The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Tuesday night’s Fox News All-Stars.

On the Senate’s Gang of Six debt plan:

I think if Republicans are smart — and they have not been in these negotiations — they can use this report and this summary, this outline. And I think it will be a step ahead.

It’s in two parts, the Gang of Six outline. The first part would be enacted immediately. It cuts half a trillion of spending, which is good. It has two other provisions. It changes the cost of living formula, which is needed, saves a lot of money over time. Lastly, it actually eliminates one of the two entitlements in Obamacare — the CLASS act, the longer-term health part of it, which is completely outrageous, unaffordable, and ruinous. So it’s out. So that is real good stuff.

The second half of this is the stuff that would be enacted supposedly over six months, committee by committee. It’s weak on Medicare. But the tax reform in it is extremely good. It matches the debt commission recommendations where the rate for the highest earners would go from where it is now to roughly where Reagan had it in the 20s, which is also a plus.

So what I would recommend is for the Republicans to adopt this but only raise the debt ceiling in return for half a trillion in real cuts now. … The debt ceiling will run out in five or six months if it’s a raising of only half a trillion [in deficit reduction]. You revisit it [at that point] and have negotiations on the second half and see if real cuts have come out of the second part.

On the Murdochs’ testimony before Parliament and the prospect of the News Corporation phone hacking scandal spreading to the United States:

I think it’ll depend hugely on whether the one report from one tabloid in England about the hacking of the 9/11 victims is a true story or not. It’s unsourced, second hand, third hand, I think, and nobody has yet produced any evidence of it. If there is evidence of it, this is a major event.

The Murdochs I thought did rather well in defending themselves. They were on the defensive, but nothing particularly new emerged. I thought they were suitably apologetic about the hacking, particularly the scandalous hacking of victims. And I thought they looked rather sincere in saying they were shocked and appalled by it and apologized. But it will hinge on whether — it will cross the Atlantic if there was hacking of 9/11 victims.

I must say what was interesting to me was to compare this to an American inquisition in our Congress. Here — we’re supposed to be a republic and not a monarchy — members of Congress are way up on podium looking down on the defendant. There it looked like a cafeteria discussion. There were no … accusatory speeches as you get in Congress. It was mostly asking sharp questions. … An interesting contrast.

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