“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.