The Congressional leadership in the Republican Party has staked out a hard line against what is quite possibly the unreasonable demands of the president prior to the upcoming fiscal cliff scheduled on the Mayan calendar (slight exaggeration for dramatic effect). Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is now demanding structural entitlement reform in exchange for the tax-hikes the president so desperately desires.
McConnell told the Wall Street Journal the White House had to agree to structural changes—like including means-testing in Medicare, raising the eligibility age for Medicare, or slowing cost-of-living increases in Social Security payments—in exchange for more tax revenue.
“The nexus for us is: revenue equals genuine entitlement eligibility changes,” McConnell said. “Not another study. Not ‘Let’s do it 11 months from now.’ Now.”
President Obama has been adamantine also, demanding $1.6 trillion in tax increases over the next decade for zero in spending cuts. Not a mathematician here and don’t play one on TV, but that might not add up — since we’re running trillion dollar deficits to infinity. $160 billion a year is about a tenth of what we need to make up the budget shortfall.
As the Huffington Post reported, Republican Speaker John Boehner said such tax hikes would be a “crippling blow” to the economy. But the American people keep spending like there’s no tomorrow, so it has to be made clear that there’s a cost for all those government goodies. Taxes are a way to exert a bit of tough love for voters who are out to a free lunch.
Rationally, the private sector sustains all the “compassionate” redistribution of wealth for the “public good,” so why would the government undermine it with even more taxes? Instead, why not try an economic growth-based approach? We’ll, we’re acting as if government is about reason, and not about power. Doing the right thing would violate the first commandment of big government — that’s the one that says ‘thou shalt never cut spending.’ Oh, and we just had an election on that — sorta.
There is a fundamental lack of seriousness in Washington about the millions of lives these egomaniacs are toying with, and an unwillingness to do something that was once taken as a no-brainer task of responsible governance — budget. But one thing is for certain: if the Republicans don’t do everything the Democrats want they will be blamed for the bad economy, which will happen whether the GOP compromises or not.