Last night, reports surfaced that Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) would meet with the House Republican Conference to prepare them for a forthcoming deal on the fiscal cliff. CQ Roll Call reported (sub. req’d) “rank-and-file members have been kept largely in the dark by Boehner and his team.” The deal rumored last night included a mix of tax hikes, promises of entitlement reform and a debt limit increase. The details were vague and the deal wasn’t sealed, but a deal seemed to be coming together.
Heritage’s Alison Acosta Fraser lamented that Republican leaders were “too eager” to strike a deal:
The latest fiscal cliff proposal by Speaker of the House John Boehner (R–OH) is infuriatingly frustrating to conservatives, again. In exchange for $1 trillion in tax hikes—including the President’s immediate tax rate hike on the wealthy—Boehner asked for just $1 trillion in spending cuts. And, to sweeten the pot for the President, Boehner’s proposal reportedly includes increasing the debt limit for another year.
The deal, as outlined, she concluded, was “a stinker.”
In an effort to avoid a full blown revolt among the rank-and-file, Speaker Boehner told the White House last night he was moving on to Plan B. Politico elaborates:
Last week, Heritage’s J.D. Foster said, “In the debate over the fiscal cliff, the President’s position is simple: The Republicans must capitulate on income tax rate hikes, and all other serious issues are not up for discussion.” That statement has been proven painfully accurate time and time again, and things have gone downhill over the weekend.
According to reports, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has offered $1 trillion in higher tax revenue over ten years and an increase in the top tax rate on people earning more than $1 million a year. $450 billion in revenue would come from raising the top rate of million-dollar-plus income from 35 percent to the Clinton-era 39.6 percent. The rest of the $1 trillion on revenue would come from a “rewrite in the tax code next year and by slowing the inflation adjustments made to tax brackets.”
Liberals and conservatives know very well that raising taxes is not enough to fix our nation’s fiscal problems, problems like a deficit of $1.1 trillion and publicly held debt of $11.3 trillion or 73% of GDP.
This afternoon, reports surfaced Senate Republicans were exploring a new effort to avoid the fiscal cliff while avoiding leaving their fingerprints on a tax increase.
Heritage Foundation’s J.D. Foster suggested such an effort amounts to “decoupling conservatives from their core principles.”
There are many ways to surrender—and some congressional Republicans seem bent on exploring the all.
In the debate over the fiscal cliff, the President’s position is simple: The Republicans must capitulate on income tax rate hikes, and all other serious issues are not up for discussion.
To be clear, the reports suggest capitulation:
Now, however, worrisome rumors of two different “decoupling” plans are swirling through the halls of Congress. Both plans constitute a clear path toward surrender on conservative principles.
Thus the President gets his tax rate increase and the wobbly Republicans hope they can wash their hands of the matter.
True, Republicans who oppose raising taxes could vote to stand by their principles, but this maneuver succeeds only if the House Republican leadership permits it.
This doesn’t advance the debate:
Taking a step back, both decoupling approaches demonstrate that, once again, Republicans are busy negotiating with themselves the terms of their surrender
The big picture:
Aside from his one great mistake in offering up his own tax hike, Speaker Boehner has to his credit repeatedly nailed the central issue in the entire fiscal policy debate—an issue that would surely get more attention if so many Republicans weren’t falling over themselves in a rush to wave the white flag: Mr. President, where are your entitlement reform proposals? We’re still waiting.
The whole piece can be found here.
When Katharine Lee Bates wrote America the Beautiful in 1893, she sang the praises of our purple mountain majesties and fruited plains, but she made no mention of our cliffs, although we do have a sprinkling of them across the country. Little did she know that 119 years later, our whole country would be headed over a cliff, fiscal though it may be. Thankfully, the Heritage Foundation is helping to fulfill her prayer and to mend our nation’s flaws:
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!
Heritage experts Alison Acosta Fraser, William W. Beach, and Stuart M. Butler have produced valuable research and proposed suggestions for saving the American Dream during “fiscal cliff” negotiations and beyond. Heritage is putting forth the ideas necessary to reverse the negative Washington trends of fiscal irresponsibility, out of control spending, and excessive taxation, which are all affronts to our liberty and prosperity.
It may seem counterintuitive to liberals that taxing the “rich” more will not fix our deficit problems (even though doing so would be a drop in the ocean, when you consider the immensity of our fiscal problems and the fact that the “rich” can respond in a number of ways so they will not be hit too hard). Taking more money from high-income earners is overly simplistic and misguided. It hasn’t worked in the past, and it won’t work now.
We’ve pointed this out before, and Heritage reminds us again, Congress and the White House simply can’t ignore the mistakes of the past as they try to avert the fiscal cliff, and more importantly, as they formulate long term solutions to our fiscal mess.