November 28, 2012

Surrender monkeys surrender

It’s an existential truism. And I have a feeling the GOP is preparing to do just that on tax hikes, else why play along with the hysterics of the “fiscal cliff” sham — even to the point of declaring that those of us who are against raising taxes on “the rich” are somehow less patriotic than those who, with the stroke of a pen, can simply pilfer what they want from whomever they want, with such theft having nothing to do with paying down debt (the $90 billion a year such a tax will take from the private sector is a fraction of the $1.3 trillion in deficit spending already built into the baseline budget) and everything to do with breaking down the middle class by killing the private sector economy.  The net result being, of course, ever more people dependent on government because it means ever more people will fall into what the government calls “poverty” — which in turn means more people eligible for government entitlements, and thus more Democrat voters, who essentially will have been pushed into crashing their own society.

But better that then have the press call you obstructionists or try to pin the “new” recession that will follow on your pressed lapel, right Boehner and McCain and Graham and Corker, et al?

Still, I have to continue to make the point, if only so I can live with myself, knowing I did whatever I could to prevent the future my children will face.  NetRightDaily, “Stepping over the tax cliff”:

Democrat Senators and President Obama have been spending a lot of time worrying about the so-called fiscal cliff, and you would think that they would be gushing with new ideas or even identified budget areas that could be cut.

But no, with the exception of Sen. Dick Durbin’s meek, entitlement discussion where he urged saving money but not changing anything about the program, little has been heard from Democrats beyond the standard demand that taxes be increased.

Into the breach, Republican Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bob Corker (R-TN) broke ranks with other Republicans by announcing their support for plans to limit the total amount of tax deductions one can claim; effectively raising the amount of money some people would pay.  In Corker’s case, he has even gone so far as to introduce legislation that would raise taxes by more than a trillion dollars over the next 10 years using a combination of a deduction cap and other manipulations that would throw more people into higher tax brackets.

To put the fiscal cliff into perspective, since 2007, federal government spending has increased by more than $800 billion to a total of $3.54 trillion.   In that same year, the federal government received more than $2.5 trillion in revenues compared to just over $2.4 trillion in this past fiscal year 2012.

While revenues are down by about $113 billion since 2007, this is due almost entirely to the state of the economy, and not changes in the tax laws as the marginal tax rates paid by individuals have not changed since 2003.

However, federal government spending has changed since 2007.  Between stimulus, bailouts, dramatically broadened eligibility requirements for SCHIP and other social safety net programs as well as the massive expansion of unemployment benefit eligibility, federal government spending is up by almost 30 percent since 2007.

The trillion-dollar budget deficit is almost entirely due to this spending splurge, and yet while Obama and the Democrats remain silent, Sen. Corker manages to put a massive tax increase on the table as the starting point for discussion without any agreed upon offsetting budget cuts.

This is not only bad negotiating strategy, it is terrible politics.

Add on to that equation, Sen. Graham’s demand that entitlements be included in order to get his vote for tax increases, Republicans now effectively own both the tax increase and any changes to Medicare that result from the negotiations.

It almost appears that if Obama and Harry Reid just remain silent for a few more days, Congressional Republicans in their zeal to negotiate against themselves in the media might give them the election victory that was denied when Republicans retained control of the House of Representatives.

Indeed.  In fact, it’s almost as if the GOP establishment elects its leadership using the same criteria it does for promoting its presidential or congressional candidates:  find the most feckless deal maker  unburdened by principle and install him or her into power.  That way, they can retain the votes of small government conservatives while enjoying the rewards of big government leftism that constantly defeats them.  The lose in order to win — and we get played for suckers, and pay for the privilege.

Some of us see that. Not just think it, but know it — know that this is going on, know that this is intentional, know that the two-party opposition system is a sham, a fraud, a puppet show, niche theater put on to keep the money flowing to each party even while the end goals of both parties in the central government are the same:  consolidate power, increase revenue for their own uses (and empowerment, using crony arrangements to political and financial advantage), and manage a Leviathan that keeps itself flush while stealing from us and directing every last bit of our lives.

Now, assuming I’m wrong, and assuming the GOP is actually looking for a way to protect us (and people like Rand Paul and Pat Toomey have already taken a principled stand, stating publicly that they have no intention on going back on their anti-tax hike pledge), Pat Buchanan, of all people, offers a reasonable and persuasive strategy moving forward:


If you believe higher tax rates or tax revenues would be like poisoning an already weak economy, why would you collaborate in administering that poison? Why not just say no?

Having lost the presidency and seats in both houses, Republicans should not partner with a president with whom they disagree on principle.

They should act as the loyal opposition in a parliamentary system whose duty it is to oppose, to offer an alternative agenda and to wait upon the success or failure of the government, as Labor is doing in Britain and the conservatives are doing in France.

What should Speaker John Boehner do?

Tell the president politely that America’s problem is not that we are taxed too little but that we spend too much — and the GOP will not sign on either to tax rate or tax revenue increases. For Republicans believe that would further injure the economy — especially an economy limping along at between 1 and 2 percent growth.

Then Boehner should depart the White House, go back up to the Hill and urge his Republican caucus to do two things.

Pass an extension of the Social Security payroll tax cut and block its automatic rise from 4.2 percent of wages to 6.2 percent. To raise that tax now and scoop off the discretionary income of most of America’s families in this anemic economy makes no sense economically or politically.

The House should then vote to extend the Bush tax cuts for another year, with a pledge to do tax reform — lowering tax rates in return for culling, cutting or capping deductions for the well-to-do in the new year.

Then let Harry Reid work his will. If the Senate votes to let Social Security taxes rise, let Harry and his party explain this to the middle class that gets hammered in January. If the Senate votes to let the Bush tax cuts lapse for those over $200,000, decide in the caucus whether to negotiate — or to go home for Christmas and New Year’s.

As for the automatic sequester that would impose $100 billion in cuts next year, half in defense, do nothing. Let it take effect. The budget has to be cut, and while these cuts are heavy on defense, the depth and mixture can be adjusted in the new year.

If Republicans walk away from tax negotiations with the White House, market investors, anticipating a sharp rise in tax rates on dividends, interest and capital gains next year, will start dumping stocks, bonds and investments to take advantage of the last year of lower taxes.

The market may tank. Let the party of high taxes explain it.

In fact, it’s even simpler than this:  for the last decade plus the Democrats have been screeching about the Bush tax cuts being tax cuts for the rich.  Fine.  Let them expire.  And then let it be known that in doing so, all you are doing is taking us back to the Clinton rates.  Why, it’ll be like George Bush’s tax plan never even existed.  And, as the Democrats have said for over a decade, because it was only the rich who benefited from those rates, only the rich will have to pay more.   And isn’t that exactly what Obama has been demanding?

Okay. Good. Give it to him.  Let him own it.

The messaging, therefore, is this:  we are now right back where the Democrats want us, save that they wish to increase the rates even more on “the rich,” who have been redefined down to couples making $250 K or small business owners who pay taxes using the standard personal tax rate.  That additional revenue — which would require first raising taxes on the rich by letting the Bush rates expire, then raising them again on the rich just because — will cut about 8% off the yearly deficit spending, assuming it isn’t used to spend up to the current threshold regardless.

Note that you believe this is the wrong course — that the President himself has said you don’t raise taxes during a recession, and by any measure, growth is anemic and unemployment is sickeningly high — then, having refused to cave to Obama’s demands — return us to the Clinton tax rates, where “the rich” didn’t receive the rewards of the Bush tax cuts.

Once this new paradigm takes hold — and people in all tax brackets see an increase in their rates, plus a reduction in their available deductions and credits — reality may finally set in.

The beast must be starved. And the President is giving you the very means to do it — though he’s playing a game of chicken, assuming (as he has every right to believe, based on past performance) that pressure from the press and from his class warfare rhetoric will convince the GOP leadership to cave.

Bill Kristol already has — as have several Senators and House members.

But this is it, boys:  you don’t have to do this, and many of us know it.  So if you do, we’re going to assume it was out of a desire to go along.  At which point, as Buchanan obliquely alludes to, the GOP, having lost its principles, will be finished as a Party.


Posted by Jeff G. @ 10:08am

Comments (60)

  1. the GOP, having lost its principles, will be finished as a Party.

    Except that the GOP IS following its principles. They’re just not the ones you thought they were.

  2. Okay, dicentra. Go with its stated principles, then. You know what I meant.

  3. How is $100B in cuts draconian?

  4. FORWARD!!!!

  5. They will continue to screw us until we stop electing them, and maybe even afterwards.

    Since the election, my outrage meter has been broken, and I don’t think I’ll have it repaired. I will note each injustice as it comes our way, but I won’t become emotionally invested in what passes for our representatives because they have long since stopped (if they ever started) being emotionally invested in their constituents.

    They will continue their routine of going from one crisis to another, but they won’t drag me along with them. Until I have true representation in the government again (if that ever happens), I refuse to play their game.

  6. This is about strangling the tea-party movement before it get’s out of the nursery, something the leadership in both parties agree upon.


  7. In the meantime, rather than trying to come up with new ideas, or working with Congress, TOTUS is going to be out using OfA to campaign for higher taxes.

  8. Re: Pic at top of Drudge Report right now.

    It has a link to an article about the “Fiscal Cliff”; however, before scrolling down, all I could see was the picture. This was my thought:

    “Did the White House finally release pics of the Situation Room during the Benghazi attacks?”

  9. If I didn’t have kids, I could easily see how my “give a damn” would be busted, but for their sake, I’ve got to keep fighting.

    What’s really pissing me off is how the Proglodytes have managed to get most every debate framed in such a fashion that, by default, oppostion to any specific government programs or solutions dreamt up to help some identified victimized group means those opposed simply DON’T CARE.
    There is no attempt to explain the rationale of the opposition, be it cost-benefit analysis or alternative proposal driven.
    Instead the left and media demonize those holding politically incorrect views.

    “The history of the last 40 years is replacing what works with what sounds good.”
    – Sowell

  10. Lying liars buys at work:

    First whopper

    a. For the first two-and-half-years of his term, Obama tried to play the role of compromiser-in-chief, straining to win over Republican support for his agenda.

    Straining? Really ? Got an example of that from Mr “I Won”?

    Polls already show that voters would blame the GOP much more than Obama if a deal isn’t cut before January 1. And Obama just spent more than a year running for reelection on a promise to insist on … exactly what he’s now insisting on from Republicans. There seems to be some recognition of this among the general public, and the political press.

    He shows his hand there a bit in the end. The opinion of the political press? Someone remind the author that they’re supposed to report the news.

  11. I’ve come to the rather grim conclusion that they have never reported the news, Carin.

    My give a damn is busted, pvrwc. Of course, I only have one kid left at home and he’ll have safe harbor at college in two years. Six years from now, who knows what things will look like? If they’re still terrible, he can ride it out in grad school for another 2-3 years.

  12. Leigh – he will still be on your insurance until 26. For free.

  13. We’ll all be insured by Big Health by then, JD.

  14. What’s the likelihood of the GOP listening to Pat Buchanan?
    What’s the likelihood of me winning Powerball tonight?
    Rhetorical, right?

  15. Unless you win the Powerball.

  16. – I absolutely agree with di on this one, and yes I know what you’re going for here, but the entire pile of economic bullshit is a crisus neeeded disaster to shove it down our throats, and the state of things means both parties have no choice really. Our government has spent us into an impossible corner, so first a few taxes, then a few more, and very limited cuts.

    – Neither side has anything like the courage it would take to do what we need to, the Reps won’t because they already feel at a disadvantage, and the Dems are fucking insane with power and an ideology that believes in math magic.

    – Watch what happens to the economy in the next few months.

    – A bottom I just don’t think principles enters the equation anymore. Half the country pays no taxes, and will always vote to tax the other guy because that’s wjere their income derives from. Just enough of the tax paying public bought the ‘tax the rich’ argument tp get Obama reeelected, so its not principles any way you look at it, its percieved self interests.

    – None of which matters in the long run. We’re going in the dumper, and everyone knows it, and everyone is angling for the best of a bad deal they think they can get.

    – Which simply means we are not going to avoid it no matter what else happens now, short of a WWII, which saved FDR’s bacon, but isn’t particularly fated soon enough at this juncture.

    – When the wars start they will not fix anything either.

  17. I’m not going to show up for the left or GOP’s participation trophies, but most people still would, and eagerly, so I can’t really blame them for being this stupid. Most people still think and say they’re smart.

  18. – Obama effectively killed the importane and effectiveness of the T-party when he went all in on class warfare, knowing exactly what people would do when faced with principles versus percieved self-interests. He settled the issue beyound repair. The son of a bitch has destroyed the country just like he said he would.

  19. There’s a reason gun sales are going through the roof and it isn’t because people are worried about their Second Amendment rights.

    The average consumer of news has not been informed about anything the last few years due to a conspiracy of silence by MBM.

    However, the average person knows something is amiss and is trying to take some precautions.

    How it all plays out is anyone’s guess.

  20. BBH, the bit you left out of your analysis is the one where the GOP takes the blame* for the recession cum depression of 2013.

    *Probably because their insistence on token spending cuts for minimal tax hikes fell like a shadow across the Keynsian conjurations, displeasing the gods of magic money and bulloxing up the whole prosperity ritual.

  21. Too true, Ernst.

    All hail debt! The debt is good. Worship the debt!

  22. – Very true Ernst, but at this point its just all noise and haggling over the corpse.

    – When it all finally falls apart no one is going to care about who’s and why’s, they’re just going to want blood, and they won’t be picky about the targets.

    – The two parties are now one in a joint suicide pack that no one in the country knows how to gwt out of, short of draconian steps that would be required, and theres just no guts to face it.

    – To tell the truth its probably already too late, even if the most restrictive path were followed.

    – Everyone is scared, and I don’t blame them. Its a pick your poisin hobsons choice now.

  23. and the state of things means both parties have no choice really.

    They have choices. They have no spines.

  24. “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.” Winston Churchill.

    -I admire Winston Churchill, but, unfortunately, he got this one wrong.

  25. I don’t even care if they fight at this point. I don’t even care if by some strange miracle they win a round. I believe the words Reince Oreibus used were “Not even if it’s a tie. ”

    Exactly Reince. Time’s up. Time for you and your fake opposition party to politically die or get on some swan boats and head west or whatever it is you do. I vote no confidence in the GOP. Here and now. No more chances. No matter what. Dead to me.

  26. Me? I plan to steal the penneys off the dead eyes of the GOP.

  27. The problem is, even if you’re give a damn is busted, the raping will still continue. As much as I would love to say “Let it all burn” I recognize that based on the results of the last elections, me and everyone else who is actually employed will be the ones paying for the bonfire.

    That’s the nice thing about being the 47% (or whatever) – you don’t have to see the big picture.

  28. – Penny’s are about the only thing that will have any value. Well that and potable water and land of course. But then you’ll need the means and resources to do something with it, which itself is problamatical in the coming crash.

    – Wait until people start losing it out of fear and panic. 200 million rounds of ammo may not be enough.

  29. Made the mistake of listening to Hugh Hewitt the other day while trapped in the car. He had Fred Barnes on to tell us all that the TP had picked “unelectable” candidates for Senate.

    ‘course the GOP picked one for President, so I guess we all evened out.

    I won’t vote GOP again, in any event. Not after listening to all those assholes on the news talk about the “20 year old pledge” to Grover Norquist that doesn’t mean anything any more. Kinda like their assorted and sundry marriage vows, and the whole “protect and defend” bullshit in their oath of office, and really anything they may say in order to get re-elected.

    The Outlaw party needs to find itself some economically sane candidates who are exceptionally good at lying to the press and have left no paper trail except old yearbook pictures to verify their existence. I expect that after the riots, there will be quite a few.

  30. Grover Norquist isn’t an elected official. He didn’t threaten the levers of power to get that parliament of whores to sign his pledge; they did it of their own free will.

    They need to get over themselves and admit that they are men without any principles and are willing to change with the tides. Of course, that would call for honesty and they would have to look for a different line of work.

  31. Don’t hang out with your liberal friends, I say. Not only will they get worse, but they won’t be prepared, and you’ll at least need some strength of numbers when disaster hits.

    I mean, don’t be rude, but recognize that society is restarting, and maybe it’s time to put some personal state in it. That if you keep buying them beer, they’ll never take you and your values seriously.

    But I don’t know, I’m young, and the young usually give extreme advice. Again, I’m not Romney. All ready to wine and dine at the White House.

  32. I expect that after the riots, there will be quite a few.

    – Well, here’s the proposition you’re looking at. “A Republic if you can keep it.” has failed. Where exactly are all those statesmsn and patriots going to come from. If you had a pretty good operation going and the upper management totally fucked things up so the company self-destructed, what exactly is your future with the same people trying to rebuild from the ashes?

    – We’ll be post revolution France without the accent. The riots won’t improve a thing, except business in the funeral industry.

  33. Ugh, I hope not BBH. But possibly.

  34. Insty linked a brief Nick Gillespie piece at Reason (Welcome to Washington, D.C.: Like The Hunger Games, But Without The Laughs) responding to Insty’s recent column on money concentration in the DC environs, akin to Hunger Games. Particularly of interest, I’d like to point to the interview with Robert Higgs which Gillespie included at the end of his piece, and the book promoted there “Arthur A. Ekirch’s great The Decline of American Liberalism“, reissued by the Independence Institute. Higgs is a rare bird and one of the best of the good guys abroad today.

  35. The funeral business is indeed a growth industry. Talk about mark up. The shameful taking advantage of grieveing families and upselling services and markers. I think that part is nearly gone.

    The business end of a shovel or backhoe is going to be the money-maker.

    Societally, I expect us to devolve into fiefdoms. This will take a while, but once the power (cell phones, GPS, electric service) goes away forever it’s a whole new ballgame.

  36. Okay, dicentra. Go with its stated principles, then. You know what I meant.

    I know what you mean and you know what you mean, but the vast majority of those on our side still rhetorically assume that Beltway Republicans are betraying their principles by being milquetoasts and such. Hewitt and his ilk are continually astounded by the GOP’s inability to clearly state conservative principles and fight for them.

    Hugh, Hugh, Hugh. Most people have a hard time articulating principles that they don’t believe in. Even Leftists talk capitalism with an accent.

    Time to start assuming, mentally and rhetorically, that only a minority of Beltway Republicans are even acquainted with conservative principles (such as, oh, I don’t know—THE CONSTITUTION), and therefore they don’t “cave” so much as do what comes naturally.

  37. I prefer shovels. It’s kind of hard to catch someone by surprise with a backhoe.

  38. Heh, I’ve seen a few backhoe operators who caught themselves by surprise on an occasion or two.

  39. A couple of items that fit together.

    While a recession would be terrible for the country, it may not be terrible for the Obama presidency. Obama knows that he has the media standing by to blame Republicans for any failure to reach a deal, and he knows that there are enough low-information voters out there to believe whatever the media says. The media covered for him both on Benghazi and the fiscal cliff during the elections; it’s likely to keep covering for him. He also knows, based on his own re-election victory, that a terrible economy leads to more dependency on government, which leads to more people seeing him and his party as the guarantors of their government benefits. This dynamic is a very effective way to kill arguments favoring smaller government. Who needs abstractions and Milton Friedman when there’s no food on the table?

    A recession in 2013 obviously comes on the calendar before the mid-term elections of 2014. If President Obama and the Democrats intend to cause a recession and blame it on the Republicans, their real game could be to use a spike in economic misery to take the House back and hold the Senate in 2014

    Mobilizing the low info voter was crucial to his victory and now continues into achieving his 2nd term agenda.

    Messina called Dashboard “the hardest thing we did in the campaign,” explaining it tracked “every single piece of metric in this campaign and put it in one place,” … The data enabled the campaign to focus on persuadable voters. … In addition, instead of mass messaging, the campaign mobilized social networkers to share campaign messages with friends who were undecided voters.

    “The single most-persuasive person in an undecided voter’s life was their friends and family,” Messina said.
    Messina told the Politico breakfast gathering that while he didn’t know for certain what would happen to the campaign infrastructure, some of it “will absolutely live on,” pointing to the social networking tools, the Huffington Post said.

    Messina pointed to Dashboard as a way for the president’s supporters to connect with Congress members during the fiscal cliff talks.

    “People just spent five years winning two elections together,” Messina said. “They’re not now just going to walk away.”

    In a conference call last week, the Huffington Post reported, Obama urged 30,000 of his top campaign activists to stay engaged in the political process, beginning with upcoming tax and budget negotiations.

    “We are going to have some triumphs and some successes, but there are going to be some tough days, starting with some of these negotiations around the fiscal cliff that you probably read about, making sure that our tax system is fair,” Obama said. “So we are going to need you guys to stay active. We need you to stick with us and stay on this.”

  40. “Penny’s are about the only thing that will have any value.”

    They make good paste on heat sinks for arduino boards. Pe-80’s Copper ones are WAY better of course.

  41. pre-80’s I mean.

  42. Re: sdferr’s 1:01pm.

    In an earlier post at Insty there is a letter from an intern for “Councilmember Marion Barry” who throws down the line about the income disparity which will be the centerpiece of the Obama agenda. Equal misery for all.*

    *Exceptions made for certain favored persons.

  43. <"….We need you to stick with us and stay on this.”

    – Translation: : “We got them by the short hairs with the class warfare stick, and like it always does, cynicism trumps all. But you gotta keep the agitprop going people, keep the plates all spinning. One miss and they all come chrashing down.”

    – Burried in there very nuanced, he waves his hands at the impending total meltdown, because being a Lefturd means never having to deal with messy reality.

  44. BBH, I’m kind of looking forward to a coup.

  45. – Yeh, kind of feal the same way.

    – After the ship sinks in ernest if he tries to stand up in front of any crowd with the same old rhetoric he’ll be lucky if they don’t tear him limb from limb.

    – The one thing I wouldn’t want terribly much to be associated with in any way in the coming months/years is Progressivism. Its shaping up to be the classic example of live by the cult figure, die by the cult figure.

    – They wanted it, now they own it.

  46. It’ll be like whatshisname in Czechoslovakia and his wife trying to make a dash for the helocopters after his guards stepped back and let the crowd at him.

    Maybe it’ll be on teevee.

  47. He has it coming, definitely, but I hope it doesn’t end that way. This country is still better than that I think.

  48. – Me, I’ll do what I always do when I’m feeling glum, watch Pirates of Penzance, the really excellant version with Linda and Kevin and Rex in the park production. The movie is good in its own way, but the outdoor theater is much more intimate and alive.

  49. whatshisname in Czechoslovakia

    I’m guessing, but do you intend the end of the socialist despot Nicolai Ceausescu in Romania?


    plural of penny


  51. – Even Penny’s pennies would be worth something.

  52. “After the ship sinks in ernest if he tries to stand up in front of any crowd with the same old rhetoric he’ll be lucky if they don’t tear him limb from limb.”

    They have no right to tear him limb from limb. He asked them for their wallet and my wallet and your wallet and birthday gifts and their wedding presents, AND THEY GAVE IT TO HIM. They made the choice to get suckered over the barrel by the lamest jackass they could find. 1st time is unlucky, second time is stupid. If they change their minds once the bill comes, well too bad, so sad. OBAMAPHOOOONE!

  53. – That phone is going to look pretty lame when theres not enough electricity to run the cell system, and it won’t taste very good with ketchup.

    – In other words, when all the chickens finally come home to roost, I doubt he’ll appear in public any more. All unannounced TV spots behind a bullproof teleprompter.

    – When all the airheads and hipsters figure it out his base will turn on him.

  54. *bullettproof*. If he stood behind a bullproof teleprompter, no sound would reach the crowd..

  55. Ceausescu in Romania?

    That’s it. I tried searching his name in vain.

    Di, as to ‘pennies’, I’ve been spelling challenged lately. Sorry.

  56. – Ok, did Mex tonight, so all is right with the world for awhile.

  57. Say, how’s Junior making out with the cook’s job? Progress report?

  58. Sent an e-mail to the RNC today. Short version: you break your pledge to the people ( not Nordquist), I pledge to never give another dime or vote to the repubs. Just won’t vote if they put up another squish like Romney.

  59. Along with the usual stuff about spending, not revenue. Not that they’ll listen.