Ramirez cartoon via Townhall
Republicans are putting forward a legitimate counter-proposal, which draws from an “imperfect but fair middle ground” plan authored by the Democratic co-chairman of the president’s fiscal commission, Erskine Bowles. Bowles, for reference, was President Clinton’s chief of staff. The Washington Post summarizes the broad outlines of his idea, which Republicans have essentially appropriated: “House Republican leaders endorsed a far-reaching plan Monday to rein in the national debt that would raise $800 billion in new tax revenue, slice $600 billion from federal health programs and apply a stingier measure of inflation to Social Security benefits.” That $800 Billion figure is similar to the number reportedly offered up by Boehner during debt negotiations last summer, and slightly more than the one advanced by Republicans on the so-called “super committee.” (The special joint committee failed to reach an agreement when Democrats rebuffed the GOP plan and refused to put forward a unified proposal of their own). Crucially, none of these new revenues come from increased marginal tax rates; they are derived from a tax code simplification plan, which cuts and caps loopholes, deductions and credits (which disproportionately favor the rich). These effective tax increases are partially offset by lowering rates across the board, a key feature of the original Simpson-Bowles proposal.
House Republican leadership aides told Townhall’s Guy Benson that while far from ideal, the Bowles’ compromise was worth embracing in order to avert the harsh economic impact of going over the cliff.
The tax side of the plan is short on specifics at the moment, though the aide notes that “a number of center-left groups” have published frameworks that could attain $800 Billion in new revenues without raising tax rates.
As you have probably heard – the compromise has already been rejected because it’s not “balanced” enough, meaning of course that it’s not as one sided as Obama would like it.
Via The Corner, here’s Krauthammer’s take:
On tonight’s edition of Special Report, Charles Krauthammer argued that, although Democrats could raise the necessary revenues through deductions and exclusions, the president is bent on raising tax rates because he wants “drive a stake through” the heart of the GOP in the wake of his electoral victory. “This is all about politics, it is nothing about economics,” Krauthammer said.
Watch the video of his comments at NRO.
John Fund agrees. The malignant narcissist Obama isn’t negotiating in good faith. He’s trying to break the Republicans by forcing them to repudiate their anti-tax pledges, thus cementing his historical legacy as a “progressive” hero. Roll Call reported, Republicans now “believe the president is more interested in raking them over the coals publicly than striking a deal privately.” As Fund, noted, “duh”. If this is a lose/lose for Republicans, they may as well lose with their integrity intact.
Republicans must recognize that while going over the fiscal cliff would damage them politically, so too would their surrendering to Obama. Post-election Gallup polls show that only 11 percent of Americans favor tax hikes alone (basically the current Obama position) in any deal to avert the fiscal cliff. According to Gallup, 88 percent favor taking “major steps” to bolster the long-term stability of Social Security and Medicare. In addition, 92 percent of Americans believe “major cuts” to federal spending are an important priority. A full 68 percent say both sides should “compromise equally.”
But the only way the general public can tell who is offering serious proposals and is willing to “compromise equally” is for the budget negotiations to be held in public. If they’re held in secret, leaks by one side or the other could improperly frame the issue. Secret talks allow the White House to avoid having the Congressional Budget Office score its proposals and reveal them to be as phony as the last Obama budget, which not a single Democrat in the Senate voted for. A backroom deal that is then forced on rank-and-file members of Congress at the last minute would be both bad policy and bad politics.
President Obama rode to the White House in part on promises of transparency and open government. Recall his promise to conduct all health-care negotiations in front of C-SPAN cameras. He broke that pledge. Republicans should now demand that the budget talks be televised.
On Sunday, President of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist called for fiscal cliff negotiations to take place in front of TV cameras:
“It’s the president who is threatening to raise taxes on the middle class if he doesn’t stamp his feet and get his way,” Norquist said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “He should get into a room with C-Span cameras there and negotiate. Lets have it in front of C-Span cameras. And if the Republicans are being reasonable, we’ll see that. If they’re not, we’ll see that. Gotta have cameras in that room.”
“Over the last two years, Congress and the President have held an endless series of secret negotiations. There have been gangs of six and eight, a supercommittee of 12, talks at the Blair House and the White House. But the only thing these secret talks have produced is a government that skips from one crisis to the next…
That’s why the process needs to be taken out of the shadows… We ought to be engaged. The engagement of the Senate would allow the American people to know what’s happening. They are entitled to that. I believe we can do better. We must do better.”
As Townhall’s Katie Pavlich reminds us:
Open door negotiations give us amazing moments and clarity like the one below, when Paul Ryan battled President Obama directly on ObamaCare.
I would dearly love to see a round two of Paul Ryan vs Obama, this time sparring on the spiraling debt, (what Ryan likes to call “the most predictable crisis we’ve ever had in our country.”)
I can tell you right now who’ll come off as sincere and in command of the facts and who will look like the insincere, preening, divisive demagogue.
That’s why the White House will never agree to televised talks – but Republicans leaders should start demanding it – loudly. At the very least, it will be an opportunity to pound the deceitful hypocrite on his lack of transparency.
Another idea that would require some spine on the Republicans’ part, (so don’t hold your breath) via The American Thinker:
…there is a way out of this and the president has shown us what that way is: End runs.
As Newt Gingrich never tires of pointing out: The House of Representatives holds the purse strings. The House is majority Republican and the House needs to unfund, de-fund, and refuse to fund the president’s ridiculously destructive orders and regulations and even his signature legislation, the sadly misnamed “Affordable Care Act,” which was rammed through Congress against the will of the majority of Americans and with not one single Republican vote. And the Republican governors of the several states need to arm themselves with the 10th Amendment and refuse to comply with any federally mandated rule or regulation that impacts the citizens of their states adversely.
The president of the United States is not an absolute ruler; he is not a king. His is one of three branches of government. His position is that of an elected official who, ostensibly, represents ALL the people. Barack Obama has not fulfilled that duty, but has chosen, instead, to represent only the people who contribute to his endless campaigns and those who vote for him; in this, he has made himself irrelevant to the governing process of the United States.
It is time for those with the power, the will, and the intelligence to govern this nation responsibly as the Constitution provides to stand up and do it. It is time to take back America.
Its time for the GOP to wage an all-out media assault on the President, pointing out his obstinate decision to put politics in front of the needs of the country. They will receive little help from the mainstream media who are all too willing to find fault with anything the GOP proposes.The President and his staff play Chicago-style politics and they play for keeps. With out a strong effort taking this issue directly to the public, the GOP might find itself in a deep hole with no way to get out.