Tag Archives: federal spending

“He Said She Said” with Demetrius & Stacy

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  cdnlogoWhen: Wed, Jan 9, 10PM EST/7PM Pacific

Where: Listen here: He Said She Said with Demetrius & Stacy

What: Have you ever wondered what Black Conservatives think about the political issues of today? Well wonder no more, “He Said, She Said” with Demetrius and Stacy. brings you an inner peek into the mind of the conservative: bold, full strength, and unfiltered.

Tonight: Special guest: Rep. Dr. Paul Broun, (@DrPaulBrounMD), Congressman in 10th district of Georgia, and Dean Clancy (@DeanClancy),  Vice President for FreedomWorks.

drpaulbroun deanclancy

Pure Defiance – Prostituting Government

Congress back in session

“Americans just want us to…not to be concerned if they can be constitutionally justified…Why, if we had to do that (follow the rule of our Constitution) we could not pass most of the laws we enact around here.”
– Senator John Glenn, parentheses added

This man in the oval office has brought in the New Year with an onslaught of abusive measures.

For example, he has signed NDAA 2013, a bill that makes a provision to unlawfully detain American citizens indefinitely (as he gives passes to illegal immigrants).

He also advocated emergencies through the engineered fiscal cliff. Senators received the 154-page bill at approximately 1:36 AM on Jan. 1, 2013 – a mere three minutes before they voted to approve it at 1:39 AM. And, yes, they signed it. The House also passed it the following day.

After receiving news of these treacherous violations, I thought it appropriate to ask the American people, where are they deriving their powers?

It is not from the United States Constitution?

The Constitution is a delegated, or expressed powers document. Case in point: the federal government can “only do” what the Constitution says it can, period! We have progressed from delegated, to suggested, to interpreted, to “if it doesn’t say we can’t… we can,” to “I don’t care what it says.”

Many of this administration’s actions have unlawfully and contemptuously defied the Constitution.

Barack Hussein Obama has attacked our military, attempted to force institutions to fund the murder of babies, sued states who passed laws to prevent illegal immigration, fired CEOs of private corporations, and claimed “executive privilege” to cover for his Attorney General in the deadly gun-running sting, “Fast and Furious.”

To further highlight Obama’s defiance, back in 2011 he was held in contempt of court for illegally obstructing oil drilling off shore.

Listen carefully to what federal Judge Martin Feldmen said after he placed the injunction on Obama, as it well explains his overall disdain for America and her laws:

“Each step the government took following the court’s imposition of a preliminary injunction showcases its defiance… Such dismissive conduct … provide this court with clear and convincing evidence of the government’s contempt.”

Friends, he is not speaking of a third world dictator, he is speaking of the president of the United States.

The great wonder of this age is that the American people sit back and allow this administration to defy and to desecrate everything our veterans fought, bled and died to give us – the ratification of the Constitution.

America needs to come back to the place where no longer are they magnifying the crime or the criminals, but rather the law against their crimes unto judgment to establish righteousness, especially when it comes to those who work for “We the People.”

Then and only then will we know the peace that God and our forefathers intended to give unto us through our Mosaic Institution.

Thomas Jefferson rightly stated, “When the representative body have lost the confidence of their constituents, when they have notoriously made sale of their most valuable rights, when they have assumed to themselves powers which the people never put into their hands, then indeed their continuing in office becomes dangerous.”

We have clearly seen that the president, Senate, and House have disregarded the precedents of our forefathers and instead have taken Senator John Glenn’s advice: “Why, if we had to do that (follow the rule of our Constitution) we could not pass most of the laws we enact around here.”

Video:

Obama’s proposed plan on the economy implemented an unprecedented 41:1 ratio of tax increases to spending cuts. The bill passed shortly after Obama prostituted out the government by ordering a pay raise for Congress and other federal officials.

So the question is, who is giving him a pass, and why?

The Lonely Position of Neutral

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I hate raising taxes.  I find high tax rates immoral.  However, we lost the election.  An increase in revenue is inevitable.  What’s perverse about this whole episode is that if we fall off the cliff – Democrats will get everything they want. They’ll get their tax increases, their revenue, and defense cuts.  They would complete their decade-long project of ending the Bush Tax Cuts and gutting of the Pentagon.  They have no incentive to meet us halfway, or negotiate in a meaningful way to make sure the markets don’t tank.  They don’t need to.  They won.  In the meantime, Americans should prepare for the worst.

Since the tax hikes from falling off the cliff are far more severe, I’ve written in previously that Republicans will have to swallow the concept of raising taxes.  However, there is latitude within this debate.  Republicans should press Democrats to increase the tax rate on those making $500,000 a year, instead of $250,000.   As George Will aptly noted on This Week a few months ago, a Chicago school principal with twenty years experience, who is married to a cop with twenty years experience, is almost rich in the eyes of the Obama administration.  Cops and school principals aren’t your typical fat cats, hence this is an area where conservatives on the Hill could construct a narrative that this tax increase – within this particular income bracket – a) isn’t really hitting the rich and b) effects professions associated with the middle class.

There’s been some movement towards pushing the amount of taxable income above the $250,000 bracket, and addressing other areas relating to federal spending.  As Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane at The Washington Post wrote on December 9, continued negotiations have produced the following:

●Fresh tax revenue, generated in part by raising rates on the wealthy, as Obama wants, and in part by limiting their deductions, as Republicans prefer. The top rate could be held below 39.6 percent, or the definition of the wealthy could be shifted to include those making more than $375,000 or $500,000, rather than $250,000 as Obama has proposed.

Obama wants $1.6 trillion over the next decade, but many Democrats privately say they would settle for $1.2 trillion. Boehner has offered $800 billion, and Republicans are eager to keep the final tax figure under $1 trillion, noting that a measure to raise taxes on the rich passed by the Senate this summer would generate only $831 billion.

●Savings from health and retirement programs, a concession from Democrats necessary to sell tax hikes to GOP lawmakers. Obama has proposed $350 billion in health savings over the next decade. Boehner has suggested $600 billion from health programs, and an additional $200 billion from using a stingier measure of inflation, reducing cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients.

●Additional savings sufficient to postpone roughly $100 billion in across-the-board agency cuts set to hit in 2013, known as the sequester, and to match a debt-limit increase. The sequester, perhaps paired with an automatic tax hike, could then serve as a new deadline, probably sometime next fall, for wringing additional revenue from the tax code and more savings from entitlement programs.

I like the fact that liberals are willing to increase the rates on those making $500,000, which we can fix if we retake Congress in the 2014 midterms.  However, concerning the entitlement spending, I want deeper cuts that are also immediate.  Nevertheless, the dynamic is the same – and it’s no love fest.

As Meredith Shiner and Daniel Newhauser of Roll Call wrote in the early morning hours on December 11:

…the primary differences between the two sides remain. Boehner’s office said the speaker is waiting for the White House to come back to Republicans with more spending cuts. And the White House says the president is waiting for the GOP to give more on revenue. Two years of fighting over how to rein in the federal debt is now coming down to two weeks of deal-making at best and he-said/she-said at worst.

“The Republican offer made last week remains the Republican offer, and we continue to wait for the president to identify the spending cuts he’s willing to make as part of the ‘balanced’ approach he promised the American people,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel, who confirmed conversations with the White House “are taking place” but declined to specify the nature of those talks.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One that Obama has offered specifics on cuts — pointing to the president’s original deficit reduction plan that has repeatedly been dismissed by the GOP. Carney added that the Republicans are the ones stalling talks by not giving more detail on what they would be willing to do on revenue.

Frankly, both deals are bad. I’m not happy with either of them.  I know that caving on our principles won’t make liberals like us better.  Yet, as in the 2012 election, it’s all about messaging and making the argument.  Barack Obama pervasively made the argument that Bush ruined the economy, and raising taxes will fix it.  Mitt Romney and his communications team, which was always on defense, never made the argument against this claim. Conservatives don’t have the high ground in this fight.

Montgomery and Kane wrote that “a Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll last week found that a majority of Americans would blame the GOP if talks between Obama and Boehner fail to avert more than $500 billion in automatic tax hikes and spending cuts set to hit in January, potentially sparking a new recession.”  Now, Pew and WaPo are left-leaning polls, but it doesn’t matter. It’s almost axiomatic that the GOP will be savaged by public opinion if we go over the cliff.  While Democrats can take cover under a cloud of legitimacy and have the sober satisfaction that they’ll get what they want anyway, even if Republicans won’t budge on tax increases.

Our movement doesn’t need anymore setbacks right now.  With the debt ceiling, that’s a different debate. But for now, we may have to hold our noses and increase taxes on people making $500,000 or more, which is the only (gulp) compromise Republicans should accept on revenue.  They should also keep pressure on the White House for more immediate cuts to federal spending.  Now, while some, like NYT’s Helene Cooper, say that Obama would own the recession if we fall off the cliff, I’m still dubious if that would happen.  Some said that Obama’s extension of the Bush Tax Cuts in December of 2010 would be an albatross around his neck during his re-election campaign.  It wasn’t.  As I’ve said, I hate raising taxes, but the alternative not to, at this time, could be more damaging than the vote for them.  It should give conservatives more incentive to win in 2014.

Right now, debt talks will probably remain in neutral as the car tumbles towards the jagged rocks below.

In short:

 

Welfare State Advocate Spews Inaccuracies on PBS NewsHour

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The PBS NewHour has yet to invite a hard core conservative on the program to talk about the fiscal cliff.  Last week, they had NYT’s columnist, left-wing economist, and Obama cheerleader – Paul Krugman to detail his view.  Then, they had Sen. Bob Corker ( R-TN), but the December 6 broadcast was the most interesting. PBS invited the Norquist of the left Max Richtman, of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, that we shouldn’t be in a rush to reform our entitlement spending.  After all, when the unfunded liability of both programs is around $100 trillion dollars, what’s the big hurry? Where’s the fire?

Richtman started his argument with semantics and a false narrative.  First, he wants to call these programs ‘earned benefits,’ instead of entitlement programs.  Second, it’s called welfare when the baby boomers’ parents received all of these benefits by paying next to nothing in contributing to the system.   The entire interview beset on a throne of lies.

When the question related to the solvency of Social Security arose, Richtman confidently said that this program doesn’t add a dime to the deficit. As USA Today aptly pointed out on November 27, Social Security ran a deficit of $48 billion last year.

Furthermore, Richtman thinks the American lifespan hasn’t increased.  Therefore, Medicare is safe.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let’s talk about Medicare again for a moment…

MAX RICHTMAN: OK.

JUDY WOODRUFF: … the other large so-called entitlement program.

We heard — we have heard a lot of conversation about raising the eligibility age. We know Americans are living longer. Why isn’t that a reasonable solution? President Obama himself has said that’s something that should be considered.

MAX RICHTMAN: Well, it’s not true that — as you know, not all Americans are living longer.

We might be able to do a program like this for a long time, but there are some jobs that are much harder to continue working and have health care benefits and have those available.

Raising the age for eligibility in Medicare would be particularly hard on communities of color. These are people, for the most part, they tend to have poorer health conditions at an earlier age. They have accumulated less wealth to pay for health care out of their pockets between, let’s say 65 and 67 because of lower lifetime earnings, and they have shorter life spans. So we don’t need to do that. We don’t need to look at reducing benefits, whether it’s by raising the age for eligibility or means-testing the program or charging seniors more.

This is a lie.  And Woodruff made no effort to correct him in this area.  Even John Podesta’s Think Progress and National Public Radio posted stories showing that the elderly Americans are living longer, are healthier, and have increased their chances of living to eighty-five or older.   Pharmacology has increased American life by almost two decades, and it’s rather amusing to see those on the left omit this accomplishment since it chips away at their welfare state narrative.   In terms of a percentage, Americans who are 85 and older represent the fastest growing segment of the population.  Demographics don’t lie, and math, not the reformers of our welfare state, are the enemy.

Now, Richtman says they aren’t against reform.  They’re just against reform right now.  Nothing is more indicative of an organization that prefers to kick the can down the road.  Richtman’s grand plan for reform rests with “improving the efficiencies of the programs, by maybe bringing in some more revenue, [but] not going back to the old mantra of let’s cut, cut, cut.”  Yes, tax increases are the option of choice for liberals for any economic defect.  As for “improving the efficiencies.” I commend Richtman for being purposefully vague.

As Christmas is approaching, there is one item on my list.  Invite Grover Norquist on the PBS NewsHour.

 

AFP-PA presents taxpayer Xmas list, urges PA governor to reject exchange program

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It’s Christmas Winter solstice/holiday time – and Governor Corbett seems tepid to reject the federal-state health care exchange program, which will be instituted under Obamacare.  Mitt Romney implemented a similar program, at the state level, when he was Governor of Massachusetts – which explains why conservatives were unable to make the 2012 election a referendum on Obamcare.  As Grace-Marie Turner at Forbes wrote in her column on December 1o, “at least 21 states have said they definitely or probably will not set up state exchanges, with Ohio, Wisconsin, Maine, Nebraska, South Carolina,Georgia and Indiana most recently joining the opposition.”

Furthermore, concerning American enterprise – and the nation’s socioeconomic fabric as a whole – Turner added:

Businesses: Companies with more than 50 employees are searching for ways to avoid the penalties for not complying with the law’s employer mandate. They must either provide government-approved health insurance or pay a fine of $2,000 for each full-time worker. But companies can escape the fines if they make the painful decision to cut workers to part-time – defined in the law as less than 30 hours a week.

Denny’s franchise owner John Metz of Florida said he would “love to cover all employees” with health insurance, “but to pay $5,000 per employee would cost us $175,000 per restaurant, and unfortunately, most of our restaurants don’t make $175,000 a year. I can’t afford it.”

Religious leaders: The Obama Administration’s decision to force employers to provide access to contraception, abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization at no cost to their employees has prompted 40 lawsuits by Catholic dioceses and other organizations claiming it violates their First Amendment protection of religious liberty.

Although churches themselves are exempt, the mandate applies to religiously affiliated hospitals, colleges, charities and social service agencies. Cardinal Timothy Dolan recently said the Catholic Church will “not obey” the Obama Administration’s HHS mandate, a policy he classified as “immoral.”

In the Keystone state, Jennifer Stefano, State Director for Americans for Prosperity- Pennsylvania, is holding a rally in Harrisburg this week to support the taxpayers and economic freedom. She’ll be presenting a “taxpayer’s Christmas holiday wish list.”

Americans for Prosperity to bring Santa and “Naughty/Nice List” to State Capitol

Hosting Press Conference to Urge Governor Corbett to Reject Health Care Exchange

Washington Crossing, PA— Americans for Prosperity-Pennsylvania (“AFP-PA”) will host a press conference this Thursday, December 13th at the state capitol to urge Governor Corbett to put Pennsylvania on Santa’s “Nice” list. The group is joined by Santa Claus, Representative Gordon Denlinger, doctors, and business leaders who want Governor Corbett to reject a state health care exchange and support other policies that lower the state tax burden.

“Americans for Prosperity is proud to bring Santa Claus to the Capitol to present the ‘Taxpayer’s Christmas wish list’,” explained Jennifer Stefano, state director of Americans for Prosperity. “At the top of that list is for Governor Corbett to announce he will fully reject setting up a state or a joint federal-state health care exchange.”

WHAT: Press conference to urge Governor Corbett to opt out of the state health care exchange.

WHEN: Thursday, December 13, at 10:30am

WHERE: Pennsylvania State Capitol Rotunda

WHO: Representative Gorden Denlinger (R – Ephrata)

Jennifer Stefano – State Director of Americans for Prosperity – Pennsylvania

Leo Knepper – Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania

Nathan Benefield – Commonwealth Foundation

Kirby Sensenig – President of Richard Sensenig Co.

Dave Nace – Wickersham Construction

Anna McCauslin – Manufacturer & Business Association

Dr. James W. McManaway III – Pediatric Ophthalmalogist

Twenty other states have chosen not to establish a state level exchange as provided for in the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). The deadline for the Governor to inform the federal government’s Department of Health and Human Services if Pennsylvania will be establishing an exchange is Friday, December 14, 2012.

Rep. Denlinger submitted a letter in July, which he re-submitted on December 4, 2012, urging Governor Corbett to opt out of the state level exchange as well as the Medicaid provision of the ACA, which this summer’s Supreme Court ruling made optional. Forty-seven (47) other state legislators signed the letter.

Stefano said of the letter, “We thank Rep. Denlinger and the other representatives who have taken a bold stand for the people of Pennsylvania.  They join a growing number of Governors and state legislators across America who are standing up for working families and small business owners this Christmas season.”

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Jennifer Stefano at [email protected] or call 610-207-7901.

Speaker Boehner – What Are You Doing Up There?

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Is it revenge of the squishy Republicans?  It sure isn’t the reaffirmation of conservatism within the Republican Party.  On December 4, Matthew Boyle at Breitbart reported that the House GOP had begun purging conservatives from various committees.  In a time when Republicans need strong, principled conservatives to thwart the aggressive expansion of the state under Obama, Speaker Boehner and company inanely decide that they’re the problem.  Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.  Squishy Republicans are part of the problem.  President and CEO of FreedomWorks Matt Kibbe aptly said at BlogCon Charlotte last spring that sometimes “you need to beat the Republicans before you can beat the Democrats.”

Kibbe made the same statement at a Young Republican event in Franklin County, PA in February of 2012.  It’s a saying that’s starting to become axiomatic, especially as these debt negotiations continue to have a repetitious character of a bad deal being countered by a delusional one.  The first salvo was fired at Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) on December 3 when “Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other top Republicans were huddled in a Steering Committee meeting… that panel, which is controlled in large part by Boehner, decides who sits on the various House committees,” according to John Bresnahan Jake Sherman of Politico.

Sherman and Bresnahan added that ” Schweikert — who was en route from Arizona to Capitol Hill on Monday — will now serve on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) will replace Schweikert on the Financial Services Committee. Michael Steel, a Boehner spokesman, said a member’s voting record isn’t the sole determinant of his or her committee assignments. ‘The Steering Committee makes decisions based on a range of factors,’ Steel said” – or ones grounded in a purge list. Boyle wrote that:

in remarks to the Heritage Foundation’s Bloggers Briefing on Tuesday [Dec. 4], Kansas Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp confirmed the existence of such a list. “We’ve heard from multiple sources that someone walked in with a list of votes and said if you didn’t reach a particular scorecard of what was considered the right vote – which by the way, in most cases, was not the conservative position – then [they said] ‘we’re going to have to remove you from the committee,’” Huelskamp said.

“All that took place behind closed doors, which is again a problem with Washington, D.C. – whether it’s the budget negotiations, whether it’s everything else, it’s usually done behind closed doors,” he explained. “I think, as conservatives, this is where we can win: We’ve got to be willing and able to talk about things in public instead of being afraid of actual public scrutiny.”

Huelskamp later told Breitbart News he thinks House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and Whip Kevin McCarthy owe it to the American people to be transparent about this decision making process – and that they should publicly release the list.

Breitbart’s Boyle noted that the criteria within the list is unknown.  And the name of the person who initiated the purge is unknown. FreedomWorks has been urging conservatives to demand answers from Speaker Boehner.

In the final days before the start of a new Congress, John Boehner and the Republican establishment is quietly purging crucial House committees of strong fiscal conservatives, including:

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (KS) – House Budget Committee (96% FreedomWorks Lifetime Rating)

Rep. Justin Amash (MI) – House Budget Committee (100% FreedomWorks Lifetime Rating)

Rep. David Schweikert (AZ) – House Financial Services (96% FreedomWorks Lifetime Rating)

These three principled legislators have stood with the Constitution even when it was unpopular to do so. Their dedication to the principles of lower taxes and limited government is now being punished by a Speaker who would rather concede to the big spenders in Congress instead of making the tough choices.

Call John Boehner and tell him to restore these genuine fiscal conservatives to their respective committees.

Call House Speaker John Boehner Now

Office Phone Number: (202) 225-0600

Amanda Terkel at Huffington Post wrote the conservative butcher’s bill on December 4 listing:

Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) from the House Budget Commtitee. Reps. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.) [who] lost their positions on the Financial Services Committee.

The four members are known for occasionally bucking leadership and voting against Boehner’s wishes. Amash, Huelskamp and Schweikert are popular with the conservative movement, while Jones has made a name for himself by speaking out against U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.

Huelskamp and Amash were also the only GOP votes against Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget plan this year, arguing that it didn’t cut spending enough. The Steering Committee recently recommended that Ryan stay on as Budget Committee chairman.

Luckily, the Senate is safe from Boehner’s reach.  At least principled conservatives, like Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), remain in a blocking position.  Chris Moody of The Ticket, which reports on politics for Yahoo! News, wrote yesterday that Sen. DeMint “slammed House Republican leaders for the “fiscal cliff” proposal they offered earlier this week.”

“Speaker [John] Boehner’s $800 billion tax hike will destroy American jobs and allow politicians in Washington to spend even more, while not reducing our $16 trillion debt by a single penny,” DeMint said in a statement. “This isn’t rocket science. Everyone knows that when you take money out of the economy, it destroys jobs, and everyone knows that when you give politicians more money, they spend it. This is why Republicans must oppose tax increases and insist on real spending reductions that shrink the size of government and allow Americans to keep more of their hard-earned money.”

I know I’ve said I’ll stomach slight tax hikes for now, but it seems Democrats aren’t going to budge on their end relating to families making more than $250,000 a year.  In fact, Moody wrote “Democrats dismissed it quickly, calling for a bill that would increase taxes on households earning more than $250,000 per year and more federal spending on infrastructure, which were not included in the Republican plan.”

While caving for tax hikes is one thing, purging conservatives in various House committees is another.  It’s simply irrational for Speaker Boehner to rid himself of the most vociferous defenders of freedom and limited government in Congress.  Conservatives are the vanguards against the usurpatory nature of government, and the implementation of a hyper-regulatory progressive state.  Does any rational person feel that a squishy Republican will exude the same amount of tenacity and steadfastness exhibited by a conservative?  No, they’ll cave, Democrats will gain ground, and the American taxpayer will pay for it.

Republicans can play with who is saddled with the tax hikes, and as I’ve said previously, a slight hike on anyone making over $1 million isn’t insane. But the spending cuts that follow need to be deep and enacted immediately.  Furthermore, most of those cuts need to be focused on curbing the welfare state.  However, with the climate becoming more toxic and Republican moderates declaring war on the conservative wing of the party – I’m starting to lean towards being more intransigent towards tax hikes.  If Democrats won’t come halfway, then we shouldn’t indulge them.

Nevertheless, Speaker Boehner seems to be making it all the more easier for Democrats to expand the size and scope of government.  What are your doing up there, Speaker Boehner?

Originally posted on The Young Cons.

 

 

A “Quick and Dirty” Look at Obama’s Tax The Rich Plan

I couldn’t resist. I saw the following article and I just had to write about it: http://money.cnn.com/2012/11/14/news/economy/obama-taxes-deficit/index.html?hpt=hp_t3 

Yes, I know that in the post-2012 election era, my blog will naturally pivot to more philosophical writings, but some economic analyses will come up here and there. This is an example of one of these economic analyses.

As many readers of my blog know, rarely would I conduct an analysis on a simple article such as the one listed above. Usually, as seen in this previous analysis, I prefer digging deeper and analyzing primary-source data… usually involving IRS data tables, OMB information, or anything of the like. Since this is a simple analysis of the second-hand information discussed in an article, it is officially a “quick and dirty” look.

The CNN Money article talks about Obama’s hard-line plan on raising taxes on the wealthy. At the bottom, it goes on to list the various increases in revenue for each tax-raising move. Keep in mind, these revenue figures summed up over a period of 10 years. They are:

- Letting the Bush-Era Tax Cuts Expire for High-Income Earners: $1 trillion in revenue raised over the next decade

– Limiting Tax Breaks (and, I’ll assume deductions): $500 billion in revenue raised over the next decade

– Increase Carried Interest Tax Rates: $13.5 billion in revenue raised over the next decade

– Imposed the Millionaire Minimum Tax (the “Buffett Rule”): $47 billion in revenue raised over the next decade

– Enact Business Tax Proposals: Though not explicitly clear, this would raise $240 billion in revenue raised over the next decade

Now, using simple math, these five main tax increases raise $1.8 trillion in revenues over the next decade. If divided equally over 10 years, that’s $180 billion per year. To put this in contrast, the budget deficit for Obama’s 2013 budget is between $909 billion and $1.1 trillion, depending on whose estimate you’re looking at. For conservative numbers sake, we will use the $909 billion value, and we can see that by enacting ALL the tax hikes Obama wants, he would be shrinking the 2013 budget deficit by a very small amount. In 2013, should all these tax increases work like Obama has said they would, our government would still have a $729 billion deficit. Basically, as stated numerous times throughout this blog, increasing taxes on the wealthy does very little to close the deficit. While it does have a small benefit with respect to direct revenue increases, the negative effects of increased expenses on job creators and small business owners will hurt employees’ pockets, ultimately slowing down the economy further.

There is another part of this proposal Obama has promised: spending cuts. So far, I’ve only looked at the revenue side of this plan. It’s time to look at the spending cut side. Examining the CNN article, Obama claims he will cut $4 trillion from the federal budget over 10 years. This is obviously an average savings of $400 billion per year.

Let’s now take a look as to how this all plays out. The following figures are simple linearly-extrapolated numbers based on the conditions we know currently exist in the 2013 budget:

For 2013 – Government expenditures: $3.808 trillion / Government revenues: $2.902 trillion.

According to Obama’s $400 billion per year spending cut savings, let’s assume the government will then spend about $3.4 trillion per year over the next 10 years (granted this is difficult to predict since entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare are expected to rise in cost due to the aging population). Let’s also assume that the government, based on the $180 billion per year increase in tax revenue, will take in $3.083 trillion per year over the next 10 years. The budget situation would look something like this (all dollar figures are in trillions of dollars):


*Based on current budget estimates

Again, it must be stated that assuming expenditures and revenues stay the the same year after year is a tough sell, but, being that all this discussion centers on estimated spending cut savings and estimated revenue increases, it’s semi-safe to say that this chart displays a good approximation of average values. Notice that even with $400 billion per year in spending cut savings factored in with $180 billion per year in additional revenues, significant deficits remain, and more importantly, the total national debt still balloons to over $19 trillion in 10 years. Unfortunately, as the population ages, expenditures are going to rise, and as the economy declines further because of exogenous forces like slow economic growth worldwide and endogenous forces like business-stifling tax increases, revenues are going to shrink. This chart shows very optimistic scenarios, and realistically, it’s doubtful that if passed as Obama wants it, this spending cut and tax increase plan will produce deficits smaller in size than the ones shown here.

In short, though this is a “quick and dirty” look at Obama’s budget plan proposal, it leads me back to the original conclusion: increasing taxes will do little to help our budget, and spending decreases via entitlement reform are really the budgetary remedy this country needs. If nothing is done soon, as time goes on, our entitlement spending will swallow us further into the black hole of debt oblivion.

To view the original post and see its follow-up comments, visit The Elephant in the Room: http://loudmouthelephant.blogspot.com/2012/11/a-quick-and-dirty-look-at-obamas-tax.html

Fear Thy Primary

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Sen. Saxby Chambliss has decided to part company with Grover Norquist.  In so doing, he invites a primary challenge.  Representatives Paul Broun, Tom Price, and former secretary of state Karen Handel have all been maneuvering to oust Chambliss from his Senate seat in 2014.

Joshua Miller at CQ Roll Call reported on November 19 that conservatives just aren’t happy with Chambliss. Debbie Dooley, national coordinator of Tea Party Patriots, did not equivocate: “Senator Chambliss is not very popular among a lot of the conservative grass roots.”

Conservatives “don’t feel he’s as conservative as the base is,” said Virginia Galloway, the state director for the Georgia branch of Americans for Prosperity. “Sometimes when he sees himself being a statesman, conservatives see him as being a sellout.”

CQ roll call continued:

The crux of the base’s concern is Chambliss’ history of reaching across the aisle to work on solutions to issues such as immigration and federal debt. Another thing that rankled some of the base: his involvement in the bipartisan effort to come up with a solution to the debt ceiling crisis as part of the “gang of six.”

Chambliss will almost certainly have a primary challenger from the right. But over the next months, the decisive factor in determining his true vulnerability is whether a GOP congress member will run or whether Chambliss will face off against a less-formidable challenger.

Heck, even conservative blogger Erick Erickson considered challenging Chambliss, but decided to take a pass last week. Aaron Blake at The Washington Post listed four reasons why Chambliss is a vulnerable incumbent on November 30.

1. While it’s not clear who might have the wherewithal to challenge Graham, there are plenty of candidates ready to challenge Chambliss. Price and Broun both have very conservative records, and Handel, of course, has a statewide resume.

2. Chambliss had a weak showing in 2008. Despite being an incumbent, he ran a few points behind Sen. John McCarin (R-Ariz.) at the top of the ticket and actually needed to go to a runoff to keep his seat against Democrat Jim Martin, who wasn’t seen as a top-tier opponent. (Chambliss did beat Martin by double-digits in the runoff, for what it’s worth.)

3. He’s from South Georgia. Chambliss is from Moultrie, which is very far from Atlanta and from most of the state’s population centers. Thus, it seems logical that a candidate from the Atlanta area could beat him by regionalizing the race.

4. He’s got a tone problem. While Chambliss has got a largely conservative record, he’s hardly a conservative favorite. In fact, when it comes to the National Journal vote ratings, Chambliss has scored more conservative than Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) the last two years, and he was tied for the most conservative senator in 2010.

While I’m not so up in arms about him filing a petition for divorce from Grover Norquist, the reality that Chambliss unpalatable to the conservative grassroots is a problem.  The power of the incumbent is omnipresent in elections; but if he, or she, finds that their relationship with the grassroots is shaky – then they should either update their resumes or quickly get cozy with them.

Money is a powerful asset, but former Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN) outspent his Republican challenger, Richard Mourdock, by a 3-to-1 margin and still lost the primary.  In fact, Lugar was shellacked.  This is what happens to representatives that anger or become disconnected with grassroots organizations.

Mr. Chambliss isn’t a conservative favorite. But to say that his conservatism poses a liability, as stated by Blake, is wrong.  Republicans should primary each other based on that notion.  However, if they have a history of selling out, or working too closely with the other side, then by all means initiate the purge.  We have an American party and a European one.  Bipartisanship is very overrated under these circumstances.

Obama, GOP Throw Their Dogs In The Ring

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I’m sure a lot of you exuded similar reactions to the president’s laughable fiscal proposal to prevent the nation from going over the cliff.  He asked for $50 billion in additional stimulus and $1.6 trillion in tax hikes “as part of any ‘fiscal cliff’ deal,” according to CNBC.  In all:

The plan calls for $1.6 trillion in new tax revenue over the coming decade, extending the 2 percentage point payroll tax deduction or something comparable to it, and $50 billion in stimulus spending on infrastructure projects.

The White House seeks $960 billion over the coming decade by increasing tax rates and taxes on investment income on upper-bracket earners, and $600 billion in additional taxes.

The only new spending cuts in the plan would come from administration proposals curbing health-care programs by $400 billion over the coming decade and modest cuts from non-health programs like farm subsidies and cutting Postal Service costs and through higher fees on airline tickets.

The plan would also boost spending by extending unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless, deferring looming cuts to Medicare payments to physicians, and helping homeowners refinance “underwater” mortgages.

Geithner also requested the equivalent of a permanent extension of the government’s borrowing ability to avoid wrangling over the issue as in last year’s summertime crisis over raising the so-called debt limit.

Tax increases, more stimulus, and a black check on raising the debt limit.  Yeah, hell no.  It never ceases to amaze me how the president seems to forget that his mandate, if he had one, is a hollow shell.  Obama was re-elected by the 47%, who don’t pay federal taxes, while most of the Tea Party caucus in the House were re-elected as well.  Thus, the tax hike fire Obama stoked on the campaign trail was tempered by the fact that the American people re-elected a vociferously anti-tax Republican majority.  According to The Hill, they reported on December 3 that the Republican counteroffer included “$2.2 trillion [in cuts] with a combination of spending cuts, entitlement reforms and $800 billion in new tax revenue.”  Both dogs are in the ring.

Republican officials said their offer amounted to $4.6 trillion in deficit reduction when compared directly to the White House offer, which they emphasized was more than what the White House had put on the table.

In its own deficit plan, the White House counts legislation that has already been enacted, savings from future interest on the debt, and savings from the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Republicans do not count those as new savings, so their offer amounts to $2.2 trillion in future deficit reduction.

The $800 billion in new tax revenue matches what Boehner offered Obama during their 2011 negotiations for a grand bargain. Republicans are keeping to their opposition to tax rate increases, and aides said Monday they believe that $800 billion can be raised from the wealthy through other means, which their offer does not specify.

Senior Republican aides argued that their offer represented a “fair middle ground” because unlike the White House, they did not use their budget proposal as their opening bid. The House budget contains no revenue increases and included far-reaching changes to Medicare and Medicaid that Democrats consider non-starters.

So, there we have it.  We have two deals.  One is bad. The other is delusional.  Concerning Medicare, we all know that the program poses the most serious threat to our long term financial solvency.  As ABC’s Cokie Roberts said on This Week last Sunday, the nation lacks an appropriate amount of young people to keep the elderly on these programs at the current rate.  Alas, a liberal agrees that Mr. Arithmetic, not Mr. Ryan – or Mr. Republican – is the enemy of Medicare.  However, forty-two liberal members of the House have signed on to a bill that prohibits any spending cuts  to the welfare state.  It’s a game of give and take, as well all know – and I’m hoping a deal be finalized before December 31.  Furthermore, I’m hoping more Democrats see the way of Cokie Roberts when it comes to entitlement spending.

Glenn Reynolds (aka Instapundit), had a few suggestions for the GOP in his op-ed column featured in USA Today on December 3.

1. Adopt the Bowles-Simpson Plan. The plan was the product of a bipartisan commission, chaired by Democrat Erskine Bowles and Republican Alan Simpson, appointed by President Obama to address America’s ballooning deficits and national debt. Most experts agree that it’s a pretty good plan. President Obama didn’t like it because it shrinks government too much.

Tough. It’s a plan, which is more than President Obama has offered, and from a bipartisan commission he appointed. Can Obama get away with vetoing that? Can Senate Democrats get away with rejecting it and bringing on the automatic cuts and tax increases of the sequester? Doubtful. Plus, though the press tends to cover for Obama and blame Republicans, media types love Bipartisan Commissions.

2. Tax the revolving door. I mentioned earlier that Washington is getting richer while the rest of the country gets poorer. (And others are noticing this). One reason why this happens is the revolving door — people shuttle between government, where they make rules governing business, and lobbying, where they make money by taking advantage of those rules.

Well, if you want less of something, tax it. So I recommend a 50% “excess salary” surtax on the earnings of government officials on the Executive Schedule — cabinet and subcabinet officials, mostly — in excess of their government salaries for the first five years after they leave. So, leave a cabinet job paying about $200,000 for a job paying $1 million a year, and the government will take half the $800,000 difference.

[…]

3. Make Hollywood Pay Its Fair Share. At the DNC, actress Eva Longoria offered to pay more taxes. Well, back during that Eisenhower era that the Dems are so nostalgic for, there was a 20% excise tax on movie theater revenues. It was established to help pay off the post-World War II debt. Now we’re in debt again. Bring it back. For added fun, extend it to DVD sales, movie downloads and music on CDs and over the Internet. As a great man once said, at some point, you’ve made enough money. If we need more tax revenue, who better to pay it than Hollywood fatcats with their swimming pools and private jets?

In the meantime, the clock is ticking.

Republicans Will Have to Swallow Tax Hikes

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As I’ve said previously, I hate tax increases, but I’ll settle if a 10:1 deal is reached.  Ten dollars of spending cuts, including welfare state cuts, for every one dollar raised in revenue.  It’s a rational deal.  If we can retake the Senate, and maintain our majority in the House; then perhaps we can discuss making other changes more palatable for the job creating and investing class.  However, in this brief time where I am open to such compromise, the chances of such a deal is unlikely.  But I’m still holding an optimistic grin.

Yes, Democrats will get what they want of we go off the cliff – and Republicans will be blamed for it. Joel Pollak at Breitbart described how Republicans were failing ‘negotiation 101.’  In his November 27 post, he wrote that Republicans need to focus on:

Framing the debate. The negotiations are now about the meaning of “revenue,” rather than about how to reduce runaway federal spending. President Obama says “revenue” and means increases in tax rates for the wealthy; when House Speaker John Boehner uses the same term, he means cutting loopholes and deductions while keeping rates the same. But both sides are talking about making the rich pay more to close the gap.

Aside from the fact that the wealthiest Americans bear a disproportionate share of the federal income tax burden–disproportionate even to their disproportionate wealth–and the fact that taxing the rich at a 100% rate would not solve the deficit and debt problem, there is a principle at stake here: that the government does not have an inherent claim to wealth and income that Americans have earned through their own labor and risk.

Arguably, the wealthy–like the rest of us–owe only for what provides the opportunity for all to earn and enjoy income in safety. Furthermore, too much of today’s public spending hurts the public–creating waste, reinforcing cronyism, and building dependency. But Republicans lost the chance to frame the debate around spending last year when they dropped the “Cut, Cap, and Balance” plan after obstruction from the Democratic Senate.

It’s true.  The job creating and investing class pay a disproportionate share of the taxes, but Mitt Romney lost.  President Obama campaigned heavily on raising taxes on the wealthy, and he won that argument on November 6.  This was due to Republicans not making the argument against such hikes.  Furthermore, there wasn’t even a single ad in the ’12 cycle that hit Obama on his hypocrisy surrounding the Bush tax cuts.  He extended them in December of 2010, which was a tacit agreement of Republican economic policies, regardless of the ‘hostage’ talk – which was pure drivel. I agree with Pollak that the government is taxing too much of Americans’ hard-earned money, and that it’s immoral for members to say that those monies are government property, but there was an election about this – and we lost.

In short, the reason why Republicans will be forced to raise taxes is due to the fact that we have poor leadership and bad messaging.

Media and culture. Democrats blocked “Cut, Cap, and Balance”–but the Tea Party was blamed for obstructionism. Obama destroyed a grand bargain by insisting on increased tax rates–but House Republicans suffered more media criticism when ratings agencies lowered the U.S. credit rating a few days later. Today, more Americans blame the GOP for the fiscal cliff impasse even though the sequester was Obama’s original proposal.

More is at work here than simple media bias. The Democrats have consciously pursued a media and cultural strategy to reinforce the idea that Republicans are the guardians of the rich–even though the wealthiest are actually a Democratic constituency. In the summer and early fall of 2011, for example, after the downgrade and with the economy creating net zero jobs, Occupy Wall Street began–and the Democrats latched on.

The movement failed, but Democrats salvaged the “99% vs. 1% meme,” setting a trap that Mitt Romney fell into with his comments about the “47 percent” last spring. Obama has also made the effect of spending cuts visceral for many Americans; Republicans have failed to describe the cost of debt in similar terms. That media and cultural edge allows Obama to rig the game in his favor. It’s time Republicans found an answer.

Here is the answer is simple.  It’s time to have a Reagan throwback.  Not necessarily on everything during the Reagan administration, but reconnecting with  middle class Americans.  Conservatives and Reaganites were a coalition of blue collar, middle class, ordinary, and right-of-center Americans – who took a liking to a lot of Republican policies.  For example, it explains the Arkansas bleeding of Democratic voters until Bill Clinton came into the picture.

Shifting away from Wall Street will also have a positive impact on our Hispanic outreach, since Latinos view Republicans as the party of the rich.  Yes, it’s an incorrect assumption, but it’s not to say that we can do better with the folks in the American middle class.  It’s time to challenge Democrats’ core constituency.  I’m not saying we should be anti-wealthy, or engage in class warfare, but we need to find candidates who are popular both on ‘main street’ and ‘Wall Street.’  Let’s face it.  Wall Street isn’t, and shouldn’t, come off scott-free from the ’08 financial meltdown.  On the other hand, they didn’t deserve Dodd-Frank either.

Coming back to the fiscal cliff, Republicans should insist on entitlement cuts.  After all, the president agrees with this position as well.  It’s also put him at odds with his fellow party members – forty-two of which signed on to a deal that called for zero cuts to the welfare state.  Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), in Napoleonic stature, has found her Waterloo by leading a coalition of cliff jumpers in the U.S. Senate.  To counter this, Republicans may have to take flak from the base by insisting that tax rates only rise for millionaires.  There is a winnable argument to be made that $250,000 isn’t rich when all of the mitigating elements are factored in, such as location, utilities, property taxes, state income taxes, sales tax etc.  For example, urban residents making this kind of money, and they should be congratulated on it, don’t feel rich once all the bills are paid – and they’re right.  The GOP has a winning narrative in this period between elections.

On the other hand, they can fight to keep the 2% cut in payroll taxes.  James C. Capretta wrote in National Review on November 27 that “this tax cut lowered the Social Security payroll tax from about 12 to 10 percent on all earned income (up to a limit of just over $100,000 annually). In January, if the cut is not extended, all 155 million American workers will see this two-percentage-point hike in their taxes. The Obama administration is ready to let it expire because it fears a long-term cut might create pressure for additional Social Security reform — which is precisely why the GOP should support keeping payroll taxes, as well as income taxes, as low as possible.”

Concerning entitlement reform, Capretta added that:

There should be no deal on long-term taxes without far-reaching reforms to health-entitlement programs. And what’s far-reaching? For starters, the entirety of Obamacare should be on the table for revision and retrenchment. The law sets in motion the largest entitlement expansion in a generation. It’s far better to scale the program back now before it gets started than to wait and hope it can be scaled back later.

Republican governors have substantial leverage in these negotiations because they can opt out of the Medicaid expansion in Obamacare, thanks to the Supreme Court. If 25 or so Republican governors refuse to put more people into an unreformed Medicaid program, it will put tremendous pressure on the Obama administration, which is desperate to see the Medicaid expansion occur during the president’s second term. The congressional GOP should use this leverage to move Medicaid toward fixed financing and maximum state flexibility.

Most importantly, if there are any cuts, they need to be immediate.  Conservatives stress this because in such fiscal deals during the Reagan and Bush 41 days, they were promised –  but never implemented.  While those on the left, like Matt Yglesias, think a grand bargain is impossible, and negotiations towards one is hurting the country.

Jennifer Stefano, PA State Director for Americans for Prosperity, stated in a news release on November 20 that she thinks:

 …it is funny people are criticizing the president for being abroad in Asia during this crisis. The President can be abroad in Asia and do exactly what he has been doing in the White House; which is absolutely nothing to prevent the economic calamity that will come on all Americans because of his fiscal policies..at the end of the day there are issues.  And on the issues there are things that are right and there are things that are wrong.  President Obama’s tax hikes are going to continue to crucify small businesses in this country… along with Obamacare, it is a crushing blow to the entrepreneurial spirit and as well as to the bottom line.

Matt Kibbe, President and CEO of FreedomWorks, aptly noted in Forbes on November 29 that such reforms to get our fiscal house in order will take more time, and that Congress should extend all the tax cuts for one more year.  This would provide a buffer from the cliff, and give representatives the necessary cushion to come up with a comprehensive long terms plan to tackle our debt and deficit.

This is why FreedomWorks has activated its grassroots members to call Congress with a two-part message. 1) Keep your promise on the sequester savings. 2) Pass a one-year extension of all current tax rates, so America has time to pass serious tax and entitlement reforms.

By the way, there is some good news hiding in all the dust of the “fiscal cliff” fracas. The coalition of committed fiscal conservatives in Congress has grown in the past two elections. Constitutional conservatives in the House held on to the historic gains of 2010, while the Senate just picked up three principled fiscal conservatives in Ted Cruz, Jeff Flake, and Deb Fischer to replace GOP establishment types Kay Bailey Hutchison, Jon Kyl, and Olympia Snowe.

This new generation of legislative entrepreneurs is re-populating Washington with innovative energy. Expect these principled leaders to put real specifics on the table, craft thoughtful budget solutions, and carve pathways to needed tax and entitlement reforms next year – all things Senate Democrats haven’t seen fit to do for the past 3 years.

Fiscal conservatives are once again at the table, but we won’t bargain with ourselves against an arbitrary deadline. Your move, Harry Reid.

Extending the tax cuts for one more year – I’m for it! However, there’s a fat chance that will happen.  Reid, Pelosi, and liberal Democrats won’t back a deal with such extensions.  As I’ve said, politically, Republicans have little to stand on without getting blasted by the media, and the American people.  We need to stand our ground with the spending cuts for sure.  No compromise there, but concerning taxes – they’ll have to go up.  It’s time to face reality for now.  Come 2014, hopefully, we’ll have a comprehensive tax reduction and reform plan that is palatable to everyone, and we can return to a sense of fiscal sanity.

“He Said She Said” with Demetrius & Stacy

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 When: Wed, Nov 28, 10PM EST/7PM Pacific

What: Have you ever wondered what Black Conservatives think about the political issues of today? Well wonder no more, “He Said, She Said” with Demetrius and Stacy. brings you an inner peek into the mind of the conservative, bold, full strength, and unfiltered.

Tonight: Special guests: Rep. Tom Price (@RepTomPrice), chairman of House GOP Policy Committee and Bethany Bowra (@BethanyBowra), Founder of NextGenerationVoters, and blogger at Smart Girl Politics and RedState.com


How Falling Off The Fiscal Cliff Impacts You

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I’ll say it again, Democrats want to go off the fiscal cliff.  They’ll get their tax increases – $600 billion dollars worth– their revenue increases, and cuts to defense, which has been a goal of theirs for the past ten years.  Goodbye Bush tax cuts, Hello Obama tax hikes.  With the fledgling coalition of ‘cliff jumpers’ led by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), let’s see how the impact will affect us who aren’t on Capitol Hill.

According to Paul Katzeff at Investors Business Daily, he wrote on November 16 that ending the Bush tax cuts will also be detrimental to the middle class.  Contrary to popular belief, the Bush tax cuts has beneficial mechanisms, like credits for lower income households and reductions to the marriage penalty, all of which help the middle class.  While conservatives know this, it’s hard to break the deafening noise of the liberal media.

Katzeff added:

The typical American family will be hit with an extra $3,222 in taxes, the [Tax] Foundation says. That’s based on a two-child family with median income of $74,563. The tax increase will amount to 4.32% of that family’s income. The Foundation’s analysis compares that family’s tax bill in 2011 — the latest year that an AMT patch existed — to what it would be in 2013, assuming all Bush and Obama tax cuts expire, the AMT remains unfixed and the 2% payroll tax cut also expires. The AMT keeps hitting more middle-income taxpayers because the standard deduction and certain itemized deductions such as state and local taxes do not reduce its bite. Also, its exemption does not grow automatically with inflation.

Families in high-individual-income states such as New Jersey would be hit hard by currently slated AMT changes. The AMT exemption level would revert to what it was 12 years ago: $45,000 for married joint filers vs. $74,450 in 2011. And credits such as the child tax credit would no longer be allowed to offset AMT liability.

But, contrary to political conventional wisdom, families in lower-income states, like Arkansas, would also take an outsized hit. That’s because three tax cuts that everyone will lose — the cut in the child tax credit, end of the 10% bracket and reduced standard deduction for married filers — are fixed increases that do not hinge on income. As a percentage of income, those increases will be biggest for lower-income families.

New Jersey is set to take the largest blow, with a looming tax increase on the typical family totaling $6,933.

As more Republicans flee Grover Norquist, Founder of Americans for Tax Reform, and his anti-tax pledge – it’s a forgone conclusion that revenue increases will occur IF there is a deal.  However, Republicans should ask themselves why swallow such a demand when it’s been over 1300 days since the Democratic Congress has passed a budget.  It’s not logical or moral for Republicans to cave to the soulless, rotten liberal cadre of robbers this easily during the negotiations.

The only acceptable outcome, which I would still be unhappy with, is a deal that calls for at least eight dollars in spending cuts for every new dollar in revenues.  The ten-to-one deal is even more “palatable.”  I hate tax increases – but the outcome of the election will make it hard for conservatives to hold their ground.  Yes, the Tea Party Caucus was re-elected, with the exception of a couple of members, and Obama was re-elected by the 47% who don’t pay taxes, so there isn’t a mandate – but the clock is ticking.

Concerning revenue, Republicans should push to raise the rates on those making $500,000 or more.  I’m not a fan of Warren Buffett at all – but his plan to increase the rates on the incomes of those people is reasonable for now.

  • First, he only calls for raising taxes on Americans earning more than $500,000 a year, not the $250,000 that President Obama is focused on. Families who earn $250,000 and live in major cities justifiably point out that this salary does not leave them feeling “rich.” So, raising the definition of rich would go a long way toward making these tax hikes more palatable.
  • Next, he calls for a minimum 30% tax on Americans making $1 million to $10 million or more, regardless of how this income is generated. One of the most egregious elements of the tax code is that some of America’s highest earners pay much lower tax rates than average earners, because they generate their income from capital gains or dividends or have figured out how to shelter it by taking advantage of various loopholes. This tax would ensure that most income is treated the same way.

Americans living in urban areas, with rent and other utilities, see their $250,000 income dwindle rapidly, and don’t feel rich.  They’re right.  As George Will aptly noted, a Chicago school superintendent with twenty years experience, who is married to a police captain with twenty years experience is almost rich within the tax increase parameters of the Obama administration.

As I’ve said, I hate raising taxes, but we cannot be the party that is blamed for going off the cliff.  Democrats have planted their flag on the side of willingly going off.  That’s perverse, and wrong.  Let’s be the party that said NO!  We’re the part of no.  We don’t want to cut defense by the hundreds of billions.  We don’t want $600 billion in tax increases for the American taxpayer.  We have an opportunity to blunt the trauma of falling off the cliff.

However, I also understand the political ramifications if we do have a deal – and history hasn’t been to kind to us.  John Fund wrote today in National Review that:

many old Washington hands recall that Republicans agreed on tax-increase-for-spending-cuts deals in 1982 under Ronald Reagan and in 1990 under George H. W. Bush. These deals politically damaged the party in the short run, and they also proved to be bad policy. The 1982 budget deal, which promised seven dollars in spending cuts for every three dollars in tax increases, was never honored. Congress agreed to less than 27 cents in spending cuts for every dollar of tax increases, and President Reagan came to bitterly regret his decision to approve the deal. Ed Meese, Reagan’s senior counselor at the time and later his attorney general, recalls that the 1982 deal ‘was the worst domestic-policy mistake of the Reagan administration.’

So, this time Republicans must insist the cuts be enacted immediately.  Furthermore, I like the idea Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has concerning transparency if a deal is reached.  A week-long debate on any aspect of the bill, including amendments, edits, and revisions.  All will be televised on C-SPAN for the public to see –  if they don’t fall asleep first.

Yet, we cannot forget back when “Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner admitted [last February] in congressional testimony that the administration lacks a long-term plan to deal with the nation’s soaring $16 trillion debt. “We’re not coming before you today to say we have a definitive solution to that long-term problem,” he told House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan. ‘What we do know is, we don’t like yours.”  I’ll try to temper my cynicism, but being optimistic about government is difficult.

I hope for a deal, but, at the same time, will start cashing out my investments in the stock market in preparation for the day of reckoning.

Health Care Reform = More Money, Bigger Hospitals, and Less Private Practices

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For a while, conservatives have known that Obamacare would be a dose of bad medicine.  However, given the axiom that bog government helps big business, the same could be true with the medical industry.  Tim Carney at The Washington Examiner aptly pointed out today, from Bloomberg, Obamacare favors big hospitals, and smashes small practices.

In his column, Carney wrote that “Bloomberg report[ed] today on how Medicare payment rules have led to hospital consolidation, with small practices selling out to big hospitals.”  Additionally, Carney cited the point about consolidation:

Simon Gisby, a principal in the life science and health care practice at Deloitte Corporate Finance LLC in New York, said the trend fits with changes starting to take place under the 2010 Affordable Care Act designed by the Obama administration to overhaul health care.

This consolidation means higher costs, the article explains. Some academic studies have confirmed that hospital consolidation means higher costs, and at least one has pinned some of the blame on Obama’s Affordable Care Act:

hospitals are able to extract higher private payments when they hold more market power…. Now provisions of the ACA are encouraging further consolidation of hospitals and physicians, and the final antitrust review regulations from the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission have eliminated the proposed mandatory review of certain prospective ACOs.

So, at the end of the day, it’s business as usual – with a splash of dependency.  Big government helping big business gain more power at the expense of the taxpayers.   Can we all agree that this overhaul of American health care was never meant to curb costs?

Americans willing to pay higher taxes if spending cuts made

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A new Rasmussen Reports poll shows that a portion of respondents feel that higher taxes are acceptable, but only if real spending cuts are also made.

President Obama wants Congress to hike tax rates right now and have Congress discuss spending cuts at some later time. The reality being that the federal government will get more money to spend and will likely never make any deficit-reducing cuts. A pattern that has repeated for almost a century.

If the president and Congress agreed to a long-term plan to significantly reduce federal spending and the deficit, 42% of Likely U.S. Voters would be personally willing to pay “a bit more” in taxes to balance the budget if the spending cuts were not enough.

A telephone poll also showed that an equal 42% would not be willing to see tax increases even if there were assurances that real spending cuts had been made.

In 1982, President Reagan was offered a three-to-one ratio of spending cuts to tax increases by a Democratic Congress. While Reagan reluctantly agreed to one of the largest tax increases in history, shockingly, Congressional Democrats proceeded to not enact any spending cuts. Democrats got the tax hike they lobbied for while not living up to the spending cuts Reagan wanted.

Similar tactics were used in 1990 to get President Bush to agree to tax increases and the he got the same outcome – all taxes, no spending cuts.

So why should Americans or Republicans in the House and Senate fall for the same rhetoric? They shouldn’t, but likely will.

Democrats Want To Go Off The Fiscal Cliff

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During the president’s Nov. 14 news conference, he channeled the Sandy response as a “metaphor” for how the federal government should operate. “It’s been aggressive and strong and fast and robust and a lot of people have been helped because of it…that’s a pretty good metaphor for how I want federal government to operate generally, and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure it does,” said President Obama.  This is American liberalism.  The ignorance they have towards how government should operate still pervades their ranks today.  Government isn’t suppose to move fast, be aggressive, or be robust. It’s functions are few and defined, as stipulated by Madison – who championed the experiment of limited government that is the bedrock for our republic.

As such, we know the president wants to raise taxes on the job creating and investing class.  It’ll inhibit economic growth, and it’s effects on the overall economy will probably be de minimis at best.  All of his other policies have produced the same insipid results.  Why should this be any different, especially when the president feels that a 3% hike on people making $250,000 or more will have a serious impact on the federal debt and deficit.  George Will reiterated a good example on This Week highlighting the 250k illusion a while ago reiterating that a Chicago school superintendent of twenty years experience, who is married to a Chicago police captain of twenty years experience is almost rich in the eyes of the president.  Nevertheless, according to liberals, tax increases will save us from the fiscal cliff.

As we approach the fiscal cliff, the perverse characteristic that pervades this debate is that liberals want us to go off into the abyss.  If we do, they’ll get the tax increases, they’ll get the revenue, and they’ll get the defense cuts all liberals lust for with disconcerting enthusiasm.  David Brooks, who wasn’t acting like a squish for once, reiterated this view last week on the PBS NewsHour and NPR’s All Things Considered.  Furthermore, and most importantly, liberals and their entitlement programs – the last bastions of progressive legislative achievement – will remain intact.

 

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