not expect it to happen.
              There will always be inefficiencies when there is no profit motive. People respond to incentive. There is no incentive for government to be efficient.
              There will always be taxes. I do not deny this as governments will always exist, albeit as a necessary evil. Society will function just as it did before the 1930s. People will have more personal responsibility. They will care for their family members and they will work longer, as people are far healthier for far longer than they ever have been before.
              No country in this history of the world has ever come close to being as charitable as the US.
              This concept is very American. America was born on the ideals of freedom and opportunity. This is why our economy became the world powerhouse, it is why it grew as no country every has in a span of 250 years.
              As for Christian, Jesus never said give your money to government and let them figure out how to redistribute it. He said to love your neighbor as your self. He taught to be charitable. This means helping others on your own, not through the government. Jesus also never said you should be forced to give to others, or that some in society would know better than you what you should do with yourself or your earnings, which is precisely what the government does, under penalty of prison time.
              Frankly, I do not know how you can refer to the alternative of caring for your family members as not Christian. There is nothing naive or selfish in believing charity is derived from the individual. Government is the antithesis of charity. It is driven entirely by force.

            • Scott A. Robinson

              Let’s simplify a little more. In this country 53% of people who work do not pay federal income taxes. Many more who do not work at all receive money from the government taken from those who do work and pay taxes. Of course this overwhelming majority will support taking money from the minority.
              Think about where that will end.

              • Stephen Meehan

                Scott, we will never agree on social saftey nets. You believe they are bad, I think they are good. I want to live in a society with them, you want to live in a society without them. That is purely a matter of opinion. I happen to agree with Chris, that your feelings on the matter run contrary to Christian charity, but that really shouldn’t be a reason for your to abandon it.
                However, I think you are missing a fairly important Gospel passage if you really believe that Jesus never said give your money to the government and let them figure out how to redistribute it. He was actually asked this question pretty directly and responded “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, render unto God what is God’s”
                As to your comment of 53% not paying Federal Income taxes. Sure, they don’t pay what is classified as Federal Income tax, but they do pay Social Security and Medicare Tax, just like every, yes every, working American.

              • Scott A. Robinson

                What I said was:

                Jesus never said give your money to government and let them figure out how to redistribute it

                This is because government redistribution of wealth simply is not charity. Charity is you directly helping someone. Charity come from love. Charity is a choice. Taxes are not a choice. They are administered by force. In my view, the Christian attitude is one where you choose to give of yourself and your means. Jesus does not force anyone to follow any of his commandments.

                But following your logic, tell me what then belongs to “Caesar”, or the government. Is it whatever the government wants? Or it is sufficient to operate the government? Where does it end?

                I will give you the point on the 53%. However, about 40% of tax payers pay nothing at the end of their reconciliation due to tax credits beyond their total paid in, such as the earned income credit. This includes the 8.75% FICA (SS/Med) tax

                Furthermore, despite paying the FICA tax, far more is drawn out by those on social security than they ever put in. Their expenses are being paid by us working today. In any other organization, that is call a Ponzi scheme and it is illegal.

                Before 1930 we as individuals took care of society by caring for our own families, our neighbors, and through our churches. In these cases 100% of our contributions went for their intended use. We did not need the government to intercede and people were fine. Families were likely even stronger.

                So again I ask where does this end? The Ponzi scheme is not mathematically possible to continue beyond 25-40 years, depending on different estimates. If you continue to raise taxes, then even less capital will be available to grow business which expands the economy, which leads to greater wealth for everyone. Additionally, if you continue on our current trajectory, annual deficits and the national debt will only grow.

          • Troy La Mana

            Most people forget that FDR started Social Security as a SUPPLEMENT to your own retirement program. It was never meant to be your only retirement plan.

            • Chris

              Well for a start didn’t Jesus give everything away he possessed, including his life

              I also think you are looking at the establishment of America with slightly rose tinted glasses, American born on the principles of freedom and opportunity? Really, for whom? Have you forgotten it took a civl war for you to work out that freedom and opportunity were not just for the White. How many people died was it to preserve the right to hold slaves? How much money did your greatest ever President give to slave owners to compensate them for loss of property? When exactly did people start believing that a black person was not valued at three fifths of a person? Have you learnt nothing from your own short history?

              Smetimes I wonder if you are so willing to abandon the safety net of social security because you dont really consider the poor of your country to be quite as human as the rest of you. I wonder if you would think the same if you fell on hard times yourself?

              Its not just a safety net, it’s building of a society that government provides for. Do you appreciate that its in your interests too that everyone be educated, that industries are promoted, that research supported. And then if things go wrong, it’s a safety net. There are plenty of people who are hard working decent people who have fallen on hard times without families to support them. Should they be abandoned?

              Please could you provide evidence of how America is the most charitable of countries? If you can back it up then fair enough, if not please apologise for insulting every other nation on earth

              • Scott A. Robinson

                You should study a bit more before addressing the slave issue. It’s kind of funny that you are getting worked about it as a Britain. These were British colonies before we declared our independence and it was the British who brought slavery here. You clearly have zero understanding of the 3/5 compromise in the Constitution. It was to eliminate slavery, by giving slave states less representation in Congress, not to declare the “value” of a person.

                As for hard times, I have been there. I was raised by a dirt poor family. I have been unemployed in this economy. The only handout I have taken is a bit of federal educational grant money (that I regret), which pales in comparison to debt I have accumulated to put myself and my wife through school.

                I am only what I am because I made it of myself, not because of a handout that rewards lack of effort.

                As for the data you are looking for, annual US charitable giving would be the 6th largest economy in the world, including nearly 1/3 larger than the UK economy (here, here, and additional data on time given and overall comparison to other country giving here).

                Furthermore, the longer unemployment benefits exist, the longer people stay unemployed because you are subsidizing them not to work, just a social security subsidizes people not to work once they turn 65. Here is that data.

              • Scott A. Robinson

                Chris, you can’t give things away, as Jesus did, if the government takes them away from you.

                So the question for you, and liberals in general, is:

                Why don’t you believe in people? Why is your view of people overall so negative that you believe government must forcibly take away from some to give to others at its discretion?

        • German Observer

          What again was the reason for FDR to establish social security?

          • David Kaiser, Editor

            At the time social security was established in the 1930s, the poverty rate among senior citizens was over 50%. Its initial goal was to address this problem.

          • German Observer

            So, assuming that not all of these 50% were lazy and uncapable individuals, that tells us, that – contrary to Scotts believes – family and charity giving is not the right instruments, if used solely. To avoid poverty or at least guarantee every human beeing a basic life, obviously some sort of state-run social security system had to be implemented.

            And I think that is true nowadays even more, than it was in the 1930s (not to speak of the time of your founding fathers), as society, economy, globalization has tremendiously gained in complexity.

            • Scott A. Robinson

              Or 1930 was a one-time data point and we should not have rushed into economy-changing unsustainable policies due to this extreme outlier. FDR only added SS as a second round of attempted government fixes after the first two years under his first Keyesnian programs failed miserably.

              Don’t compare today to 1930. Though it might be the worst economic situation since then, it pales in comparison.

          • German Observer

            You are probably right, that the great recession in the 1930s was an economical exception. But my main point was, that your concept of handling poverty and back the weak and needy by family, friends, neighborhood might have been or not been in the early days of your nation or in the middle ages. But I don’t think it is a concept for the post-industrialized societies, as complexity, urbanization, ways of living, interdependencies, ways of gaining income etc. etc. changed pretty much.

  • Troy La Mana

    Compromise = Buckling to the Democrats.

    You never see Democrats being forced to compromise to a Republican majority.

  • Rob


    At least there’s one guy in Congress who never gives in to this pressure…

    • http://deleted JoeW

      With ya on that one.

  • Joyce A (East of Eden)

    I just do not understand why Boehner is trying to pass this bill, when CCB, passed last week. In my mind, everything is in the Dem court. Why keep lobbing balls at them? And I do think if Boehner’s bill does pass, Dirty Harry will somehow hijack it, make it crappier than it already is and pass it off as something great.

    • Troy La Mana

      I think the House should keep passing CCB until Reid allows debate on the bill.