Fiscal Cliff Diving
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Any responsible administration would have negotiated a deal on this "fiscal cliff" months ago.
Fake Crises Bringing Fake Solutions
All we are seeing right now is another manufactured crisis that the Democrats, those great bastions of government waste and fiscal irresponsibility, have foisted upon our nation with the express goal of using their media allies to smear the GOP and further the perception that Congressional Republicans are a bunch of uncompromising right-wing extremists.
This time, Republicans have no one to blame but themselves - to end the last manufactured crisis, the GOP agreed to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for the formation of a bi-partisan "super committee" that was charged with cutting $1.2 trillion. The big mistake the Republicans made was to bank on that super committee actually doing any cutting - it doesn't help to have a bipartisan budget cutting committee when only one party has any interest in actually making cuts. And for that matter, a bipartisan budget cutting committee is absolutely useless when the other party has refused to even pass a budget in three years - something the Democrat-controlled Senate still has not done to this day.
The Democrats and their media allies came on strong right out of the gate, continuing their same, tired criticism of Grover Norquist and the no-tax pledges signed by many Congressional Republicans. They always leave out, of course, the pledges to not reform money-sucking entitlement programs that many Democrats have signed and doggedly stood by. But Norquist is an easy target, and pointing fingers at him does nothing to fix our nation's spending problem.
And this is the problem: America's government is in the midst of one of the biggest government spending boondoggles in the history of Planet Earth, yet the Democratic Party lives in a state of denial. Like drug addicts, they are addicted to overspending, and our nation desperately needs to get them on a 12-step program. Step 1 is always admitting that there is a problem.
But according to the Left, America's problem is that we don't tax the rich enough. It isn't fair that those wealthy one-percenters, who already carry the vast majority of America's tax burden, are able to stash some money away. This misguided notion of socialist fairness is driving Europe into the poorhouse, yet the American Left blindly pushes on as though nothing is going on across the Atlantic. Democratic "fairness" always brings to mind this quote from Winston Churchill:
The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
So far, all the Democrats have offered are the same sorry ideas that have prevented America from seeing robust economic growth over the past four years, though the president definitely kicked it up a notch with his recent proposal. He proposed twice as many tax hikes as anyone had previously talked about, completely ineffectual spending cuts, another massive "stimulus" package, and stipulated that Congress hand over the power to raise the debt ceiling to the Executive Branch. To call the proposal ridiculous is putting it mildly - it truly is more of a bad joke than a serious proposal, and pretty much in line with President Obama's latest budget plan, which died a very sudden and painful death in the Senate earlier this year. It was a horrible plan back then, and it's just as bad today. They threw in some budgetary shell-games as a cheap attempt to make it look like a "balanced" approach, but overall, the president's proposal amounts to little more than a blank check with a power grab thrown in for good measure.
The GOP's counter-measure actually raises revenue by reforming the tax code without raising income tax rates, and includes some marginally significant spending cuts - still not enough for real deficit reduction, but better for America than any plan put forward by the Democrats thus far.
The White House has unequivocally rejected the GOP plan, bitterly clinging to their insistence that tax rates must be raised on the wealthiest Americans, no matter what.
The Democrats are guilty of exactly what they point fingers at the GOP for doing: no matter how reasonable the plan, they will reject it if it doesn't include the tax hikes they are so desperate for. The only problem is, raising taxes on the wealthy is not a solution. It will not raise revenues for the government; it will only further stifle our economy and cause long-term harm. It wasn't that long ago that England implemented their own tax-the-rich scheme, and recent numbers from that nation show that a large number of their millionaires moved away, causing revenues to plummet. There is no reason to believe that the same thing won't happen here if the Democrats move forward with their plan.
After the GOP released their proposal, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was quoted as saying that Republicans need to "get serious" about avoiding the fiscal cliff. Strong words coming from the leader of a Senate that hasn't even passed a budget in three years.
This is the problem with the Democrats' continued blame-shifting on all issues economic. No matter how many legitimate efforts are made by Republicans to introduce sanity and fiscal responsibility to Washington, they are always called extremists by the Left...and we can see where the Democrats' name calling has gotten us. Any responsible administration would have negotiated a deal on this "fiscal cliff" months ago - but because it is to the Democrats' advantage politically to wait until it becomes a "crisis" so that they can box in Republicans and play media blame games, we are stuck in crisis mode once again. Then, they just continue on the same path of temporary tax rate extensions so that we can do it all again next year. The Obama plan raised taxes on the rich, but extended tax rates for the middle class for one year, so under their plan, we will get to go through this same rigmarole all over again next Christmas. Meanwhile, we have no budget, and our debt continues to rise out of control.
Allowing America to go over the fiscal cliff would be better for our nation than to continue to play into the hands of the Democratic crisis-mongers. Uncertainty kills economic growth, and the Democrats have shown that they prefer to use uncertainty for political gain over providing a stable, reliable system that would allow our economy to grow. President Obama may have won the presidential election, but he has no mandate to hold America hostage for the furtherance of his economically brain-dead policies. Our nation needs real solutions, not just another Band-Aid that will carry us through to the next crisis.
Robert Cleveland, Senior Conservative Editor: Robert Cleveland is the IT Director for a document management services company. When he isn't working on computers and scanners, he's spending time with his wife and kids, or writing about just how jacked-up Washington politics is. He is a strong believer that hard work and freedom are what make America the greatest nation on the planet, and it is of the utmost importance that we never lose those values. Robert's other writing can be found at his blog, more...)