At this stage of the fiscal cliff pseudo negotiations, do the American people have any idea what the Republicans stand for other than to protect the wealthy and cut Medicare and Social Security to harm the sick and aged?
People constantly invoke Ronald Reagan, but one thing is certain and very relevant: If Reagan were on the national stage today, the public would not be confused about what the Republican Party stands for and why it matters.
The GOP is having difficulty even consolidating around a central message, much less selling it to the public. There is no excuse for that.
Though following its election defeat the party has all the confidence of an abandoned stepchild, it needs to shake the dust off, stand up and begin fighting like it truly believes the nation is worth fighting for.
It is automatically assumed in virtually all corners that President Obama has all the leverage in these budget talks. But is that necessarily true?
Let's look briefly at our current economic and fiscal condition and then compare the outcomes of going over the cliff versus reaching a deal and avoiding the cliff.
We have nation-threatening debt, and it's overwhelmingly because our spending is out of control. To the extent that revenues are contributing, it is not because tax rates on the rich are too low. It is because we have an anemic economy.
We have the worst recovery and the longest sustained period of high unemployment in 50 years because of Obama's anti-growth, private sector-smothering taxing, spending and regulatory policies. These policies ensure an endless circular pattern of debt explosion by destroying jobs, which shrinks the tax base and reduces revenues but also increases spending as the unemployed move to the welfare rolls.
Obama has jacked up federal spending across the board, save defense spending. Though he didn't cause the demographic changes leading to runaway entitlements -- except for adding Obamacare -- he is single-handedly standing in the way of reforming these programs.
This is Obama's economy and his financial crisis.
That's where we are. How about where we're headed?
If negotiations fail, we'll end up with automatic spending cuts, which, except for defense, would be a step in the right direction, and tax increases for everyone, not just the rich. Forget whether this is the result Obama wants. The question is whether it's better for the country than what the GOP would have to agree to for Obama to sign a deal averting the cliff.
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