Rep. Boehner should just plead the Fifth

Published 10:00 am Friday, May 13, 2011

House Speaker John Boehner spoke out this week on the debt ceiling. His comments were surprising and caused this writer to wonder what Mr. Speaker Boehner might say under oath. This then is a guess how that might occur:

Attorney: Speaker Boehner, did you say this week, and I quote: “…the president has asked the congress to increase the debt limit.”

Speaker Boehner: “I did. And if he wants the debt limit raised he will have to agree to trillions in spending cuts.”

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Attorney” “I see. Mr. Speaker, are you aware that the spending that has taken place and now requires an increase in the national debt took place while you were in congress.”

Speaker Boehner: “Yes.”

Attorney: “And Mr. Speaker, are you aware you voted for many of the bills that created the current debt and deficit, including the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, two wars financed by debt, Medicare Part D, paid for by debt, and TARP?”

Speaker Boehner: (Addressing the Judge) “Your Honor I respectfully take the 5th amendment…(etc.)”

Attorney: Mr. Speaker, turning now to what is now known as the Ryan Plan, a bill that passed in the House this year and had the support of all but four Republican members. You voted for the bill, do you remember its content?”

Speaker Boehner: “Of course I do. It is one of several interesting options.”

Attorney: “Mr. Speaker, you did not vote for it as an option, you voted for it to become law, correct?”

Speaker Boehner: “You could say that, yes.”

Attorney: “Mr. Speaker, are you aware that the Ryan bill would add between $5 trillion and $6 trillion dollars to the debt over the next decade, and that that debt would be more than any 10 year period in our history?”

Speaker Boehner: “Your Honor, once again I take the 5th…etc”

Attorney: “So Mr. Speaker, when you say the President wants to increase the national debt ceiling, you actually mean the bill you just voted for and passed in the House needs the national debt ceiling raised or that bill would bring about an economic collapse, correct?”

Speaker Boehner: “Your Honor, once again I take the 5th…etc”

Attorney: “Mr. Speaker, turning now to the debt, did you say, and I quote: “…with the exception of tax hikes…everything is on the table”?

Speaker Boehner: “I did, and I am firm that I will not slow down the economy by asking the producers are pay more.”

(Remember, this is a guess at what the Speaker might say, not an actual quote.)

Attorney: “Mr. Speaker Big Oil gets certain tax breaks right now. Would you call those breaks corporate welfare or something else?”

Speaker Boehner: “I would call them economic incentives that are needed.”

Attorney: “Are you aware Sir that the largest of those $4.5 billion in annual tax cuts are to encourage business to locate in America, and that Big Oil needs no incentive to drill for oil here?”

Speaker Boehner: “You are talking about a tax increase and I will not accept that.”

Attorney: “So even though the incentive is entirely unnecessary Sir, you would call ending it a tax hike and unacceptable?”

Speaker Boehner: “Absolutely.”

Attorney: “Mr. Speaker, are you aware then that the Ryan bill reduces the debt only by program cuts on the middle class and the poor, raises no new revenue and asks no sacrifice by corporations or the rich?”

Speaker Boehner: “Was there a question in that?”

Attorney: “No Sir, I think there is no question about your priorities. This witness is dismissed.”

Jim Crawford is retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.