At some point, you have to question whether you have a clue with what is going on in politics. Why are conservatives even a political movement any more?
Who could have imagined, before or after the election, that you would get 85 Republicans voting for a plan that raises taxes on the top 1%, gets rid of the payroll tax, all the while not decreasing but increasing spending?. A deal that adds $4 trillion to the debt over the next decade? Let us be clear: the definition of balance for President Obama is $41 of tax increases for every dollar of spending cuts. And 85 House Republicans agreed. Among them, Speaker Boehner and Rep. Paul Ryan. And that comes after only 7 Republican Senators voted against or abstained on the measure.
So after years of stating that we would accept no taxes unless we get spending cuts first…we are back to raising taxes first, and hope the Democrats deign the concept of spending cuts later. Charlie Brown, meet football.
Some GOP apologists surely will state that this was necessary to avoid the fiscal cliff, and by delaying the sequester by two months and getting taxes off the table, they will be able to leverage spending cuts at the time of the debt limit talks. Who are these people trying to fool? Most likely themselves. Let us review the events of the past two years: So far, the results are as follows: (1) the debt ceiling was raised, (2) the debt continued to soar, (3) the latest McConnell-brokered deal will increase, rather than decrease, the debt, and (4) taxes are about to go up. Is that the track record you are willing to bet on? There is no evidence that the GOP would stand their ground on such a measure, and no reason other than stupidity that the President and Democrats would accept that scenario at all. They will simply replay the events of the last two weeks, until we get into a crisis moment, and then force Speaker Boehner and Sen. McConnell to make another ill-fated last minute deal that supposedly helps them save face. The most likely result? The sequester stays in place, and they give him the debt limit escalation; basically, full surrender.
The irony is that many progressives are unhappy, and think Obama gave away a farm. If there ever were more proof of the delusional nature of the extreme left, it is this. Sure, the top tax rate level went from $250,000 which Obama originally proposed (the top 2%) to $450,000 (the top 1% or so). However, deductions for that group in the 2% also have been cut, so taxes are, in fact, rising on these people. And the continuation of the estate tax rates for those under $5 million will have negligible effect on anything. In fact, if progressives were going to be angry about something, shouldn’t they be more angry about expiration of the payroll tax cut, which means that 77% of American households will pay higher taxes in the coming year? You see little or not complaints about that, which once and for all shows that their concern is not about helping the little guy, but to punish the rich ones.
The reality is we have a small-minded President who prefers tactical victories over grand political change. Barack Obama had the political weight and capital to do something truly grand. He could have pushed for something along the lines of Simpson-Bowles, even if it leaned more liberal, and achieved something that would be remembered for years. Instead, he chose a short term political victory that will do little to help anything, and if anything will hurt our debt crisis and the economy.
For conservatives, there is no upside in this deal. There is nothing positive to take from it. The GOP will get no credit for compromising. The media will spin this as total victory for Obama…and why wouldn’t they? That is a fact. And two months from now, we will be right back here, as Obama surely will ask for more revenue and not real spending cuts, and will claim the GOP is not taking a balanced approach. Heed my words, that is what is coming.
Oh, I know that ultimately I will drift back to the Republican fold. The reality is that there are few if any alternatives. I could be a liberatarian, take the high road and not affect any political change, and claim some kind of moral victory. Or remain a Republican, and have grand victories like yesterday. The ultimate reality is that the Democrats are now solidly in control and soundly and wholly responsible for the economic future of this country and responsible for our debt crisis, and clearly haven’t a clue what they are doing. And the opposition party fiddles as Rome burns.