” 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.
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
” 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
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. “
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.”
” 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”.
” 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
“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.
“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