Some advice on judging the Ryan/Murray Budget deal…

The Ryan Murray deal has now been out there for about two days and there are many different opinions on it.

Some think it’s a win for the GOP:

Though I, too, would like government to shrink, I think this is the right policy trade-off; shutdowns are making it harder and harder to talk about rational budget policy in this town. And tactically, I think this is a clear win for the Republican Party. The last thing they need right now is to take the focus off the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and revive Obama’s flagging poll numbers with an ill-timed budget battle. Their best shot at a budget they really like is, after all, to retake the Senate in 2014.

Some think it’s a disaster

I am old enough to remember when the GOP said not to worry about it caving on Obamacare funding because, by God, it would hold the line on sequestration.

Hell, that was a month ago.

Amazing how much can change in a month. Congressman Paul Ryan and Senator Patty Murray have decided to give up the last thing the GOP was fighting for — spending restraint. “Don’t worry,” Paul Ryan says with his boyish charm designed to induce sweats and heart palpitations among conservatives, “it’s only a little less restrained.”

The budget deal puts discretionary spending over $1 trillion, which is higher than the sequestration deal of 2011, which was at $967. This is, in fact, a spending increase.

It funds Obamacare.

It does not impact the national debt. It does not reform entitlements.

And it raises taxes, but with the more acceptable euphemism of “user fees”

And some who look at it pragmatically:

When I heard there was a budget deal, and that the deal didn’t amount to much, I had two thoughts. The first was, “Most conservatives probably aren’t going to like this; they’ll consider it just another case of weak Congressional Republican gruel and lack of Republican spine.” The second was, “Good. The Republicans weren’t going to win this battle anyway, and this deal will take away the Democrats’ most potent argument against them—the one that hurt them so much earlier this fall, the obstructionist argument—and allow Republicans to focus on the awfulness of Obamacare.”

The way I look at it is this: the best way to combat the Democrats is to win majorities in Congress next year, and to vote for people who are conservative enough to actually stick to their principles in the exceedingly tempting and corrupt atmosphere of Washington DC (no mean feat that, and it’s somewhat unpredictable who will stand firm and who will not). Republicans and/or conservatives can bluster all they want from a minority position, but it’s a weak position

All are valid opinions but as I see it there are three things for a conservative to judge this budget deal by:

1.  Are the military cuts due in sequestration so damaging that it’s worth making this deal to prevent them?

If you think the military can’t sustain these cuts or that they will go to the meat rather than the fat then this deal is a necessary move to stop it. 

If you think that this is simply not the case or that the military as well as the rest of the government need to live within its means then it’s a bad move.

2.  Is a short term deal, even one with tax (fee) increase worthwhile to achieve the political goals of depriving the media / democrats of an issue to use in 2014?

If you think the media would use a shutdown or even a continuing resolution continuing current funding would be used like a club to distract low information voters from Obamacare and the economy before the 2014 elections, it’s a smart move to made a deal that deprives them of it. 

If on the other hand you figure if the MSM doesn’t have an actual issue they will make one up anyway and this will cost us more votes in the base than it will win us or them in low information voters then it’s a waste of time to equivocate.

3.  Do you trust the GOP if successful in taking the senate in 2014 to actually advance meaningful budget restraint?

If you think the tactical move to make a deal will lead to a GOP congress that will make fiscal responsibility a priority and act accordingly then this is the right move, at times you have to regroup before you advance.

If however you have concluded that the GOP is more interested in getting chairmanships and the power of the purse than actually being responsible with it then it simply will not do to make this deal.

I think making a judgement on the budget deal based on these factors is smart.

Tomorrow I’ll give some advice on something concerning this bill that isn’t so smart.