Four Walls Hide Debt-Ceiling Talks That Put Real Lives at Stake
by Gary Bauer
Any minute now, we peasants will be informed of the results of the debt-ceiling negotiations. Both sides say there is a 50-50 chance of an agreement. I confess that I am nervous, as every pro-growth, low-tax conservative should be.
Obama ran for President promising transparency in government, yet the public—and most of Congress—won't know for sure what happened until the chosen few walk out on the White House lawn and announce the deal. A smoke screen of rhetoric and posturing blocks the real negotiations, hiding from all public view the real stakes in the game, the real lives and livelihoods in the balance.
As a former White House adviser in the Reagan administration, I understand the desire for privacy. But if the doors were open on this negotiation, laughter from the heartland would drown out the proceedings. Surely none but committed Obamanauts believe that the very man who buried us so deeply into debt during the last two years is credibly negotiating to reduce the debt. Obama rides to the rescue to save us from—Obama.
Those reporters who have been graced with strategic leaks from insiders suggest the GOP may sign on to some revenue raisers as well as $600 billion to $700 billion in cuts to national defense. I don't like either idea. The United States has plenty of revenues on the plate now—what is needed is more elected officials with smaller appetites.
On defense, the U.S. should be trimming fat but using the savings to upgrade weapon systems in an increasingly dangerous world. National security is the main responsibility of the federal government, but when liberals are in power, it is the first thing put on the chopping block.
There are other obvious problems too. Any tax hikes would be immediate, while the spending cuts are spread over a decade. A future liberal Congress could easily break the deal, and history teaches us that they inevitably would break it. Obama himself could, and likely would, renege on it if he manages to get reelected and reverses GOP gains in Congress.
Surely no Republican at the table trusts the man on the other side who has regularly used raw class warfare rhetoric and has been in reelection mode since November 2010. A GOP deal that broke the no-tax-hike pledge would so demoralize the GOP base that Obama's reelection would be much more likely.
No doubt the negotiations have been difficult. Obama is an ideologue, replete with all the obsessions that spring from left-wing dementia. He thinks America needs more government. He is committed to income redistribution. And he is a taxaholic.
Every month of the Obama Presidency has been a month of high unemployment and little or no economic growth. Yet through it all he has never wavered in his commitment to take a larger bite out of the small businesses, entrepreneurs and investors who are the only hope for job creation.
The President fought vehemently to prevent the extension of the Bush tax cuts. If he had succeeded, our economy would have suffered a $636 billion hit over the next decade. He buried in his 3,000-page health care bill new Medicare taxes and a 3.8% surtax on certain investment income for individuals making more than $200,000 a year—a group he insists on calling "millionaires and billionaires."
He wants to impose the 15% Social Security tax on all income, and his latest budget would limit the ability of many taxpayers to fully deduct their mortgage interest and their charitable donations. The hit on mortgage interest would further damage a housing market already on its back. The limit on the charitable deductions would hurt the very charities that are already spread thin trying to assist the many victims of the Obama recession.
So far Republicans have been able to block many of the worst tax proposals. It is hard to say "no" to a taxaholic, but the GOP has to do it. The only thing that matters now is jobs.
After two and a half years of Obama's policies, the miracle of the U.S. economic system has been ground down to the point that it only produced 18,000 jobs in June. Not one tax being pushed by Obama will create one job. In fact, taxes are job killers, as businesses must take the money that might be paid to an employee to give it to Uncle Sam.
If anyone on the GOP negotiating team has forgotten that, bench them and bring into the game Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.
He went to the Senate floor July 6 and gave the speech that should be the core GOP 2012 argument. He said in part:
"We don't need new taxes. We need new taxpayers, people that are gainfully employed, making money and paying into the tax system. Then we need a government that has the discipline to take that additional revenue and use it to pay down the debt and never grow it again. That's what we should be focused on, and that's what we're not focused on.
"You look at all these taxes being proposed, and here's what I say. I say we should analyze every single one of them through the lens of job creation, issue No. 1 in America. I want to know which one of these taxes they're proposing will create jobs. I want to know how many jobs are going to be created by the plane tax. How many jobs are going to be created by the oil company tax I heard so much about. How many jobs are created by going after the millionaires and billionaires the President talks about? "
Just seven months ago, a Democrat Senate and House in a lame duck session working hand in hand with a Democrat White House could not force through a tax increase on any American. A Republican House and a more Republican Senate shouldn't empower Obama to do so now, no matter what "deal" he offers.