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All about Taxes: Democrats and the media have ignored the rest of the fiscal-cliff debate.
National Review ^ | 11/28/2012 | Michael Tanner

Posted on 11/29/2012 7:10:53 AM PST by SeekAndFind

How many times have we heard that the only thing standing in the way of a grand bargain to reduce our growing national debt is Republican intransigence on taxes? If Republicans would only agree to dump Grover Norquist, Democrats will agree to cut spending and reform entitlements. Then, we can all join hands and sing Kumbaya as we usher in a new era of compromise and fiscal responsibility.

Except that now that Republicans have agreed to raise taxes, er, revenue, as part of an agreement to avoid the looming fiscal cliff, liberals appear to have decided that there really isn’t a need to cut spending after all.

“Suddenly the clear and present danger to the American economy isn’t that we’ll fail to reduce the deficit enough; it is, instead, that we’ll reduce the deficit too much,” warns Paul Krugman. All this worry about debt and deficits is “an entirely contrived crisis,” writes Robert Kuttner in the Huffington Post. After all, as the New York Times explains, “deficits are actually a good thing when the economy is deeply depressed, so deficit reduction should wait until the economy is stronger.” “So,” sums up Robert Reich, “can we please stop obsessing about future budget deficits? They’re distracting our attention from what we should be obsessing about — jobs and growth.”

Congressional Democrats already appear to have successfully taken Social Security reform off the table. This, despite the fact that Social Security faces $22 trillion in unfunded liabilities. Democrats may be willing to trim Medicare, but both Harry Reid and Dick Durbin are opposed to structural changes, such as raising the eligibility age. Of course, anything resembling Paul Ryan’s premium-support plan is beyond even discussing. Democrats are more inclined to rely on the type of reforms contained in the Affordable Care Act. Yet the administration’s own actuaries project that, even if all of the ACA’s reforms work exactly as hoped, Medicare will remain $42 trillion in the red. And that’s the best-case scenario.

Yet the media still seem obsessed with Republicans and taxes: Will they stick to the Taxpayer Protection Pledge or not? Will tax rates go up or will loopholes be closed? How much new revenue will Republicans agree to?

But there is a profound lack of curiosity when it comes to the other half of this supposed bargain. Remember that hypothetical deal of $1 in tax increases to $10 in spending cuts? Republicans are still being asked about it and criticized for rejecting it. But balancing the budget under that formula would require $9 trillion in spending cuts over the next ten years. When was the last time the president or a Democratic congressman was asked whether or not they would agree to such a deal?

For that matter, it’s worth noting that more than half of Democratic congressmen and eleven senators have signed a pledge to oppose any changes to Social Security or Medicare. If pledges are the root of all evil, couldn’t we pause for just a moment in our attempts to run Grover Norquist out of town to work up the tiniest bit of outrage about this one?

In fact, many Democrats actually want to spend more, at least in the short term. The president’s most recent budget calls for $2.6 in increased spending between now and 2022. That’s $1 trillion more than the $1.6 trillion that the president has called for in new taxes. Therefore, the tax hikes would not be used to reduce the deficit, but to finance new spending. And, according to news reports, the president has already floated the idea of still more stimulus spending as part of the fiscal-cliff talks.

That’s not a “balanced approach.” That’s simply old-fashioned tax-and-spend politics.

The time may someday come to parse the exact meaning of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. But for now, Republicans are simply negotiating with themselves and with the news media. Democrats haven’t even come to the table.

— Michael Tanner is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and author of Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican Revolution.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: budget; debt; taxcuts; taxes

1 posted on 11/29/2012 7:11:01 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

That’s because the fiscal cliff IS the democrat agenda.

2 posted on 11/29/2012 7:12:58 AM PST by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: SeekAndFind
Even if the libs decided they should cut spending, since it would be implemented by the government, they would f**k it up also.
3 posted on 11/29/2012 7:22:57 AM PST by immadashell
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To: SeekAndFind
I'm STILL waiting for the GOP to begin mocking the democrat media openly and at every opportunity.

How about every republican interviewee throwing a question or two back at leftwing reporters - like "what - no questions about entitlement reform" or something, anything?

Until they stigmatize the ridiculous liberal media all the rest of this is just political Kabuki Theater.

4 posted on 11/29/2012 7:34:54 AM PST by skeeter
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To: skeeter

Mark Levin had a great idea last night. Obama is trying to look like he supports middle class tax cuts WITHOUT CUTTING ANYTHING! He is calling these tax cuts when they are simply the current rate we’ve had for 8 years! The Republicans should propose middle class tax cuts and keeping the rates the same for everyone else! It takes away Obama’s narrative that he is for the middle class. Instead, the Republicans play along with their game with the democrat narrative. So frustrating. Put them on defense!!!!!

5 posted on 11/29/2012 7:37:00 AM PST by Phillyred
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To: SeekAndFind

Here’s the real cause of our Republican loss in the last election.

We are lazy.

We don’t want to take the time to do serious analysis of why we lost. We are lazy. We pay people, most of whom aren’t too bright, to develop winning political strategies. We are lazy. We make grand pronouncements as to why Democrats vote the way they do. We are lazy. We don’t learn the fundamentals of getting people to vote for us. We are lazy.

You won’t see some high-paid political consultant come out with this kind of analysis because they’re just part of the problem. Keep telling yourself that you’re too busy running your business to educate yourself on politics. You are lazy. As the Democrats grind you down to nothing, you can take comfort in knowing that at least you never voted Democrat, but that will be irrelevant, won’t it?

6 posted on 11/29/2012 7:37:13 AM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: Phillyred
Its especially aggravating when its pretty obviously a ploy - Obama will be back again in a year or two proposing to raise middle class taxes.

The GOP needs to draw the line right now.

I'm not hopeful.

7 posted on 11/29/2012 7:40:31 AM PST by skeeter
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To: Phillyred
Put them on defense!!!!!

Was Levin more specific? What kind of middle class tax cuts? How much? What income levels?

8 posted on 11/29/2012 7:41:18 AM PST by who knows what evil? (G-d saved more animals than people on the
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To: blueunicorn6

“We are lazy.”

Completely true. In fact, the GOP politicians, for the most part don’t even care to research into statistics, or figures to support themselves. They hardly bother thinking beyond reacting to whatever stance the other side takes.

9 posted on 11/29/2012 7:48:05 AM PST by Morpheus2009
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To: SeekAndFind

Media slogan:

None of us are as dumb as all of us.

10 posted on 11/29/2012 8:05:21 AM PST by Noamie
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To: Noamie

“close loopholes” / “raise revenues”= raise taxes.

When it all falls apart, republicans will be blamed no matter what by rats and their presstitutes in the
media. So why not do the right thing in the first place?

Some “compromise” - Bammy gets ALL he wants with promise (lie) of “future cuts” that will never come.
I wonder how long before the 401K tax comes?

R’s always fold like a cheap ironing board, that’s why they’re becoming the new Whig party.

11 posted on 11/29/2012 9:38:20 AM PST by TurboZamboni (Looting the future to bribe the present)
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To: MrB

I would like to see us go over the cliff for real. I would end up paying much higher taxes but we would get way more spending cuts than any other deal will include. Then in Feb when its time to raise the debt ceiling just refuse and tell dems in senate they will have to pass their first budget in over three years and oh yeah... it needs to be balanced on a dollar in basis. No more borrowing. This would also take the fed out of the bond buying business because the us would not need to sell bonds anymore

12 posted on 11/29/2012 10:21:42 AM PST by cdpap
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To: SeekAndFind
This whole fiscal cliff panic is fascinating to watch.

Fact Check: The whole deal over sequestering cuts was because the credit rating agencies told the Federal Government that enough was enough and they could not go on borrowing like there was no tomorrow. They down graded the Credit Rating of the USA federal government from AAA.

Thought for the Thoughtful: Does anyone think that the credit rating agencies that recently downgraded France from AAA are going to not give the President and both Legislative Branches a warning about future down grades in credit of the USA if they don't start making serious budget cuts and austerity changes? Look they are telling countries with riots in the streets that they have to cut back on social spending. They are going to tell WA DC that it has to get it's financial house in order.

The whole focus of the debate in WA DC is just wrong. We need to move forward in a fiscally responsible manner to regain our AAA credit rating. That should be the rallying cry. Not change in tax rates or not change in tax revenues without spending cuts. We need to focus on fiscal order and regaining our AAA credit rating or at least not being downgraded any further. That should be the focus.

13 posted on 11/29/2012 11:04:10 AM PST by Robert357 (D.Rather "Hoist with his own petard!"
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To: immadashell
Even if the libs decided they should cut spending, since it would be implemented by the government, they would f**k it up also.

They've already made it clear that "cuts" will be in spending growth, not in actual spending. They have already screwed the poochPeople.

14 posted on 11/29/2012 11:29:09 AM PST by trebb (Allies no longer trust us. Enemies no longer fear us.)
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