During my appearance on FoxNews.com Live's morning panel yesterday, much of the conversation centered around President Obama's latest "deficit reduction" scheme. Although the president assured the nation that his $1.5 Trillion tax hike wasn't about class warfare, the substance of the policy belies that assertion. One of its centerpieces is an AMT-style "Buffett tax" which will generate precious little actual revenue. Enough said. Although Obama's roll-out of his hyper-political program pleased its intended audience -- his liberal base -- everyone from Politico to Reuters (hardly right-wing outfits) has identified the proposal for what it is, and by extension, what it is not. It is not a serious plan to deal with America's short or long term debt. Period. To drive home this point, The Examiner's Phil Klein drew up some projections about the nation's fiscal state. The resulting graph demonstrates that even if Obama managed to extract enough taxes out of the American people to peg revenues at 21 percent of GDP (which would be an all-time high), our deficits and debt would still continue to explode under current law (plus expected adjustments such as the annual "Doc Fix," AMT patch, etc):
This proposal is, and should be, dead on arrival on Capitol Hill. I had it out with a Democratic strategist earlier in the program (an exchange Fox didn't clip), who didn't seem to care that Obama's deficit reduction plan, gargantuan tax increases, and spendthrift "jobs" bill were "rotten economics," as Paul Ryan put it. She wasn't interested in discussing the fact that Obama once again punted on entitlement reform, which holds the real key to tackling our systemic debt. (His plan calls for about $300 Billion in Medicare and Medicaid cuts over ten years, and doesn't touch Social Security at all. The cuts are achieved through price controls -- ie, lowering government payments to providers, which will in turn limit access -- and through more muscular rationing via IPAB). Above all else, she was pretty darned excited that Obama was attacking the rich ahead of an election and keeping Mediscare on the table for his party. The message I derived from the debate was that if you're uninterested in real solutions to the menu of problems ailing our nation, and if you get off on sticking it to people you envy -- even if it makes it less likely that those people might hire your out-of-work brother -- you should proudly vote the Democrat line next year. If not, there's an alternative.
Which brings us around to the second subject of my interaction with Bob Cusack, managing editor of The Hill. How is the GOP field stacking up at the moment? Could another entrant or join the fray, or is the race inexorably narrowing to a Rick Perry vs. Mitt Romney contest? Watch the discussion below:
Incidentally, the president still wants that unpaid-for jobs plan passed, like, yesterday. How's that process coming along in the Democrat-held Senate? It isn't, because Reid/Durbin/Schumer et al are struggling to convince their own rank-and-file that it's a good idea. And....uh oh, are moderate Democrats revolting over Obama's tax plan, too? (Here's the part where I remind you that several of Obama's pay-fors failed to pass muster even when Democrats controlled everything). Why won't these recalcitrant Democrats put country over, uh, their opponents' party, or something?
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography