Congress and the President, Crushing the American People
Throughout the supposed fiscal cliff negotiations, the absence any meaningful discussion about spending as our country’s real fiscal problem was glaringly conspicuous. Rather, the pendulum was swinging back and forth from Obama’s desired $1.6 trillion in additional tax revenue and a number of slightly lower numbers, finally settling at $600 billion in tax increases over ten years at the last possible moment. The Hill reports:
The 257-167 vote capped off a day of high drama in the Capitol, as Republican leaders considered and then quickly abandoned a plan to attach steep spending cuts to a measure passed overwhelmingly by the Senate early Tuesday morning.
The deal also “delays automatic spending cuts for two months, setting up another fiscal showdown over replacing those cuts, raising the debt ceiling and funding the federal government.”
CNN outlines the specifics of the deal:
— The tax rate for individuals making more than $400,000 and couples making more than $450,000 will rise from the current 35% to the Clinton-era rate of 39.6%.
— Itemized deductions will be capped for individuals making $250,000 and for married couples making $300,000.
— Taxes on inherited estates will go up to 40% from 35%.
— Unemployment insurance will be extended for a year for 2 million people.
— The alternative minimum tax, a perennial issue, will be permanently adjusted for inflation.
— Child care, tuition and research and development tax credits will be renewed.
— The “Doc Fix” — reimbursements for doctors who take Medicare patients — will continue, but it won’t be paid for out of the Obama administration’s signature health care law.
After the deal was passed, Obama falsely claimed that the tax code was “too skewed toward the wealthy, at the expense of middle class Americans.” In typical Obama fashion, that sentiment fuels the emotions of jealousy and envy. But it’s subjective and lacks empirical backing.
In fact, the United States has one of the most “progressive” tax codes in the industrialized world. “Today, the wealthiest 1 percent of American households earn 20 percent of all income… but they pay 38 percent of all income taxes, up from the 19 percent they paid in 1980.” And that was before this deal which will substantially increase the tax burden on higher income households and small businesses.
Heritage’s Mike Franc explained, “Liberals, we know, want to push an unprecedented tax burden on Americans that could exceed 25 percent of gross domestic product, and they envision federal spending trending even higher.”
For liberals, there is no true end in sight, as no tax hike is ever enough.
President Obama was not totally pleased with the tax hike and said, “Speaker Boehner and I originally tried to negotiate a larger agreement that would put this country on a path to paying down its debt, while also putting Americans back to work rebuilding our roads and bridges.”
President Obama, it seems, always fell asleep during his “shovel-ready” jobs 101 class. As Heritage’s Patrick Knudsen explains:
Building and repairing roads and bridges neither creates net job growth nor boosts the economy in the near term.
First, increasing government spending on these projects simply moves resources from one place to another — it may employ construction workers, but only by reducing jobs in other sectors. Further, the money never gets out the door soon enough to promote near-term job growth.
The President’s mind is so steeped in socialist thought, that he added, “[t]he deficit is too high, and we’re still investing too little in the things that we need for the economy to grow as fast as it should.”
He actually believes the government grows the economy. Politicians will accomplish this by confiscating wealth from Americans to “invest” in things like the President’s vacations, ever growing bureaucracy and government regulation, and other (not so) worthwhile causes like the failed stimulus.
He also said, “Companies will continue to receive tax credits for the research that they do, the investments they make, and the clean energy jobs that they create.” President Obama’s green jobs record is rather abysmal, and to be clear, his green jobs agenda is motivated by politics, not job creation.
He paid lip service to responsibility, saying “While I will negotiate over many things, I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they’ve already racked up through the laws that they passed.”
Well, that’s a fun one, since each year under his tenure, our government has run deficits over a trillion dollars, and I don’t recall him ever “negotiating” in the first place, since spending cuts are never a real part of the discussion.
Tragically, President Obama sees the world only through the lens of taxes and wealth, perpetually demanding that wealthy Americans pay their “fair share” — even though they already more than do. As our CEO Mike Needham said:
Republicans must learn they cannot out-gimmick the Democrats; nor can they offer up enough tax increases to appease President Obama. Remember, President Obama originally called for an $800 billion tax increase. This month, after Republicans put $800 billion in tax increases on the table, President Obama requested $1.6 trillion tax increase.
It will never be enough for the political left.
This time, 85 House Republicans failed to stand on principle, while another 151 Republicans voted against a tax increase. When you’re up against a president as liberal as Barack Obama, bending under pressure isn’t good enough. To reverse this trend, conservatives in Congress should hold true to principles, regardless of how politically expedient it may seem to cut a last minute deal.