TEA PARTY SHOULD EMBRACE FISCAL CLIFF – er, BABY STEP
America faces a Fiscal Cliff in January. Well, no, actually, it doesn’t. In politics, alarmist language – like elections – can have real consequences. Political spin can be deceitful. Shakespeare asked “What’s in a name? A rose is a rose is a rose. That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
This may be thought-provoking and controversial: Yet the Tea Party should embrace the “Fiscal Baby Step” coming on January 1, 2013. Republicans should do absolutely nothing and sit on their hands. One exception: When the next vote comes up to raise the debt limit, Republicans should vote against raising the debt limit. Then just let the consequences fall at the Democrats’ feet.
This vastly-misnamed “Fiscal Cliff” is the Tea Party’s friend. It was a condition we demanded in exchange for raising the debt ceiling in 2011. We insisted on it because conservatives wanted to ensure the national debt will be cut. Congress passed it in the Budget Control Act of 2011 as a fail-safe. The “Fiscal Cliff” was designed as a net under the trapeze artist, in case all other measures fail. Well, all other things did fail on November 6.
It is all we now have left. If we don’t cut the budget deficit, that will be the true fiscal cliff. The automatic 10% budget cuts from the Budget Control Act of 2011 may be our last remaining hope. Yet official Washington is hysterically attempting to avoid cutting the budget.
Next January’s “Fiscal Baby Step” has two parts:
(1) “Sequestration:” The Federal budget will automatically be cut by $110 billion in 2013 – cutting the federal deficit down from this year’s approximately $1.1 TRILLION to $0.9 TRILLION per year.
(2) The Bush tax cuts will expire. The tax increases could theoretically also raise additional tax revenue, but might not
Allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire is very bad public policy. But elections have consequences. Do we want the Bush tax cuts to expire? Absolutely not. But we do not have the ability to implement ideal policies.
So is it worth selling our soul? Most of the Bush tax cuts are as good as dead already, with Obama winning re-election as President, the Democrats controlling the U.S. Senate, and too many Republicans having the willies in their tummies and watery knees.
And more worrisome, Democrats want to extract damaging concessions from Republicans in return for avoiding the Fiscal Baby Step. I would never want a Republican to actually vote to raise those taxes. But now Republicans can simply stand back and do nothing. Refuse to be blackmailed.
Of course, next January’s Fiscal Baby Step is very, very far from a perfect solution. It is a total mess. But allowing it to occur is the best remaining course of action standing from where we find ourselves. In business, it has become a cliché to analyze the “Next Best Alternative.”
All government spending will be indiscriminately cut by 10% — including defense. But what is the alternative? Failing to cut spending is truly going over a fiscal cliff.
Democrats are bluffing and posturing, as those fakers always do, trying to force Republicans to give up the ghost. But it is Democrats who have far more to lose than Republicans.
At midnight, Dec. 31, the payroll tax (Social Security and Medicare) holiday enacted under Obama will expire; emergency unemployment benefits will end, and the automatic spending cuts will cut domestic spending programs with which the Democrats buy votes. The $1,000 child care tax credit for poor parents will drop to $500. The alternative minimum tax which applies to 4 million people today, could ensnare nearly 30 million people, raising their tax bills by an average of $2,700. Keynesians, who believe that government spending drives the economy, predict a recession from lower spending.
But that will be Obama’s recession, and a Republican victory in the US Senate in 2014. In other words, the Democrats have far more to lose than Republicans do.
Would I knowingly choose a bad result for the nation for political gain? Hell no! Never! But we also have to acknowledge when we don’t have the ability to force the country to do what is right. Part of maturity is recognizing your limitations.
But Democrats are better poker players. They bluff. Republicans are atrocious at the political game. And Republicans lack courage.
Our nation’s leaders – chosen by its people – have failed to get our nation’s finances under control. Concerned conservatives search for some hope: What will fix it? Well, that’s why Republicans and Democrats reached a compromise to create the “Fiscal Cliff” in the first place – as insurance that the Federal budget will get cut one way or the other. The Tea Party and Republicans should depend upon it and embrace it – not run from it.
If they give in to blackmail, Republicans will once again destroy their identity and “brand” by adding their names and public support to bad public policy. When the car goes off the cliff, Republicans will have put their agreement and stamp of approval on Obama’s disastrous plans. Instead of being able to point to the Democrats after the crash and say “Don’t vote for them again,” Republicans will be part of the problem and as sch.
So, call the Democrats’ bluff. Don’t make a deal. Let the tax cuts expire.
A GPS unit will recalculate the best path from where you find yourself to where you want to go. You have to know where you are in order to know how to get from here to there.
But won’t Democrats and the media blame Republicans? Of course. But that is a constant. That will always be true no matter what we do. So it is not a relevant variable. If a factor exists, exactly the same, no matter which path you choose, than it is not relevant in deciding between various options.
There is no other way. Conservatives have to learn how to argue public policy in the public arena. There is no way to bob, dodge, or weave our ways out of it. We have to learn to present and explain our positions in persuasive ways.
In Colorado, the Denver Post reports, welfare debit cards are being used for cash withdrawals by the supposedly “poor” at casino’s, strip clubs, etc.. The welfare programs are paying $1 million just in ATM fees alone at casinos, strip clubs, etc. The same experience is found in California, according to the Los Angeles Times, and in Oregon.
If Republicans cannot learn to persuade the public that government spending is out of control, with such an abundance of convincing material, nothing else can save the GOP. I would suggest that Republican operatives should quit and sell insurance. But even that requires making one’s case effectively.