published Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Bob Corker's second term goals

Sen. Bob Corker's low-key re-election campaign hasn't drawn wide public attention yet, and there's good reason for that. He's built a good reputation by doing a fine job the past five-and-a-half years, and his obscure opponents in the August Republican primary don't have the money or name-recognition to derail Corker's bid for a second term. Simply put, he's earned the status of a shoo-in.

His enviable position owes both to his serious study of the most critical problems that confront Washington and his good fortune upon his arrival in the Senate in 2006 to be placed on two of the Senate's most powerful committees -- banking and foreign relations.

Both put him where the action is. Assignment to the banking committee plunged him into the thick of the Senate's ongoing response to the 2007 banking crisis and financial implosion that sent the economy, here and abroad, into the worst tailspin since the Great Depression. And rules for banking reform to prevent another speculative banking disaster are still not finish ed. The foreign relations post gave him an center seat on the swirl of the costs and backlash of the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Small wonder he's become an adept student of budget deficits, the costs of war, and the burdens and limits of American power.

That cauldron accounts for his admitted frustration with Washington's gridlock over budget deficits and agreement on a path toward a bipartisan solution to fiscal sanity and maintenance of America's global leadership position. In an editorial board meeting at this newspaper Monday, Corker said that despite his past frustration over gridlock, and regardless of the outcome of the November presidential election, he believes Washington will finally come to grips with deficit-reduction and spending issues next year -- if only because fiscal circumstances finally require it. He says he wants to be there then, because he has carefully been preparing a comprehensive bill to address the deficit from both ends -- spending reductions and revenue needs.

The former, he correctly says, will have to deal with long-term reform of entitlement spending, including Medicare, Medicaid and such budget areas as highway trust funds. He describes the latter as tax cuts for both business and marginal income tax rates at the high end of wealth, but combined with closure of special tax provisions and credits that now disproportionately favor big business and the ultra wealthy. As examples, he cites corporate loopholes and limits on credits for taxpayers' mortgage costs and charitable deductions. A comprehensive package of tax reforms and spending limits, he reasonably argues, would generate new revenue, reduce deficit spending, provide certainty to capital markets and businesses, and stimulate capital investments and new jobs.

Corker's approach is hardly novel, of course. President Obama has repeatedly called for such legislation, and clear thinkers on both sides of the aisle have long agreed, if only privately, that both spending cuts and cuts in tax-expenditures -- the credits, loopholes and special-interest exemptions that now riddle the tax code, and drain more than $1 trillion annually from potential tax revenue -- will have to go hand-in-hand. Republicans won't call those reforms tax increases, mainly because the current right-wing -- and the party's election-and-tea party oriented talking points -- won't tolerate the idea of political compromise.

But the realists know better. The current $14.3 trillion deficit, accumulated mainly by George W. Bush and his GOP predecessors, prove the point. Despite his partisan votes on other issues, Corker's hard-earned experience and deep insistence on the urgency of balanced deficit reduction put him in the front ranks of senators willing to lead that crucial fight. He needs to be Washington for that battle.

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fairmon said...

Good article and I agree Corker is ahead of most in congress regarding fiscal responsibility. But, 6 trillion of the 15 trillion debt is Obama's.

The convoluted tax system needs to be much simpler for individuals and businesses with no deductions, reductions, credits etc. etc. Set the rates and collect the taxes at that rate from singles, married, HOH etc. Why encourage proliferation with deductions for more kids? Why should those w/o kids subsidize those with kids? Why should singles subsidize those opting to marry? Why should those preferring to rent subsidize those opting to buy? Is this not wealth transfer? Are the tax codes not discriminating against those electing to be single or through other circumstances become single? There is no valid reason why individual taxes couldn't be filed on a post card. Set the rates and collect taxes accordingly. Define business profits and set a rate that all businesses pay. Stop the favoritism, subsidies, credits and other attempts to manipulate.

Congress has used the tax codes to manipulate and show favor to the point the tax codes are thousand and thousands of very confusing pages that even the IRS is at times confused and occasionally changes the interpretation of the legislation.

Fair tax proposals SB-13 and HR-25 would serve people well and simplify the tax process in a transparent way for everyone while creating an economic boom. It must be a good proposal since the wealthy, including high profile media folks, and many in congress don't like it. One member of congress against it said it interferes with congress ability to manipulate the economy. Most haven't taken the time to fully understand the proposal.

July 3, 2012 at 6:02 a.m.
ldurham said...

Too bad we no longer have a two party system in Tennessee. Corker is an ineffective Senator.

July 3, 2012 at 7:33 a.m.
moon4kat said...

At the Senate hearing on JP Morgan's reckless loss of $billions, Corker greeted Jamie Dimon (JPM's CEO) with servile obsequiousness. That undermined any confidence that he's alert to the problems caused by the banksters, or that he'll do anything to reign them in.

July 3, 2012 at 7:44 a.m.
timbo said...

Another blatant lie by another blatant liberal.....

Here is the quote which is dead wrong, "...But the realists know better. The current $14.3 trillion deficit, accumulated mainly by George W. Bush and his GOP predecessors, prove the point..."

George Bush was a big spender and increased the deficit by 5 trillion in 8 years. Barack Obama was a much bigger spender who increased the deficit by 6 trillion in 4 years.

Harry Austin just told a another lie. Liberals have no shame

July 3, 2012 at 1:20 p.m.
chatt_man said...

With any luck at all, Corker will try and end the administration's feeling the need to "spend money" to advertise to ensure more people sign up for food stamps, and rewarding the Social Services departments for "confronting" and "overcoming the pride" of people that are trying to get by without them.

The Ashe County Department of Social Services in Jefferson, N.C., for example, received a “Gold” award for confronting “mountain pride” and increasing food stamp participation by 10 percent.

Read more:

This administration is running us downhill so fast our feet are coming out from under us. Good thing we're taxing ourselves into healthcare to disinfect the scrapes.

Now, if we could just disinfect the White House.

July 3, 2012 at 2:27 p.m.

Sorry but I saw that episode of "Just the Ten of Us" and I realized that pride isn't worth it.

People who are too ashamed to admit their need for help do need to be persuaded that they aren't really doing any good.

Besides, the real substantial welfare receivers have no shame as they take their millions and billions from cheating the government. After all, they lobby so hard from it.

PS, much of the Obama deficit can be directly attributed to putting Bush's spending back on the books. Thanks Halliburton and Black water...or whatever your name is now.

July 3, 2012 at 2:46 p.m.
chatt_man said...

I'm not surprised to hear that type of reasoning...the government knows what's better for the people than the people themselves, and it's all Bush's fault.

So predictable...

July 3, 2012 at 3:07 p.m.
raygunz said...

chatt_man ,you and your "po' but proud" folks are pathetic.

July 3, 2012 at 6:08 p.m.

Why would I elect people if I didn't think they had a chance to know better than me?

Maybe you vote for whoever is the dumbest, but not me. I vote for people realizing that even if they don't know better, they can hire people who will know better.

And not, I said "much" not "all" learn the difference.

July 3, 2012 at 9:59 p.m.
chatt_man said...

Wow, how enlightening, again...

raygunz, what a profound statement. Good thing you didn't try and comment on the topic.

happy, maybe I'm all wet, but I choose to elect the person best suited to represent me by listening to their constituents, informing us of things being debated in Washington, and taking the feelings of the people they represent back to Washington and voting accordingly. I trust myself to get informed on the issues, and send a person to Washington that will best represent me.

Wow, I'll say it enlightening.

July 4, 2012 at 12:12 p.m.
fairmon said...


Some times the choice is voting for the one that will do the least harm. Too bad congress don't have the medical field creed of first do no harm.

July 4, 2012 at 9:01 p.m.
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