The big hoo-hah over taxes we had to suffer through last month had to do with income tax rates and some specialty items that largely attached to corporations.
Here is the biggest problem with the news coverage of the Fiscal Cliff. The only message coming through was President Obama's message: that he was trying to save the middle class from a tax increase by raising taxes on the rich. On the Republican side, the message was…well…it was a muddled mess.
Less than a year ago, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said, "the Republican failed economic policies of President George Bush took us to a financial meltdown, took us into near depression, took us into deep deficits that we still have to deal with!" But, now the Democrats are signing a very different tune; preserving that which they spent the last decade damning has suddenly become the President's and Democrat leadership's raison d'être.
Last week, Republicans proved they are not a governing party. Next week we will see whether Democrats are.
Washington -- William McGurn, the esteemed Wall Street Journal columnist and soon-to-be editor of the editorial page of the New York Post, has made an interesting observation about the fabulous Bush tax cuts that are about to lapse.
The Obama administration and its allies are so eager to portray tax hikes on the rich as the solution to all our problems that they desperately desire to persuade the public that tax cuts for the rich caused all those problems in the first place.
I'm in the camp that believes Republicans have no choice but to agree to raise taxes on the top 2 percent of earners. The party has been successfully caricatured as the servant of the rich. This is unjust, yes, but justice is imperfect in this life.
We are still borrowing more than $1 trillion a year. Barack Obama has added more than $5 trillion to the national debt in just his first term alone. Such massive borrowing is unsustainable. Someone somehow at some time has to pay it back.
The fiscal cliff negotiations seem to be foundering on Barack Obama's insistence on higher tax rates on high earners and House Republican leaders' insistence on opposing them. The president believes he has a mandate from voters for his position, and House Republicans believe they have a mandate from voters for theirs.
One of the big advantages that President Obama has, as he plays "chicken" with the Congressional Republicans along the "fiscal cliff," is that Obama is a master of the plausible lie, which will never be exposed by the mainstream media-- nor, apparently, by the Republicans.
President Obama’s offer to Republicans to save the country from its fiscal cliff plunge is one big joke. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he “laughed” when Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Obama’s cliff negotiator, unveiled it to him. Laughable is right when you consider the president’s outlandish request calls for tax hikes on higher earners, the one thing Republicans repeatedly have warned Obama, since day one of his presidency, were non-starters to any budget or deficit reduction talks.
We’ve all heard about the “fiscal cliff.” But what does it mean? The media won’t bother to explain it in any detail, and people aren’t looking it up on their own.
Republicans find themselves in the unenviable position of being forced to agree to raise taxes on those earning more than $200,000 (the actual cut off for those Mr. Obama refers to as "millionaires and billionaires"), or risk being blamed for a tax increase on all taxpaying Americans. They will probably agree, which means it's a politically unavoidable policy, not a good policy.
We can get back to discussing GOP minority constituent recruitment soon, but in the meantime, we have a fiscal cliff issue that beckons -- the real fiscal cliff (America's imminent financial collapse), not the government shutdown molehill everyone is agonizing over.
As the "fiscal cliff" looms, editorial writers and Beltway commentators have turned their sights on their favorite enemy -- tax-foe Grover Norquist's no-new-taxes pledge signed by a weighty majority of GOP members of Congress. If Republicans had not been scared into signing the pledge, the pack laments, D.C. pols would compromise, and all would be well with the world.
If everyone in America had read Stephen Moore's new book, "Who's The Fairest of Them All?", Barack Obama would have lost the election in a landslide. The point here is not to say, "Where was Stephen Moore when we needed him?" A more apt question might be, "Where was the whole economics profession when we needed them?" Where were the media? For that matter, where were the Republicans?
A big issue is missing in the debate over the "fiscal cliff" about how to get the Obama economy growing again, fueling capital investment, new jobs and higher incomes.
In the debate on our fiscal crisis, one crucial question is never answered or even asked: if we’re supposed to go back to Clinton-era tax rates because they were good for America, why don’t we simultaneously return to that era’s spending rates?
During last Wednesday’s news conference, President Obama offered his plan for dealing with the looming fiscal cliff and expiring tax cuts. While the President claims he desires to work with Congress to reduce the deficit in a balanced and responsible way, he was clear that he intends to hold the middle class hostage in order to achieve his goal of increasing taxes on more successful Americans.
“Mr. President, on the fiscal cliff, two years ago, sir, you said that you wouldn’t extend the Bush-era tax cuts, but at the end of the day, you did. So, respectfully, sir, why should the American people and the Republicans believe that you won’t cave again this time?”
In his first formal press conference in months, Barack Obama showed that getting re-elected can increase a president's confidence and combativeness. He staked out tough stands on several issues, especially on the looming budget negotiations.