Colorado state Rep. Joe Miklosi, a Democrat challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., for the 6th District Congressional seat, misstated the facts on federal debt negotiations on his way to maligning fiscal conservatives – and high school football coaches. It happened Tuesday during a candidate forum in Highlands Ranch. Here’s what Miklosi said…
“Speaker John Boehner and Pres. Obama had a one-on-one meeting, no staff. This was months ago during some of the debt ceiling debates. They actually had a plan that went beyond the Simpson-Bowles, which, as you know, was $4 trillion of cuts over 10 years. Each would have to sacrifice. The estimate was about $7 trillion in cuts over 10 years. It was a 10-to-1 cut vs. revenue generation – the Clinton era, Clinton Administration framework.
“But Speaker Boehner could not sell that to Eric Cantor, the number two guy in the House of Representative, the Majority Leader, and the 83-member Tea Party caucus, because they didn’t want that 10-to-1 ratio.”
Miklosi sums it up by saying…
“But the Tea Party acts, almost like high-school football coaches, where they think it’s their way or the highway. And that’s not how you get things done.”
Miklosi appears to make a series of errors in recounting what was proposed as the “grand bargain” between Pres. Obama and Speaker Boehner in 2011. Those negotiations have been covered in detail by The Washington Post and The New York Times, among many other media outlets.
Based on what we’ve read, here’s our analysis of Miklosi’s statements…
1) We’re not sure where Miklosi is getting “$7 trillion in cuts” and are completely perplexed by his reference to a “10-to-1 cut vs. revenue generation” ratio for achieving it.
For background, The Washington Post recently reported….
“Simpson-Bowles is often advertised as reducing the deficit by $4 trillion, through a 3-to-1 ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases.”
We suspect Miklosi’s “10-to-1″ may have come – not from actual negotiations between actual office-holders – but rather from a recollection of the pretend negotiations that Republicans often find themselves being asked to conduct during Presidential debates, as at this one from August 2011…
2) If there was no “10-to-1 cut vs. revenue generation” on the table, then Miklosi’s supposition that “Boehner could not sell that to Eric Cantor” is meaningless.
3) The House Tea Party Caucus was not 83-members strong; it has only 60 members. Miklosi may have been thinking of the 83 new Republican House members who took office after the 2010 elections. We can see where that would leave an impression.
4) Miklosi fails to note that the President’s counter-proposal to increase taxes from $800 billion to $1.2 trillion played a significant role in the deal’s collapse.
We have sent a note to Miklosi’s Congressional campaign in order to ask about the specifics of his comments. We will update if and when they respond.
Miklosi’s analogy to “high school football coaches” also misfires on its own terms.
People expect high school football coaches to set the terms for a player’s participation on the field. Not even the most strident fiscal conservatives think they’ve been handed in loco parentis supervisory authority over their peers in Congress, or over the president.