Less than one month from now, unless Congress does something substantive, taxes will rise for everyone. If that occurs, the economy will suffer another major hit. Economists are worried that history will repeat itself: during the Great Depression, FDR’s policies never really worked, and at the start of his second term, the country fell into a recession within the Depression. Currently, we have a president in FDR’s mold—only worse—whose policies haven’t worked, and now we’re poised to have a recession that has never gone away suddenly get worse.
President Obama says the problem is not enough revenue. I beg to differ. Here’s the proper perspective on the real problem:
You see, there really aren’t enough rich people to make up the difference. You could confiscate all their wealth and not make a serious dent in our fiscal black hole. The problem is spending. Beneath that spending problem is the ideology that constitutional limitations mean nothing.
Of course, Obama talks a good talk. If you listen to him, he’s a real deficit hawk. Is that why he’s added nearly $6 trillion to the national debt? The claim that he’s fiscally responsible is balderdash on its face, but there seems to be no end to the number of people who will fall for his line. He sounds so reasonable when he promises a “balanced” approach to our financial woes. Maybe people would understand him better if they could see a visual representation of what he means:
He and his party are all about bringing everything to the table for the negotiations. But again, their understanding of what that means differs from how the Republicans view it:
Treasury Secretary Geithner last week revealed what the Democrats are bringing to the table: $1.6 trillion in new revenue from tax hikes; a “promise” of $400 billion in savings in entitlement programs, but talks on that will be put off until next year; another stimulus bill, this one in the range of $50 billion; no limit on the debt ceiling—in other words, we can add debt upon debt without ever saying “enough.”
This is a plan? Where’s the compromise? This reminds me of a recurring image I have from my younger years, found in the comics pages of the newspaper:
Here’s another vivid illustration of what the current negotiations look like:
Obama thinks he can get away with this intransigence because he just won reelection, and he’s well practiced in blaming others for any impasse. Conversely, Republicans are not too good at getting out their message that the president and Democrats are the ones holding up the talks. Republicans fear being demagogued to death and having the American people think they’re the ones responsible for pushing us over the cliff.
The big thing Obama has going for him is that he’s not really concerned about the cliff; his ideology comes first: punish the wealthy and carve out more territory for the government to take over.
Obama is already blaming Republicans for wanting to raise taxes on the middle class. He says the only thing stopping the rise is the GOP’s insistence that the wealthy not pay more. In fact, Republicans are already proposing closing loopholes that would add to the taxes the wealthy will pay. And they are the ones who want everyone to keep their lower tax rates. Yet they are being cast as the evil party that wants to take more of your money. This would make an excellent situation comedy.
What should Republicans do? First, get a spine. Second, since they control the House, go ahead and call the president’s bluff. Pass their own bill that will show the American people they favor giving everyone lower tax rates while dealing seriously with the spending mania, particularly with entitlements. Third, learn how to communicate their policies so it will be clear to all but the most deluded Obamaites that the Republican approach is the only way out of our mess.
Put Obama on the defensive for a change. Take control of the message. Time is short.