Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: John Boehner

Why the Speaker of the House is a No-Win Situation for Republicans

This past week has seen quite a bit of drama surrounding the planned retirement of current Speaker of the House, John Boehner. Boehner wants to quit, but his republican colleagues cannot seem to find an agreeable replacement for him. The first consensus choice, Kevin McCarthy, has pulled himself out of the race. Some have alleged it’s due to an affair, but it’s also quite possible that McCarthy could not get the support of the “Freedom Caucus“, a group of 42 hardline republicans who together have enough seats to prevent mainline republicans from passing anything without the support of democrats. Now many republicans are calling on former Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan to put himself up for the job, but to this point he has refused to do so. What’s the deal?

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What do the Midterms Mean? Not Much…

In much of the media’s coverage of the US midterm elections, the focus has been on the number of races won by republican candidates. When we look exclusively at races won, it appears as if the right has scored a stunning victory. The trouble is that in the American political system, power is widely distributed. An individual congressman, senator, or even governor or president can do very little to meaningfully effect policy.  Consequently, when we evaluate what an election means, we need to evaluate whether enough power has been accumulated by one side or the other to meaningfully sway policy outcomes. When we do this at the federal level, we see that the balance of power has remained more or less consistent since 2010.

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Hurricane Sandy and the Least Productive Congress

Yesterday, some republicans from states affected by Hurricane Sandy grew extraordinarily angry with House Speaker John Boehner for delaying a vote on a senate-approved $60 billion disaster relief bill. Are they right to be angry? I shall endeavour to examine the situation and reach what conclusions I can.

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Boehner’s Hindenburg

Remember a few days ago when we were discussing a possible fiscal cliff deal that Obama might or might not go for? Well, Speaker of the House John Boehner discovered that his republicans would not support the tax increases on the those earning more than $400,000, the increase in capital gains and dividends taxes, and the cap on deductions at 28% of income. So Boehner abandoned that arrangement–it’s dead. Instead, Boehner proposed something called “Plan B”. (British readers are familiar with a different Plan B that proposes a stimulus alternative to their coalition government’s austerity policy; this is not that.) Plan B was substantially more favourable to the republican position, but nonetheless, the republicans in the house refused to support it, and now it is dead too. So where does this leave us in our struggle to avoid the fiscal cliff, the combination of large spending cuts and tax increases that kick in on January 1st and which the CBO forecasts will lead to a recession in 2013?

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