Hoping to avert the "fiscal cliff" crisis they themselves created, the House of Representatives tried passing "Plan B" — the deal struck between Speaker John Boehner (R) and President Barack Obama (D) to raise your taxes by a trillion dollars. It's the bi-partisan way!
Obama is demanding that any fiscal cliff compromise give him authority to raise the current $16.4 trillion cap without a prior vote by Congress. Officials say that Boehner's most recent proposal would grant an increase equal to the size of any spending cuts, roughly $1 trillion under his own recommendations.
The speaker made his offer to Obama late last week, dropping his blanket opposition to the president's call for an increase in the tax rate paid on upper incomes.
Officials have said Boehner offered a total of $1 trillion in higher revenue, less than half of which would come this year, and the balance in 2013 as part of a bill to overhaul the tax code.
Some of the increased revenue to be provided immediately would come from setting the tax rate on income over $1 million at 39.5 percent, up from the current 35 percent. The balance would come from higher taxes on capital gains, dividends and other provisions.
With corporate welfare, stipends for dependent dictators, and all of their other arbitrary wealth transfers and boondoggles completely eliminated, our Washington, DC, Overlords have no choice, I tell you, no choice at all … but to raise your taxes.
C'mon. How else could you possibly expect them to dig their way out of this mess they themselves created? It's gotta come out of your hide of course.
You silly little peasant.
Oops. "Plan B" has been officially pronounced dead.
Plan B was an attempt to gain some leverage by putting pressure on the Democrat-controlled Senate to pass a package that included preserving current tax rates on everyone making less than $1 million per year. Allowing the tax cuts on those making above that level was a concession, to reality: Obama still controls the White House and the Democrats still control the Senate. No deal that pleases all conservatives will ever get past either of those Democratic stopping points. The stage has already been set for the Republicans to be blamed for damage resulting from going over the fiscal cliff.
The conservatives in the GOP caucus who fought Plan B chose the wrong hill to die on. They were never going to get everything they want. Now they're likely to get nothing that they want. The Republicans on the Hill are divided going into the holiday recess. We're a fortnight away from seeing our taxes go up and our national defenses shorn to pre-World War I levels. Republicans are likely to bear the brunt of the blame, despite the fact that they oppose all of this and have been the only ones striving to prevent it.
Oh, cry me a river.
Nevermind that "defense spending has almost doubled in the past decade in current dollar terms and will continue to grow in spite of automatic cuts set by the BCA" … "Our" national defenses will be certainly shorn asunder. I guess we can expect those "Boo-slims" to invade and conquer our cities any day now.
Oh, no! "Republicans are likely to bear the brunt of the blame" for the "damage resulting from going over the fiscal cliff."
You mean the "damage" of somewhat taming the skyrocketing trajectory of national debt?
Silly me, and all this time I thought reducing the debt was a good thing. At least now I understand that politics ("the he said she said bullshit") is all that truly matters.
It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong. — Thomas Sowell
Let's be clear about who — exactly — is responsible for creating this financial disaster otherwise known as the U.S. federal government.
Politicians "are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible" for every last penny of this mess. They passed the bills. They wrote the checks. They own 100% of the problem and blame.
You can stuff your partisanship in a sack too, mister. Because both Democratic and Republican politicians are totally, equally, and undeniably at fault.
Now that we've got that out of the way, let's talk about the political "reality" of passing a somewhat sensible bill.
You know, if government were a product, selling it would be illegal. ... Government contains impure ingredients -- as anybody who's looked at Congress can tell you. ... government practices deceptive advertising. And the merest glance at the federal budget is enough to convict the government of perjury, extortion, and fraud. ... in a nutshell: government should be against the law. Term limits aren't enough. We need jail. — P.J. O'Rourke
One of the most important things to keep in mind about these "fiscal cliff" negotiations is that "it's about dealmaking, not debt reduction." The soap opera as reported by the mainstream media has more to do with political posturing and the next election cycle, than it does with anything else.
This soap opera is the reality of what politics is. We read and listen to the rhetoric, blindly accepting it as gospel, then we argue about it with our neighbors and friends (instead of those actually responsible). It's ridiculous. We talk about "reality" as if it depends on what our Democratic and Republican overlords may agree on. Do we believe they are creators of reality? Some of us might. But I've got news for you …
Reality is the unmanageable federal debt.
It's the politicking and dealmaking that is unreality.
A government, at bottom, is nothing more than a gang of men, and as a practical matter most of them are inferior men ... Government is actually the worst failure of civilized man. There has never been a really good one and even those governments that are most tolerable are arbitrary, cruel, grasping and unintelligent. Indeed, it would not be far from wrong to describe the best government as the common enemy of all decent citizens. — H. L. Mencken
It matters not that House Republicans squashed Boehner's "Plan B" (a tax hike bill previously proposed by Nancy Pelosi (D)), because it would have been vetoed anyway. So it was mere posturing — sending a message to (what's left of) their constituents.
Since posturing is all they're up to, why wouldn't they send a message that any and all tax increases are irrevocably off the table? Why, knowing their bill was destined for veto, would they push for higher taxes instead?
Because Republicans want higher taxes too.
Republicans aren't interested in giving up anymore of the power provided them by the multi-trillion dollar federal budget than Democrats.
Republicans may talk of reducing the size of government, cutting taxes and balancing budgets. But the history of the last century suggests the party has been driven into what may be described as an inexorable long retreat. — Patrick J. Buchanan
So contrary to popular belief, Republicans aren't "The Stupid Party." They're the Evil Party Part Deux.
Your taxes are going up because, despite having complete control of the government for many years, Republicans put an expiration date on the Bush tax cuts. In other words, they wanted to raise your taxes and even planned for it.
Sure, they tell their gullible constituents that they're doing so to "permanently prevent" tax increases, but that is a bald-faced lie. Short of amending the Constitution, there's nothing they can do to prevent a future Congress from raising taxes. But, let's face it, even that would be iffy. Certainly no Congress in my lifetime has given a rat's behind about the Constitution (supposedly the law of the land).
Even someone following the budget negotiations closely might be surprised to learn that there are no real cuts on the table in the way normal people think of them. That goes for Republican proposals, too. For example, households may decide to reduce their holiday spending this year from $750 to $500 and forgo the summer family vacation because times are tough. Those are spending cuts.
Washington is the only place where a cut isn't a cut. Instead, so-called spending cuts are reductions in the growth rate of outlays as prescribed under current law. Nothing is cut … these are cuts in the accelerating growth rate of these programs.
The daily bullshit coming out of Washington, DC, has got to be 100 miles deep.
Don't fall for their crap.
Don't blame your Democratic friend or Republican neighbor. And don't for a moment think you have some imaginary duty to cough up even more of your hard-earned dough.
Politicians are to blame.
It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. — G. K. Chesterton
Republicans Could Win (if they wanted to)
Those thieving, lying, criminal politicians who reside on the Potomac caused this mess all by themselves.
The first clause of Article 1, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution reads:
All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
This means that the House of Representatives (currently controlled by Republicans) holds the exclusive power to raise revenues and spend money. The president does not have the authority to do either. He may make proposals and/or veto them, but Congress retains the power to ignore the president altogether.
In other words, (right now) Republicans are in the driver's seat.
Instead of posturing over tax rates and "loopholes," the GOP (who again, controls the House) could pass a bill with genuine budget cuts and no tax increases, thereby forcing either the Senate Democrats to vote against it or Obama to veto the bill himself. This puts the pressure on the Democrats. Then, whenever the Democrats and/or media starts yapping about raising taxes, Republicans could pivot to the fact that the best way to shrink the debt is to shrink the government.
But that ain't happening … They're strangely following the path laid by Obama.
Because that's precisely the path they want to travel.
They want more government revenue.