President Obama and Congress have recently concluded
negotiations over how to avoid tumbling over the "Fiscal
Cliff", the term for the predicament that the U.S. government
would have faced at the end of last year, when the terms of
the Budget Control Act of 2011 was scheduled to take
effect. The changes that were set to occur at midnight on
December 31, 2012 included the end of certain tax breaks
for businesses, the end of 2012's temporary payroll tax cuts
which would have hiked workers' taxes by 2%, shifts in
the Alternative Minimum Tax resulting in a larger tax
burden for much of the middle class, and concluding the
"Bush tax cuts" from 2001-03, as well as the start of taxes
connected to Obamacare. Bedlam all around, to be sure.
Just three hours before the dreaded hour, the Senate agreed
to a deal to avoid falling over this cliff. The House joined
the Senate in approval of the measure 21 hours later. Strictly
speaking, Uncle Sam fell over the cliff due to the final details
not being settled until after the beginning of the new year; the
changes set into the deal, however, are backdated to
January 1, 2013.
Sadly, the Republican-led House have negotiated rather badly
for their part. Speaker John Boehner and his lieutenants gave
ground on core conservative principles in exchange for token
concessions from President Obama and the Democrats. The
GOP House team had misplaced their spinal columns on their
way to work that day! Their latest offer placed a $1 trillion
tax rise(!) on the table with minuscule cuts in spending. All that
conservatives can accomplish now is to pass a temporary
measure to avoid a fiscal doomsday of sorts until March 31.
Yes, it's kicking the can down the road, an all-too-routine
course of action (non-action, really) seen in Washington, but
it is preferable to jumping off the fiscal cliff, and far more
so than the current $1 trillion tax capitulation presented by
Speaker Boehner. Interestingly enough, Obama spurned this
giveaway; he gave a counteroffer consisting of an even bigger
tax boost and even fewer spending cuts! Your concerned
Peasant shudders to ask whether Boehner will follow Obama
down this treacherous path with even more spineless give-
aways hoping to please and appease the spendthrift president!
What is the House Speaker's endgame?
The Heritage Foundation, a renown conservative think tank and
policy analysis organization, stated just why Boehner's proposal
is poor policy:
1) Higher tax rates thwart efforts to create a stronger economy.
Businesses won't be able to expand to the point of creating a
sufficient number of jobs to even begin to whack a divot in the
2) Dollar-for-dollar tax hikes and spending cuts won't be as
effective as simply cutting spending. It's not that we are taking
in too little revenue; it's that we are spending far too much.
3) The Republicans have not given a clear plan as to how they
would cut spending.
4) Handing over control of the debt limit to Obama for a year
would eliminate one of the few means of leverage for the GOP.
This would be almost total capitulation to the most reckless
spender ever to occupy the White House, and it would put off
any real reform bringing palpable relief for that year.
So kicking the can down the road, while normally not a good
policy for anything, let alone the serious fiscal situation we are
now in, is far better than meekly giving in to an imperial taxer
and spender who is hell-bent on turning our country into a
socialist wasteland. And while we're on the subject, could it
be that Speaker Boehner and some of his GOP colleagues in
the House have forgotten who made it possible for them to
take control of that chamber of Congress? Or is it that they
believe that they can talk tough on taxes and spending when
they are home with their constituents, then be fiscally profligate
when they are in the clubby, cozy confines of our capitol and
that no one will be the wiser? And what is behind Boehner's
removal of some Tea Party-backed Republicans from some
key committees, such as Budget as well as Financial Services?
While being as meek as a mouse with Obama, Boehner has
been a bully boy with four principled conservative GOP
representatives who dared to criticize Boehner's offer to
Obama. Your inquiring Peasant will explore this sorry turn
of events in the days to come! In the meantime, let us remind
our Republican House members whom we have elected
why we elected them --- especially Speaker Boehner ---
and that they thumb their noses at us at their peril. We made
'em, and baby we can break 'em! They wouldn't be in the
majority in the House, and Boehner wouldn't be Speaker
if it wasn't for the electorate, with not a little help from the
Tea Party! Perhaps we should "Primary" these wayward
representatives in 2014, that is, draft true conservatives to
oppose them in the Republican Party primaries. And if they
are lucky enough to survive these challenges, they should take
the experience as a warning that they should keep their campaign
promises from when they were first elected, as they answer not
to the "good ol' boy (and girl) club" on Capitol Hill, or to the
liberal establishment press, and certainly not to a president
from that very establishment, but to we who elected them!
For if we have one political party that won't listen to us, and
another that abandons us, what are we to do?