Tag Archive: fiscal cliff


How Congress, Wall Street And The Media Traded America’s Future For The Next Short Term Fix

” If someone had woken you from a dead sleep 20 years ago and asked what the Republican Party stood for, you would’ve had no trouble answering: Fiscal restraint, a strong national defense and lower taxes. Those were the three pillars of the GOP. The party’s brand was clear. Voters understood it, and many approved. In the days before Obama, Republicans won seven out of ten presidential elections.

Things have changed for the muddier. Scratch the surface and you’ll find there is no longer a consensus among Republicans on foreign policy. Fiscal restraint? Years of earmarks, record deficits and at least one new federal entitlement under Republican congresses make that idea a bitter joke.

Of the three principles that have united the party since Reagan, only taxes remain. Republicans have been able to claim — sincerely, and with continuing success at the ballot box — that they are for lower taxes.

Until Tuesday.

Here’s what happened: For reasons that aren’t entirely clear but are probably related to panic and a basic lack of principle, the Speaker of the House and other Republicans in Congress signed on to Democratic calls for “balance” between tax hikes and spending cuts — this despite the overwhelming evidence that spending is the real problem. “

So, even before the negotiation began, they abandoned decades of principle on taxes. The result: Two months later, we have a deal, but no balance. It’s all tax hikes. Zero spending cuts. Nice job.

Illustration By Michael Ramirez

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GOP Abandons Good Policy in Fiscal Cliff Deal

 

 

 

 

 

” You know, Republicans, if you spent half as much time marketing good policy as you do bending over backwards to please your ideological opponents, we might actually have a deal worth talking about.

In addition to the basics, there are some other interesting facts to note about this deal.

ABC News reports:

But it also includes these:

  • $430 million for Hollywood through “special expensing rules” to encourage TV and film production in the United States.  Producers can expense up to $15 million of costs for their projects.
  • $331 million for railroads by allowing short-line and regional operators to claim a tax credit up to 50 percent of the cost to maintain tracks that they own or lease.
  • $222 million for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands through returned excise taxes collected by the federal government on rum produced in the islands and imported to the mainland.
  • $70 million for NASCAR by extending a “7-year cost recovery period for certain motorsports racing track facilities.”
  • $59 million for algae growers through tax credits to encourage production of “cellulosic biofuel” at up to $1.01 per gallon.
  • $4 million for electric motorcycle makers by expanding an existing green-energy tax credit for buyers of plug-in vehicles to include electric motorbikes.

*Note the price tags above reflect estimated forgone tax revenue if current credits – which have been due to expire – are extended for one year as included in the Senate bill, per Joint Committee on Taxation.

Jim Pethokoukis writes:

What will Americans pay in taxes this year vs. last year in light of the fiscal cliff deal? Well, let’s run the numbers (with some help from JPMorgan):

– Payroll tax hike: $125 billion

– Income tax hike and the phaseout of exemptions: $35-50 billion

– Investment tax hike: $5 billion

– PPACA healthcare taxes: $38 billion

So that works out to roughly $220 billion, or 1.2% of GDP. It’s a deal that, as The Washington Post puts it, ”takes money out of the hands of many Americans, sucking it out of the economy and slowing economic activity.”

Obama made it clear last night that he has no interest in negotiating when it comes to the debt ceiling. He has also made it clear that this is the start of his tax-hike demands, not the end. “

 

 

 

 

Illustration By Steve Sack

The Looking Spoon

 

FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 659

(Republicans In Roman; Democrats In Italic; Independents Underlined)

 

 

House Budget Vote

 

 

 

 


HOW THE LEFT VIEWS THE “CLIFF” DEAL

 

 

 

” So the Left is hysterical over the prospect that households who earn between $250,000 and $450,000 annually will only have deductions disallowed, and not see their marginal rates increase. The $250,000 level is purely arbitrary, of course. If the government robbed taxpayers down to that level, MoveOn would move the goalposts to $150,000. Or $100,000. Or $75,000. If you work for a living, they are coming after you; that’s the bottom line. “

Originally posted on LibertyTrail:

While the rest of us were eating, drinking and making merry (or turning in early) the drama queens in Washington were burning the midnight oil.  They haven’t done their job all year, so we all had to endure the theatrics of the past several weeks with their climactic high drama last night.

And it’s still not over.  Although the old media is talking as though all this is done, the House has still not voted on the bill.  Stay tuned.

I don’t know all the details of it yet.  Lots of info is swirling around.  There’s more money for unemployment benefits in it.  And most of us won’t see our taxes rise.  Except that we will.  The payroll tax cut was allowed to expire, so all our take-home is going down.  It’s being reported that for every dollar in cuts in the bill, there are $41 in new taxes.

That’s what…

View original 681 more words

Senate Passes Bill to Avoid Fiscal Cliff

 

” The Senate voted early Tuesday morning 89-8 in favor of the scaled-down bipartisan package that would halt historic tax hikes for many Americans and postpone automatic spending cuts for two months. The bill will now go to the House, which is expected to be back in session at noon today.

The outlines of the deal Mr. McConnell and Mr. Biden worked out included raising tax rates for individuals making more than $400,000 and families with incomes more than $450,000, and extended unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless. It also continued a number of programs from Mr. Obama’s 2009 stimulus law, including tax credits for college tuition and for green-energy programs.

The question now is whether the bill can pass the House. Breitbart points out that the deal reached “cuts only $15 billion in spending while increasing tax revenues by $620 billion—a 41:1 ratio of tax increases to spending cuts,” according to the CBO. Commenting on the lopsided ratio, one House Republican said, “I can’t imagine a ratio such as that warming our fiscal hearts.” “

 

 

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No Deal

LAWMAKERS LEAVE CAPITOL WITHOUT A DEAL

 

 

” Washington D.C. lawmakers in both chambers left the capitol on early Sunday night after negotiations to avoid the fiscal cliff fell apart in the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D – NV) said there is “still time left to reach an agreement.” In the meantime, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will continue negotiations on the phone tonight with Vice President Joe Biden. “

 

 

 

“I’M NOT DRIVEN BY SOME IDEOLOGICAL AGENDA”

 

 

 

 

” President Obama turned up on NBC’s “Meet the Press” for the first time since the passage of ObamaCare, and gave exactly the performance that every veteran Obama-watcher would have expected: a bitter, intransigent partisan claiming to be the only non-partisan, non-ideological participant in the “fiscal cliff” drama.  “I’m not driven by some ideological agenda – I’m a pretty practical guy,” he explicitly stated, offering his past four years in office as evidence.

 

 

“They say that their biggest priority is making sure that we deal with the deficit in a serious way, but the way they’re behaving is that their only priority is making sure that the tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are protected.  That seems to be their only overriding, unifying theme,” the President lied shamelessly about his Republican opponents, breezily ignoring all those calls for genuine fiscal responsibility and spending restraint from the other side of the aisle.  No one who has spent more than ten seconds actually listening to Republicans talk about the fiscal cliff could fairly conclude that opposing “tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans” is their only theme.  The tax increases Obama keeps demanding won’t have any serious effect on the federal fiscal crisis – even if you’re gullible enough to believe that Obama would become the first Democrat in modern history to actually spend every nickel of a “deficit reduction” tax increase on reducing the deficit, the rosiest scenario for the biggest tax hike he’s called for would not even chip 15 percent off the ten-year projected deficit.  But the President is banking heavily on the idea that, between the bully pulpit of the Presidency and the bias of an activist media, few in the public are going to spend ten seconds listening to any Republicans. “

 

 

… Random Thoughts

 

 

 

” The annual outbursts of intolerance toward any display of traditional Christmas scenes, or even daring to call a Christmas tree by its name, show that today’s liberals are by no means liberal. Behind the mist of their lofty words, the totalitarian mindset shows through.

If you don’t want to have a gun in your home or in your school, that’s your choice. But don’t be such a damn fool as to advertise to the whole world that you are in “a gun-free environment” where you are a helpless target for any homicidal fiend who is armed. Is it worth a human life to be a politically correct moral exhibitionist?

The more I study the history of intellectuals, the more they seem like a wrecking crew, dismantling civilization bit by bit — replacing what works with what sounds good.”

“You get nothing,” the president said. “I get that for free.”

 

 

Michael Ramirez

 

 

Michael Ramirez Cartoon

Conservatives Force Boehner to Abandon His ‘Plan B’ Tax Hike–House Goes Home

 

 

 

 

 

” (CNSNews.com) – Conservative members of the House of Representatives dealt a stunning defeat to the House Republican leadership on Thursday night, forcing Speaker John Boehner (R.-Ohio) to cancel a vote on his “Plan B” tax-increase proposal.

Earlier in the evening, the Republican House leadership had been confident they could make the members of their caucus vote for the tax increase. But they miscalculated.

“Plan B” would have violated the pledge almost all House Republicans have made to the American people to oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates. It would have done so by increasing the tax rate on income over $1 million after Jan. 1.

“The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass,” Boehner said in a statement released late Thursday.

“Now it is up to the president to work with Senator Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff,” Boehner said. “

 

 

 

No deal, It Seems, And Now Dems Unhinged

 

 

 

 

” Boehner said Republicans would seek to protect as many taxpayers as possible and would therefore have a back-up bill protecting all taxpayers making less than a $1 million from the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. (“The White House offer yesterday was essentially $1.3 trillion in new revenues for only $850 billion in net spending reductions. That’s not balanced in my opinion. So at the same time that we’re going to continue to talk with the president, we’re going to also move Plan B. I think we all know that every income tax filer in America is going to pay higher rates come January 1 unless Congress acts. So I believe it’s important that we protect as many American taxpayers as we can. Our Plan B would protect American taxpayers who make $1 million or less, and have all of their current rates extended.”)

That $1 million compromise, by the way, had already been voted on by the Democratic Senate in 2010 when it was supported by every Democrat including Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “

PANETTA: TROOP PAY MAY BE ON THE TABLE IN FUTURE BUDGET CUTS

 

How About Czar’s Pay ? If we are talking bloat here , then let’s start with politicians , bureaucrats and administrators before we think of cutting the pay of the one branch of government that is truly justified .

And remind us again how many aides Michelle has .

 

 

 

 

” Panetta said there were four areas he looked at when trying to achieve savings: efficiencies; force structure reductions, or decreasing total troop strength; procurement reforms; and, perhaps most controversially, compensation.

Troop pay was not directly affected by the Budget Control Act reductions, but if Panetta was laying out a road map for future cuts, as he appeared to be doing, it may not be spared for long.

“Everything has to be looked at if you’re serious about achieving the kind of savings that we need to achieve to address the budget deficit,” Panetta said, adding that he faced a $50 million healthcare bill at the Defense Department and that pay rates had grown significantly in recent years.

Still, military pay seems a strange place to start cutting. While troops do have a robust benefits package during service, pay can be barebones, starting at roughly $1,500 per month for junior enlisted service members. Cuts or cost increases to veterans’ healthcare are also a sore spot, as fee increases in the current defense budget bill have left some retirees feeling let down by the military. “

Voice Your Displeasure With Washington DC

From Americans For Prosperity Comes This Novel Approach

 

 

 

 

Or Send A Note Of Thanks To Those On The Nice List 

 

 

” Members of Congress have been making backroom deals and preparing to bring you a season’s greeting of their own called “Merry Taxmas!” Americans for Prosperity wants to keep “Taxmas” from happening, by ensuring Congress keeps its promise of cutting wasteful government spending. Please follow the steps below to make your voice heard this holiday season.”

 

 

HT/Ramparts 360

 

LIBERALS STONEWALL ON ENTITLEMENT REFORM, REPUBLICANS CAVE ON TAXES

 

 

 

Say what you will of the Dems , and we’ve said plenty , but they have backbone , something sorely lacking on the right side of the aisle .

 

 

 

 

 

 ” It’s becoming quite clear that liberals are stonewalling on entitlement cuts while conservatives are caving on higher taxes for the wealthy. Barack Obama said  yesterday that the Republicans would cave, asserting that he was “confident”:

I’m pretty confident that Republicans would not hold middle-class taxes hostage to trying to protect tax cuts for high-income individuals. I don’t think they’ll do that.

There have been rumors that Obama would consider changing the minimum age for Medicare to 67, but Obama’s statements belie that. He intoned:

When you look at the evidence, it’s not clear that it actually saves a lot of money. But what I’ve said is ‘Let’s look at every avenue because what is true is we need to strengthen Social Security, we need to strengthen Medicare for future generations.’ The current path is not sustainable because we’ve got an aging population and healthcare costs are shooting up so quickly.

Obama is sticking with his meme, that he is concerned about the middle class:

I’d like to see a big package. But the most important thing we can do is make sure that middle-class taxes do not go up on Jan. 1st.

Shh. Don’t mention ObamaCare hitting after January 1.

Meanwhile liberals are absolutely intransigent about entitlement cuts.”

 

 

 

Illustration By Michael Ramirez

Henninger: Who Speaks for

the GOP?

 

 

 

 

 

 ” Where is the Big Picture? Why is it not possible for John Boehner or anyone else in this party to articulate for the dumbstruck public watching these dreadful cliff negotiations what the Republican Party stands for? Who speaks for the GOP?

No end of people keep saying of the Republicans that “they” should do this or “they” should do that. Who’s “they”? It is no one. With the Republicans, there’s no “they” there.

Barack Obama is controlling the cliff narrative now because the GOP has no one whose job is counter-narrative. Mr. Obama this week was recycling campaign speeches about the middle class at the Daimler Detroit diesel plant while the GOP has been a Babel of Beltway voices. Don’t any of these senators go to church on Sunday morning, rather than running around television punching the “entitlement crisis” card? “

Experts Warn About Impending Obamacare Tax Increases

 

” Five major tax increases will go into effect starting in 2013 as a result of Obamacare, regardless of what happens with the fiscal cliff.

Three of those tax hikes will mostly affect the middle class.

The medical-device tax, for example, will apply to hip replacements and “affect everyone who needs those devices,” John C. Goodman,  president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Americans for Tax Reform, the Washington-based group headed by Grover Norquist, estimates the overall tax burden of the medical-device tax will be $20 billion”.

Fiscal Cliff: ABC Talks Taxes 17 Times More Than Spending Cuts

 

 ” America is racing toward the Jan. 1 fiscal cliff deadline when tax hikes and spending cuts automatically take effect. But the overwhelming news focus has been only on tax hikes as a solution to the problem. Since the election, ABC News has talked about raising taxes more than 17 times more than spending cuts.

The network isn’t alone, it was just the worst of the bunch. The Media Research Center’s Business and Media Institute analyzed evening news coverage of the budget battle and found both NBC and CBS also discussed taxes far more than spending – spinning the Capitol Hill battle into one where the liberal agenda of increased spending dominated. Overall, the networks focused more than twice as much on tax increases as they did on spending (29 minutes 31 seconds to 12 minutes 54 seconds). “

Fiscal Cliff Antics

 

 

 ” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) won’t allow a vote on the president’s proposal to resolve the “fiscal cliff.” Senate Democrats are mortified that someone might ask their opinion, even ask them to cast a vote (mercy me!), on the biggest domestic issue we face.

 

If you are getting the sense there is no one with sense inside the Beltway, you’re getting warm. The reason everyone is spinning and spinning out of control is that the country can’t be governed without an executive who is both adept at and motivated to lead. No matter how responsible or irresponsible the Congress is, in a complex set of negotiations with almost infinite permutations of a deal, competing interests and inflamed partisans, there is only one person with the stature to force both sides to a deal. But this president seems unwilling to ask anything of his side and determined to set up a series of no-win situations for his opponents, whom he treats not as political rivals to be bargained with but enemies to be vanquished.

Chance of going over the fiscal cliff? On a scale of zero to 10, 10 being certainty that we are all going to take the plunge, I think we’re at 9. And maybe this is for the best.”

 

 

Illustration By John Darkow

 

 

Krauthammer on the ‘Fiscal Cliff’

 

 

 

 

“Famed Washington Post journalist and political pundit Charles Krauthammer was a guest on Fox News’ Special Report on Thursday and he offered some pretty bold, but sage advice regarding the fiscal cliff.

Krauthammer claimed,

“It’s not just a bad deal, this is really an insulting deal. What Geithner offered, what you showed on the screen, Robert E. Lee was offered easier terms at Appomattox, and he lost the Civil War. The Democrats won by three percent of the vote, and they did not hold the House. Republicans won the House. So this is not exactly unconditional surrender, but that is what the administration is asking of the Republicans.

This idea – there are not only no cuts in this, there’s an increase in spending with a new stimulus. I mean, this is almost unheard of. I mean, what do they expect? They obviously expect the Republicans will cave on everything. I think the Republicans ought to simply walk away. The president is the president. He’s the leader. They are demanding that the Republicans explain all the cuts that they want to make.” “

 

 

 

Illustration By Glenn Foden

How Government Profligacy Will Impact Us All

 

 ” Almost all American households would take a financial blow next year-and low-income families would be among the hardest hit-if the White House and Congress fail to solve the “fiscal cliff.” Damian Paletta reports on Markets Hub. “

 

This is an interactive webpage that shows the impact of a journey over the fiscal cliff on all taxpayers class by class 

To The Over The Fiscal Cliff

 

 

 ” Lawmakers kicked off negotiations over the so-called fiscal cliff at the White House on Friday with both sides expressing optimism that a deal could be reached before the end of the year.

Republicans in Congress say they understand their political leverage is diminished after the election and are largely resigned to a compromise that would force wealthy families and small businesses to pay more in taxes.

However, GOP leaders have insisted that any new revenue come from closing tax loopholes and other special interest deductions for the wealthy as opposed to raising tax rates which they said would undermine economic growth. “

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