December 21, 2012

“Conservatives Force Boehner to Abandon His ‘Plan B’ Tax Hike–House Goes Home”

Alternate Rovean / Kristol headline:  “Stupid unnuanced purists stab only adult in the room in his adroit and savvy back; prove they ain’t worth the salt in his (orange-tinged) tears”


Conservative members of the House of Representatives dealt a stunning defeat to the House Republican leadership on Thursday night, forcing Speaker John Boehner (R.-Ohio) to cancel a vote on his “Plan B” tax-increase proposal.

Earlier in the evening, the Republican House leadership had been confident they could make the members of their caucus vote for the tax increase. But they miscalculated.

“Plan B” would have violated the pledge almost all House Republicans have made to the American people to oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates. It would have done so by increasing the tax rate on income over $1 million after Jan. 1.

“The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass,” Boehner said in a statement released late Thursday.

“Now it is up to the president to work with Senator Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff,” Boehner said.

Conservative Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R.-Kan.), a freshman and Tea Party advocate, was one of the leaders in the revolt against Boehner. Earlier this month, the House Republican leadership, acting through its Steering Committee, stripped Huelskamp and Rep. Justin Amash and Rep. David Schweikert from committee memberships. Huelskamp, Amash and Schweikert believed they were stripped of their memberships because of their conservative voting records. Boehner and the Republican leaders, however, never clarified why they punished the conservative lawmakers.

“Republicans should not be forced to vote for a ‘show’ bill that asks us to compromise on our principles,” Huelskamp said after Boehner cancelled the vote on Plan B.

“On a separate note,” said Huelskamp, “Republican leadership thought they could silence conservatives when they kicked us off our committees. I’m glad that enough of my colleagues refused to back down after the threats and intimidation, thus preventing the conference from abandoning our principles.”

In August, the House passed a bill with bi-partisan support — 19 Democrats joining — that called for the extension of current rates.  That bill has been kept in the Senate, gathering dust.

Timid GOP leadership — which should be removed and replaced — is worried about one thing: being blamed for  a recession once we go over the “fiscal cliff.”  But that’s only because they haven’t the conservative mindset to articulate the kinds of principles that can lead to a pro-growth, job-producing economy — instead adopting the tropes of the left and playing into a no-win narrative of class warfare.

The answer, as I and others have articulated, to politicking their way out of the mess that Boehner’s history of timidity has put them in, is to let us go over the fiscal cliff.  Remind Americans that the deal the President proposed punished certain Americans — all so that revenue pulled from the private sector, which means less growth, less investment, and fewer jobs — could fund the government for an additional week.

And that’s because the problem is not that the government needs more revenue. It’s that it way overspends — and needs to be cut.

For a decade Democrats have referred to the Bush tax rates as “tax cuts for the rich.”  It follows, then, that the left, by refusing to offer specific spending cuts, is getting exactly what it wants as a result of the failure of the two parties to reach a deal: an end to tax cuts for the rich, and an automatic set of cuts to military spending through sequestration.

This is the message the GOP needs to be putting out loudly and without regret.

When Congress reconvenes, a new House leadership should inform the American people that in addition to having gotten rid of what they called “tax cuts for the rich” — which the GOP has always maintained were tax breaks for everyone — new taxes are set to kick in through ObamaCare, raising effective tax rates even higher, while driving up costs of goods and services all throughout the economy.  Also set to kick in are new EPA rules that will, through compliance costs, take another large chunk of the private economy and place it into the hands of a government looking to set industrial policy at the bureaucratic level, much in the way the old Soviet state did.

Having explained that, the House should then do as Mark Levin, myself, and others have advocated:  Vote for a bill that returns us to the Bush rates on the top two tax brackets, and cut rates on the bottom three brackets (without any increases in tax credits to those who don’t pay federal taxes in the first place; returning them to the status quo under Bush).  Declare that you are now the party of pro-growth, that you are the party of relief to the middle class and small business, and send the bill over to Reid.

Let the left reject actual tax cuts on the middle class by complaining that they’re unwilling to abide such a plan unless they can punish “the rich”– the job providers, the investers — to the tune of 8 days of government revenue.

And how petty — not to mention unbalanced — is that?

This really shouldn’t be a difficult game.  But it will require conservative leadership in the House and a willingness to confidently and forcefully explain the principles at work here.  If we want jobs and economic growth, we need less government interference into the private sector — and we want Americans to keep more of their own money, their own labor, rather than forking it over to a federal government who then overpays bureaucrats to figure out ways to punish them.

The Democrats wish us a nation of masochists, with themselves dressed in leather and rubber and big spiked nipple cups, wielding the whip.  Mistress Progressive gets off on such punishment.  It’s time to take off the gimp suit, GOP.  You’ve been a beaten little bitch long enough.


Posted by Jeff G. @ 10:27am

Comments (14)

  1. Team R needs a fresh start with a clean slate of new leaders

  2. It’s been kinda fun the last couple of days hearing Hewitt go nuclear on Boehner and, last night, demanding that Boehner be replaced.

    Hewitt has gone Hobbit. :-)

  3. Rush put it this way a week or so ago (paraphrased): Conservatism (or classical liberalism, if you prefer) can’t be blamed for the GOP’s current set-backs, and it cannot be said to have “lost,” because nobody in the party leadership has been pushing conservative/classical liberal ideas, principles, or policies.

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  5. The erstwhile bastion of conservatism that is the Wall Street Journal is all over Boehner — not unlike NPR, they — in making this all about partisan politics in an age of bipartisan negotiations.

    Economics? Forget about it. This is politics, baby, the only reality reality ever had, the bitch.

    Boehner, it seems, has FAILED, FAILED, FAILED in his negotiations; the ones that bear no resemblance to fiscal sanity whatsoever. Ancient floundering NPR bobblehead Diane Rehms surveyed her pressheads this morning to become aghast at the FAILURE to negotiate something, I’m guessing, between a large caliber round to the nation’s head and a few dozen rusty shivs to its gullet.

    Negotiating negotiations are for negotiating, they always say, and insane monetary policy can remain intact out of deference to it.

    Thanks, NPR. And thanks to you too, right wing WSJ, for indicating that once Boehner’s FAILURE to select the method of death does indeed, as I’ve been saying, signal that Bernanke’s daily eight trillion dollar injection into the stock market may indeed not keep the only remaining rigged game in town afloat.

    In Wall Street, DC town, that is.

    Let’s hope somebody negotiates a way to keep that other bastion of vintage American constitutionally republican structuralism alive and thriving, boys, which is hacking DC back down to size and jailing Wall Street’s criminal class.

    For the growth and with it, the Gingerly Emerging Economy what’s Tentatively Recovering From Recession.

    Fuck all these people.

  6. It must be remembered that there is an ideological split between the “news” staff at the WSJ and the editorial crew. The “news” people have always skewed quite to the left, due no doubt to the general run of what comes out of the J-schools. The editorial people are not Obama-philes. The top two editorials today, here, here.

  7. It’s been kinda fun the last couple of days hearing Hewitt go nuclear on Boehner and, last night, demanding that Boehner be replaced.

    His going medieval on John Campbell, an actual friend of his, was a wonder to behold. All of the beltway insiders who supported Plan B spat out some truly odd-sounding justifications with regard to perception and strategy. Hewitt was beside himself trying to explain that NO NO NO that’s NOT what will happen—Obama and the Dems will NOT go along with something that makes the GOP look even remotely good, and the narrative WILL be that the GOP caved and broke their promise.

    “Oh but Grover Nordquist approves of Plan B, so that gives us an ‘out’ on the pledge,” which Hewitt pointed out was beltway solipsism: nobody outside Washington will give a rip what Grover Nordquist said when the tax bill comes due.

    Hewitt has gone Hobbit. :-)

    I doubt it.

    He does this every year: During the legislative session, he blasts GOP congressmen for not sticking to principles and for folding like cheap lawn chairs, but when election time rolls around, he’s Mr. GOP cheerleader all the way, hewing (heh) to the Buckley rule of voting for the most conservative, “electable” candidate, and he’s quick to condemn those who show a little whack-job ankle during campaigns.

    I haven’t heard him call for Boehner’s replacement. As per usual, Hugh knows a lot of these people personally and likes them, and when he likes someone, he’s loath to believe that they do bad things or that they should be removed from their place.

    To this day he hasn’t admitted that John Roberts might be a bad person for what he did, opting to insist that he’s a good man and that his bad decision is utterly baffling.

  8. I’m aware of that, Geoffb, but note that the first of your links I quoted the nonsensical byline from and only the second hints at the core problem.

    With regard to business — or what the ostensible right thinks is free enterprise — that game is just as federalized, rigged, insolvent and doomed as the left’s use of its same underlying structure to fund American socialism. If by fund you mean borrow yourself blind.

    As this shows the single biggest flaw in American journalism is a profound lack of curiosity coupled with an equally profound failure of moral perspective. Add in the Progressive State’s perpetual bullshit generation and what’s really ailing the nation gets no airtime at all.

    Wall Street is dependent for artificial market levels on fake money and internally managed money policy, neither of which are constitutional or without consequence. The WSJ needs to report this.

  9. di

    I haven’t heard him call for Boehner’s replacement.

    Last night he floated two names … Paul Ryan and I can’t remember 2nd. But he said Canter was a no-starter.

    To this day he hasn’t admitted that John Roberts might be a bad person for what he did,

    He’s coming close … someone made a remark about Boehner betraying conservatives like Roberts did because a “deal” was more important, and Hewitt said “good point.”

  10. Oh my Lord! Why didn’t anybody tell me about mini-corndogs before now? They are AWWWWWESOME!

  11. In a parliamentary system, the Plan B rejection would have been considered a vote of no-confidence and the leadership would resign.

  12. In our system (as contemporarily conceived by kindergarteners, no doubt) someone will have to tug at Boehner’s sleeve to get his attention, then quietly explain the miserable position he’s made for himself. Even then, there are no assurances Boehner will grasp the obvious. But who? Why, someone who does grasp the miserable position Boehner has made for himself. And right there is the rub: he doesn’t happen to know or listen to any such persons.

  13. On the plus side Jeff’s video clip sent me on a happy trip back to the 80s. Aldo Nova, Billy Squire, Red Rider – good times man!

    Well placed Goldstein!