Last night, it became clear that America is likely to go over the “fiscal cliff” of modest spending reductions and massive tax hikes. The House of Representatives, which has been negotiating with President Obama for weeks on a way around much of the “cliff,” was unable to pass Speaker Boehner’s “Plan B,” which would have kept taxes as they are for all but the top 2% of taxpayers and pushed for a small amount of spending reductions over the next decade.
There are many reasons for the failure of “Plan B.” Most of the media is highlighting aggressive opposition by Tea Party-minded Members of Congress, those few Members who refuse to compromise on long-held principles. Many conservative media sources are blaming Speaker Boehner, who negotiated from a position of tax increases from the start, never holding to the principles he claims to believe in. However, in all reality, the blame lies almost entirely on President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Before “Plan B” was up for a vote, President Obama and Senator Reid had already declared the legislation dead. The Senate departed Washington until after Christmas, and President Obama went on vacation. For them, raising taxes on millionaires in exchange for very modest spending reductions in order to prevent most taxpayers from seeing tax hikes is less important than political games. The President and Reid should be ashamed, yet they are being given significant cover in the national media.
Why should Americans care about the prioritization of political games over actual policy? Consider what happens if we go over the “fiscal cliff”:
- A major study in July found that several expiring tax provisions from the Bush-era tax policies and the Affordable Care Act would cost the country 710,000 jobs.
- As columnist Walter Williams pointed out on December 6, imposing a 100% tax on all households earning more than $250,000 – the “wealthy,” according to the President and Senator Reid – would keep Washington running for 190 days. And that’s only if all dollars went to the federal government; state and local governments would find themselves in significant trouble without taxes from the “wealthy.”
- An October 16, 2012 study by Congressional Research Service on means-tested welfare benefits for the poor (not including veterans’ programs) found over one trillion dollars in federal and state budgets are dedicated to these programs. This means welfare recipients are receiving about 20% more income than the median American worker.
- Many in the media and Washington are accusing Tea Party-minded politicians of causing the dive over the “fiscal cliff.” Yet it is fiscal conservatives who have led the fight for real spending reforms, as Tea Party Patriots has outlined over the last 12 days . Greater cultivation of energy resources, repealing Obamacare, enacting Senator Rand Paul’s (R-KY) budget, and other ideas highlighted by Tea Party Patriots would do a great deal more good for the United States than raising taxes.
- One of the most important solutions Tea Party Patriots has outlined for making the American economy better and providing more opportunity for the American people is tax cuts. The fact is that government has a spending problem, not a revenue problem, yet politicians continue to say tax increases are necessary to reduce the deficit. Cutting taxes would prove how dishonest this is, especially if those tax cuts were combined with legitimate spending cuts.
As January 1 nears, the national media and most politicians will blame Tea Party-minded Americans for the fiscal cliff. Yet this ignores the failure by Speaker Boehner to properly negotiate with the President, and it ignores the willingness of Washington Democrats to play politics instead of doing what’s best for the American people. As we get closer to the cliff, let’s be sure we make the American people aware of the facts.