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.