December 11, 2012
A Modest Proposal
So the Conventional Wisdom has spoken on the matter of the "fiscal cliff," and it basically puts Republicans between a rock and a hard place. Neither of the choices they have are particularly palatable:
- Walk away from the negotiating table and allow the Bush tax cuts to expire, thus raising taxes on everyone. Some might say that this is the most fair option, but aside from the terrible optics ("See, the Republicans let taxes go up on the middle class just so they wouldn't anger their rich masters!") it also won't make a piff of difference in the long or short run. Democrats will simply fire off a bill to cut middle class tax rates after January 1, which Republicans will have to support -- lest they be cast as the party of tax hikes. As a bonus, Barack Obama once again gets to cast himself as the champion of the little guy.
- Boehner rolls over gives Obama everything he wants. This one is almost as bad as option 1, because it would ruin the Republican base and most likely create a full-scale Tea Party/Club for Growth led revolt -- which is rather the point from the president's perspective.
Either way, it's a lose-lose for the Republicans, which is why they've been desperately searching for some way to make their inevitable defeat on this issue a bit easier to swallow. Right now, they're hoping to squeeze some kind of entitlement reform into the deal -- but with the president thinking he holds all the cards (which, to be perfectly fair, he does), he's unlikely to give Boehner anything. To wit, the Dems have already telegraphed that there simply isn't time to devise any meaningful reforms before the year ends.
This, however, is where the Republicans just might have an opening. Obviously, entitlement reform polls well with a significant chunk of the electorate (otherwise the Dems wouldn't even pay it lip service). So why not use that for a little negotiating leverage? Republicans could propose an interim deal which looks something like this:
- An agreement to raise tax rates on upper-income earners (which is inevitable anyway) by some pre-determined amount -- but only after implementation of needed entitlement reforms.
- An extension of the Bush-era tax rates for another six months so as to avoid the fiscal cliff, and also give Congress enough time to hammer out the details of said entitlement reforms.
Granted, Obama probably won't like the terms of the deal one bit; but such a proposal would seem reasonable to the majority of the American public. Plus it would put the ball squarely back in Obama's court, and force him to prove to the American people that he's putting our interests above his own political position. If he refuses -- well, let's just say it'll go a way toward showing everyone what an extremist he really is.
It's worth a shot, anyway. What say you, Republicans?
Hatched by Korso on this day, December 11, 2012, at the time of 6:02 AM
The following hissed in response by: snochasr
The best solution, IMHO, is for the House to immediately pass a bull extending the Bush middle class tax rates IMMEDIATELY, and force the Senate and Obama to oppose it. If they want to crow that they "raised rates on the rich" let them have that victory, along with all the blame that will follow, because this tax increase solves all the problems of the fiscal cliff, right? Seems to me that turns their whole advantage back on itself, a sort of political judo.
The following hissed in response by: Evilned
Let it burn.
We are going to collapse anyway thanks to the "Compromisers" who only care about their personal power and sinecures.
Boehner is purging the conservative/Tea party reps from any positions that might interfere with his attempts to screw the people.
Obama wants to raise taxes? Let him. Vote "Present" and let the Democrats own the whole mess.
The following hissed in response by: Korso
@Evilned, I'll admit there's a part of me that feels the same way about just letting it all collapse, that it's going to happen anyway and we should just wash our hands of it. But then I think about what life is like in a failed nation, and that there's no way in hell I want to hand that down to my kids. I want them to grow up in an America that at least has a passing resemblance to the one I grew up in. Because of that, I'm invested in the future. Giving up isn't an option.
That said, there's also a flaw in your logic: Do you honestly believe that the media establishment will EVER allow Obama and the Democrats to "own" any kind of failure? Have they held Obama accountable for his failed policies over the last four years? Nope and nope. No matter what happens, they'll shift the blame. In fact, that's the very heart of their strategy over these "fiscal cliff" negotiations.
No, what conservative activists have to do is start waging asymmetrical warfare, the same way the Democrats have been doing it for the last couple of generations. We need to take the fight to where they live: in the popular culture, in the news media, and -- most importantly -- in the education system. There are ways to accomplish this too detailed to get into here, and yes it will take years to accomplish -- but until we stop thinking tactically and start thinking strategically, we will continue to lose ground.
The following hissed in response by: DKDwyer
Obama, Geithner and Reid are not negotiating in good faith in the first place, so Boehner should just go ahead and say so, announcing they're gonna just pass a 3-6 mo extension of the Bush tax cuts and extend the sequestration deadline a similar amount, leaving it all to the next Congress and letting all these lame ducks go home to be with their families over the holidays. Either the Dems accept this or they don't, and if they don't, then they own the subsequent cliff diving exhibition.
As for revenue, given the Dems aren't serious about fixing the deficit else they'd be looking at ways to raise revenue instead of raising rates while revenues fall. (Cf. Britain's recent tax hike to 50% and subsequent drop in top earners by 60%.)
When they get back Republicans can pass something, Simpson-Bowles as the President's own plan that he then proceeded to ignore would be a good start. $3 in cuts for every $1 in taxes, add in Glenn Reynold's ideas for revenue enhancement via repeal of the Eisenhower tax cut (20% surcharge on gross movie receipts and because of modern technology in the entertainment industry... dvd's, cd's, downloads etc.) & the five-year 50% surcharge tax on all income in excess of what they made in public service for members of the executive branch who take low six figure jobs in govt and then go on to seven figure jobs in the public sector due to the experience and connections they made during their govt service. I'm sure listening to a bunch of Hollywood celebrities argue like Grover Norquist would be amusing if nothing else.
Similarly because of the deep and abiding love the entertainment industries have for the GOP, copyright reform would be something that our younger voters would appreciate. DMCA could be killed in favor of a return to earlier, easier copyright regimes where copyright only applies if you choose to apply for it with a duration of 50 years or life of the artist whichever comes first (and 50 may be a bit more than should be allowed but we want to ease the industry into this transition.) After all the purpose of copyright is not to allow corporations to make money in perpetuity but to promote innovation in the arts by allowing creators of intellectual property to enjoy a return on their efforts before it becomes part of our cultural heritage and the public domain. Perpetual copyright is destructive of that end just as an absence of copyright would be.
Remember originally copyright was only 28 yrs with an option to extend another 28 yrs if desired, so a flat 50 years is still quite generous.
Basically identify those big businesses that have been inimical to the GOP and/or friendly to the Dems and tax them as a way to finally make it clear that the GOP is not the party of big business and crony capitalist but the party of free markets and prosperity.
Yes in an ideal world the GOP would stand by its principles and let the whole shebang go, but politically that's a loser for the party and would only strengthen the Dems and their MSM operatives and weaken the GOP in the subsequent entitlement reform debates.
The following hissed in response by: Korso
Yeah, I'd pay cash money to see movie studio execs whining on MSNBC about how hiking taxes on the movie industry would force them to increase ticket prices and depress attendance. You mean that corporations pass taxes on to the CONSUMER? And that when things are more expensive, people buy LESS of them? Get out!
And the entertainment industry is among the worst offenders when it comes to special tax carve-outs and freebies (sports franchises are probably the absolute worst). I'd say it's high time that we take away their privileged status and see how fast they become country club Republicans.
The following hissed in response by: Bart Johnson
Give up. Let the sinisters win. Go home on vacation. Let the Dems tell the NYT anything they want. When you come back, deny you ever said any such thing. Stick their own to them.
The following hissed in response by: Geoman
Pass Simpson Bowles, exactly and unabrdiged, in the house.
Dare the senate and presdient to reject it.
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