Skip to comments.House Republicans Cave on Tax Increases and Punt Entitlements
Posted on 12/04/2012 7:42:32 AM PST by EternalVigilance
When President Obama put forth his first offer on the fiscal cliff, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said, “You can’t be serious.” We could say the same thing to the Speaker after his counteroffer yesterday.
In a letter signed by House Republican leadership, including Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), Boehner offered to raise taxes by $800 billion and cut spending by $1.2 trillion, with no substantive reforms to the entitlement programs that are driving U.S. spending and debt.
Heritage’s Alison Fraser, director of the Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, and J.D. Foster, the Norman B. Ture Senior Fellow in the Economics of Fiscal Policy, quickly responded that “the Republican counteroffer, to the extent it can be interpreted from the hazy details now available, is a dud. It is utterly unacceptable. It is bad policy, bad economics.”
Boehner’s letter to the President actually said that the Republicans were not going to make their more serious proposal, which has already passed the House.
If we were to take your Administration’s proposal at face value, then we would counter with the House-passed Budget Resolution. It assumes an overhaul of our tax code with revenue remaining at historically normal levels and proposes structural reforms to preserve and protect the Nation’s entitlement programs, ensuring they are sustainable for the long-term rather than continuing to grow out of control.
But, they said, “we recognize it would be counterproductive to publicly or privately propose entitlement reforms that you and the leaders of your party appear unwilling to support in the near-term.”
This is precisely the time for laying out bold reforms, showing the nation the principles, vision and policies conservatives share to dig out of this budget mess, today and for the long term. Instead, the leadership pointed to a plan they said was suggested by Erskine Bowles, the co-chair of [Alleged] President Obama’s debt commission and formerly Bill Clinton’s White House Chief of Staff. It raises taxes, but not by raising tax rates—instead, by lowering the amount or number of tax deductions or exemptions available.
This misses the point of the tax reform America really needs, said Fraser and Foster:
While preferable in general to raising tax rates, this proposal largely dooms future efforts at tax reform based on the sound principle of broadening the tax base to lower the rates. Instead, this proposal would broaden the base, not to lower rates, but to raise revenues. So much for improved economic growth.
Essentially, it appears the Republican leadership caved on raising taxes and first steps toward fundamental entitlement reforms that are desperately needed to keep Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid going. To be sure, the Boehner letter is short on details. But, as Fraser and Foster put it, “Beyond disappointing, the House Republican counteroffer appears at best to suggest incremental tweaks to these programs. Without real entitlement reform—not just spending cuts—we will never fix the underlying problem.”
Not only would this be the right course to take, but Americans polled just after the election have these priorities more in order than the President and Congress.
Just a few days after the election, Gallup asked people to rank a list of 12 issues by importance for the President’s second term. Restoring “a strong economy and job market” was No. 1, with entitlement reform—“take major steps to ensure the long-term stability of Social Security and Medicare”—No. 2. “Make major cuts in federal spending” was No. 6 on the list, while raising taxes on people making more than $250,000 a year was way down the list at priority No. 10.
Now is the time for leaders to get serious. That means serious entitlement reforms that will deliver real savings and improve the programs. The President and House Republicans should both start over and work together toward solutions the nation truly needs.
The nation’s Republicans are the very definition of the DTM, the Drop Trou Man - bend over, drop trou, and take it up the...
Take it? H*ll, they beg for it!
The Orange Pussy is the worst excuse for a so-called “leader” that the republican party has ever had. I really detest this disingenuous, cowardly phony through and through.
Worse than worthless. Buh-bye eGOP
Aren’t there ANY Republican congressman (Tea Party) calling this surrender for what it is??
There are a million other less politically sensitive cuts they could make but won’t. That’s because there’s no intent to do anything other than continue to feed the beast.
You had it right, my FRiend.
Oddly, I think you took the exact words out of my mouth.
And we think it’s bad now when they are at least paying a little lip service to Conservatism? Wait til after the first of they year.
Let Obama and the Marxists take the undeniable blame in front of the public and the world as the markets crash, taxes skyrocket and the standard of living, not only here, but around the world approaches that of Zimbabwe.
It may be the only way to prove that Cloward-Piven may be temporarily right but ultimately wrong. The Marxists are taking their shot.
We are a powerful nation. Others have tried to knock us down and have been relegated to the dustbin for their efforts.
OTOH if the population of the world want to live in slavery, as they have for most of history...well....go ahead, kill the golden goose and close the Golden Door.
We need to fight to the bitter end. Make the Democrats own the situation. Not offer them one bit so that they can turn around and blame us. I understand that we will still be blamed but we need some testicular fortitude and do the right thing for America.
Sadly though, the Republicans already own it too. That's the history and the reality. Even if folks pretend otherwise.
Yeah. Though it’s still nothing to be happy about. I wish I was wrong.
Quite true. But when the main, purportedly right-of-center, party in this country takes leave of its political senses, correction of its errant behavior can be an emotionally draining process.
You’re in the front of the bus, though. Latecomers to the rear, but at least they’re trying to get on board.
What people can't seem to understand is that the $800 billion is going to happen, the Republican house can't stop it. Either through an increase in the marginal tax rates (Over the cliff) or some other combination of rate increases and elimination of deductions.
Are the “spending cuts” real cuts or “cuts” to the projected rate of increase?
Not that they’re actually going to happen or anything...
Boehner must go and be replaced by a stone-faced true believer.