“The deal” forged between President Obama and Congressional Republicans has drawn most of its public critics from the left, but some conservatives in Congress have stepped forward to blast the deal, and their numbers will grow over the next few days. Three have been guests on my radio program, and you can read the transcripts of my interviews with Senators Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Congressman Jeff Flake of Arizona.
The arguments against “the deal” are many and profound. In no particular order, the most pressing objections are:
"The deal" was forged in secret, without consultation with the scores of new representatives and senators who campaigned on a much different agenda much less with their supporters and contributors who worked for two years and gave vast sums of money so that a new start could be made, one built on transparency and principle.
"The deal" like Obamacare, isn't reduced to writing even now, when Senator Reid says a vote could be held on Saturday. Like Obamacare, we are being told we will have to pass the bill to find out what is in it.
"The deal" revives the death tax, an immoral “vampire tax” that sucks the blood from the dead, ruins family businesses and double taxes savings that were accumulated over a lifetime. It took ten years of gradual step downs to eliminate the tax, and now "the deal" revives it at 35% with a $5 million dollar exemption, a rate that looks and feels permanent and which will immediately impact tens of thousands of families in 2011 and when inflation works its way into the system, thousands more over time. The GOP has spent years making the case against the death tax on moral and economic grounds, and in the course of a weekend of secret meetings, it gave that issue away.
"The deal" spends billions and billions of dollars that the country does not have in order to prevent a tax hike that the country voted against. In essence the GOP bribed the president to follow the will of the people. There is at least $75 billion in new spending in the plan, agreed to by the GOP less than 5 weeks after the country fairly screamed "Stop Spending Our Children's Money!"
On September 23, all of the House GOP leadership agreed to the “Pledge to America .” A photo op was arranged at the Tart Lumber store in Sterling, Virginia, and the senior leaders of the would-be majority, with their shirt sleeves rolled up, took the pledge and asked America for the majority back. There are at least five provisions of the Pledge that are breached by “the deal.” In September the House GOP promised to:
“Permanently Stop All Job-Killing Tax Hikes” (p. 16)
“Act immediately to Reduce Spending” (p. 21)
“Cut Government Spending to Pre-Stimulus, Pre-Bailout Levels” (p. 21)
“Advance Legislative Issues One at a Time” (p. 33)
“The deal’s” assault on “The Pledge” will make the latter a joke, and instantly impacts the credibility of all future efforts to propose agendas to the electorate.
The idea that this massive tax and spend bill has not yet even been written but may be voted on by the Senate this weekend is appalling, and has rightfully drawn the anger of the TeaPartyPatriots.org and other Tea Party activists, an anger that will not diminish.
Ten Republican senators are up for re-election in 2012: John Barrasso of Wyoming, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Bob Corker of Tennessee, John Ensign of Nevada, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, Jon Kyl of Arizona, Richard Lugar of Indiana, Olympia Snowe of Maine and Roger Wicker of Mississippi.
Of these 10, Senators Kyl and Wicker are safe bets for re-election, but the other eight cannot afford to begin their campaigns for re-election with a vote for this compromise. On the House side the damage will be even deeper. Every narrow victor begins their first day in office with this "deal" on their backs.
Some in the GOP are arguing that they will have time to make up for this sin or for what is at best a hand badly played. But as Mark Meckler of TeaPartyPatriots.org said on my radio show yesterday, the voters never forgot or forgave TARP, and unlike TARP, there is no financial crisis driving the rush to vote for this deal.
The Democrats are rushing to add ornaments to what has already become a Christmas tree bill, unwritten though the provisions might yet still be. The GOP can walk away from the deal and begin again, this time with a commitment to stay true to the principles which drove the GOP win in November.
No new taxes. No new spending. No secret deals.