Jump

Clinton-era income tax rates, we are told, were positively the best things ever to bless the American economy.  Higher taxes yielded untold boons:  budget surpluses; robust economic growth; intern White House pizza delivery—an unbroken chain of beneficent causality.

However, if current tax rates—curiously referred to as the Bush tax cuts more than a decade after passage—expire and we go the Full Clinton (in the economic sense), higher taxes will push the economy over a fiscal cliff and into another of those recessionary crises that Rahm Emanuel was so fond of not wasting a few years back.

What gives?  After all, celebrated investor Warren Buffett assures us that, notwithstanding his contrary actions and counsel over fifty years, marginal tax rates have no effect on investment decision-making.  And we have a $1.3 trillion annual federal budget gap to close somehow before Mr. Bernanke runs out of real assets to buy with imaginary money, not to mention some $60+ trillion in unfunded obligations looming just over the horizon.

If the Clinton tax rates were so great then why not have them all back, along with some modest reductions in the rate of spending growth courtesy of the Budget Control Act of 2011—the dreaded sequester?  Let President Obama extoll the Clinton tax hikes to the 111 million taxpayers affected, including the 5 million added back onto the income tax rolls.

Negotiating with ourselves is not working, and the president is doing nothing substantive—unless you credit preparations for his $4 million three-week Hawaiian vacation.  Mr. Obama hopes to splinter the Republican Party on a political cliff of his design, thereby fixing the ascendancy of his new New Deal coalition.  Let’s disappoint him:  why not link arms and jump?

  1. Lavaux

    So says this broken record:

    1. Democrats and their MSM propaganda partners will assign blame to the GOP for everything blameworthy regardless of facts, reason or truth.

    2. Facts, reason and truth no longer matter in politics; This is the dawning of the Age of Orwell.

    3. The federal government and the Democrat Party are in a symbiotic relationship whose primary interests are hostile to America’s interests as understood at her founding. The MSM and the Democrat Party also share a similar symbiotic relationship, one of whose primary goals is to destroy the GOP.

    4. The vast majority of America’s adults are too ignorant, foolish or dependent on government to wisely self-govern.

    5. Americans want a federal welfare state that they’re not willing to pay for and probably could not afford even if they were willing to pay.

    6. The cost of the current welfare state is approximately 50% of every American’s gross pay.

    These are the facts. So what do you do if you’re Boehner? I think you go over the cliff while telling Americans that everyone must pay a lot more for what they’re getting from government. Pay less get less.

  2. Paul Erickson
    Scott Reusser: The rub: Immediately post-cliff, Dems would propose a tax cut for those making under 200 grand (or whatever). Would Republicans then officially become the party that resists such cuts? Would Dems then officially become the party that favors such cuts? That would be a disasterous reversal of party reputations, I’m afraid.

    A better idea might be one outlined by Guy Benson at Townhall: Republicans should unequivocally embrace Bowles-Simpson. Submit it asour bill. Force Obama to reject his own commission’s proposal. If he does, then he puts himself in a much weaker position politically than he’s in now. On the other hand, if he accepts it, then we have a deal that is on balance pretty conservative — certainly more conservative than anything we can reasonably expect in the current circumstances.

    What do you think of Benson’s idea, George? Personally, I can’t find a down side. · 7 hours ago

    Edited 7 hours ago

    Joe and Jane Voter don’t connect the administration with this thing called “Simpson-Bowles” (or Bowles-Simpson.)  The idea is sound, but don’t expect Obama to pay a price for rejecting it.

  3. HVTs
    Paul Erickson

    Joe and Jane Voter don’t connect the administration with this thing called “Simpson-Bowles” (or Bowles-Simpson.)  The idea is sound, but don’t expect Obama to pay a price for rejecting it.

    I think this is an important point.  Simpson-Bowles is already flushed down the memory hole of all but the highest of high-information voters.

    If the opposition wanted to make it a serious source of distinction, they should have done so when it was in the news and then hung with it through the electoral cycle. In fact, that will be a source of criticism: if it was such a good idea, why was so little heard about S-B during an excruciatingly long primary season or during the Romney-Ryan campaign?

    It’s hard to imagine that in dragging S-B out now it will magically gain traction it never did before.  If nothing else, put the old wine in a new bottle. Acknowledge the new plan’s antecedents, but don’t make that a prominent selling point.

  4. Scott R
    Paul Erickson

    Scott Reusser:

    A better idea might be one outlined by Guy Benson at Townhall: Republicans should unequivocally embrace Bowles-Simpson. Submit it asour bill. Force Obama to reject his own commission’s proposal. If he does, then he puts himself in a much weaker position politically than he’s in now. On the other hand, if he accepts it, then we have a deal that is on balance pretty conservative — certainly more conservative than anything we can reasonably expect in the current circumstances.

    What do you think of Benson’s idea, George? Personally, I can’t find a down side.

     

    Joe and Jane Voter don’t connect the administration with this thing called “Simpson-Bowles” (or Bowles-Simpson.)  The idea is sound, but don’t expect Obama to pay a price for rejecting it.

    Surely some voters know what Simpson-Bowles is — the electorate being a continuum of ignorance. And surely some would learn during the course of the news coverage.

    But even if you’re right, Paul, we still wouldn’t be in any worse place than we are now. Which means we still haven’t found a down side to this strategy.

  5. Herbert Woodbery

    Go over the cliff, then dems propose middle class tax relief, are the republicans really gonna gonna say to the American peeps…. We don’t want those earning under 250k to get tax cuts?

  6. Herbert Woodbery

    TThe rub: Immediately post-cliff, Dems would propose a tax cut for those making under 200 grand (or whatever). Would Republicans then officially become the party that resists such cuts? Would Dems then officially become the party that favors such cuts? That would be a disasterous reversal of party reputations, I’m afraid.Exactly

  7. Scott R
    HVTs

     

     

    I think this is an important point.  Simpson-Bowles is already flushed down the memory hole of all but the highest of high-information voters.

    If the opposition wanted to make it a serious source of distinction, they should have done so when it was in the news and then hung with it through the electoral cycle. In fact, that will be a source of criticism: if it was such a good idea, why was so little heard about S-B during an excruciatingly long primary season or during the Romney-Ryan campaign?

     

    …..because during the campaign we were offering our own plan. Now, post-loss, we’re acknowledging the defeat of our plan and offering a compromise — which, lucky for us, happens to be relatively conservative.

    Pounding home the point that Obama is rejecting his own commission’s proposal for a bipartisan compromise is the least bad place for Republicans to be right now. And certainly having that rejection on the record strengthens us down the road if/when the negotiations completely break down.  

     So, in a sense, this plan would lay the groundwork for George’s plan.

  8. billy

    I hate to say it, but I think you are right.

  9. Steven Jones

    Too true. Progressives have spent most of the past decade waxing nostalgic over Clintonion tax rates – they ought to be delighted at the prospect of their return.

    Incidentally, why don’t Democrats own the Fiscal Cliff? Wasn’t it they who insisted that the Bush rates must have an expiration date? Haven’t they declined every opportunity to make the rates permanent?

    Own it, Progs!

  10. Leigh
    Scott Reusser

     – the electorate being a continuum of ignorance.  17 minutes ago

    Argument aside, I love this phrase. 

    I’m inclined to like the Bowles-Simpson idea.  Sometimes bipartisanship is your best defense when you’re accused of unreasonable nastiness.

    “All we’re asking the President to do is to follow his own debt commission’s recommendations.”  Far easier to make that argument in 30 seconds than anything else the Republicans can come up with.

  11. Fake John Galt

    I am for letting them expire. If Obama does not like them then let him make his own tax cuts and push them through. We can then spend the next 10 years complaining about his tax cuts.

  12. Punumba!

    Why don’t we join hands and jump?  Because the economy would crash and Republicans, not Democrats would get the blame.  And really, they don’t want the return of the Clinton tax rates, they only want the return of the Clinton tax rate on those making over $250 thousand a year…

  13. HVTs

    Yup, it’s time to stop arguing and just hunker down.  All those who oppose Obama and that walking soporific Harry Reid should just vote ‘present.’ Americans can then see what happens when Alinskyites get exactly what they want.  Too few people pay federal income tax and this is a chance to start correcting that reality  Why soften the blow on Democrat voters while socking it to mainstream Republican supporters?

  14. David John

    As I’ve proposed before on this blog, PULL THEM OVER THE FINISH LINE!  It’s an old jujitsu move, when they lunge, pull!

    Most people barely notice the gradual degradation of morals and economy.  But if disaster comes quickly there might be enough people nostalgic about free markets.

    Otherwise, we are destined to live in “interesting times”.  For me? I just want to see what happens next! History is happening.

  15. Roberto
    George Savage:   Let’s disappoint him:  why not link arms and jump? · · 54 minutes ago

    Channeling your inner Krauthammer I see Mr. Savage. You have a point, you both do.

    The ideal appeals if for no other reason that it would be well to see Speaker Boehner finally show some spine. 

  16. HVTs
    Scott Reusser: The rub: Immediately post-cliff, Dems would propose a tax cut for those making under 200 grand (or whatever). Would Republicans then officially become the party that resists such cuts?

    Agreed . . . that’s the Dem’s next gambit.  Two possible responses.

    1. Out class-warfare the class warfighters.  Forget $200K . . . make it families earning $100K, singles making $50K … the real middle class, not the faux middle class living on federal Senior Executive Service or General Officer salaries in leafy Washington suburbs. The strategic goal: with skin in the IRS game, voters think twice about government give-aways like Obamaphones. Getting more and more tax payers at lower and lower income levels is a political winner for those seeking  fiscal sanity.  It requires demonizing the notion that at over $100K you’re still middle-class and can have your federal government for free.

    2. Accept one-for-one tax cuts with spending cuts. Dems look ridiculous if they oppose fiscally neutral tax cuts in the face of massive deficits.  This concedes Republicans lost the fight for spending cuts exceeding revenue growth. They lost because, well … Republicans @#$& at Presidential politics. [McCain '08. Romney '12. I rest my case.]

  17. Butters

    Bad idea, we don’t have the media or quality leadership to make this argument and avoid getting all the blame.

    the GOP may get the blame regardless, but they will definitely get the blame if the House fails to pass a bill that extends the middle/lower tax brackets

  18. HVTs
    Punumba!: Why don’t we join hands and jump?  Because the economy would crash and Republicans, not Democrats would get the blame.  And really, they don’t want the return of the Clinton tax rates, they only want the return of the Clinton tax rate on those making over $250 thousand a year…

    As though Republicans won’t get blamed when the economy fails to recover because America’s entrepreneurs/small business owners are robbed of the incentive to invest, grow and innovate?  Since they get blamed either way, why give Democrats the red meat they need to feed their base?  Call the sucker’s  bluff and let him explain the expanded tax rolls, and a collapsed defense-dependent Virgina economy. 

  19. Scott R

    The rub: Immediately post-cliff, Dems would propose a tax cut for those making under 200 grand (or whatever). Would Republicans then officially become the party that resists such cuts? Would Dems then officially become the party that favors such cuts? That would be a disasterous reversal of party reputations, I’m afraid.

    A better idea might be one outlined by Guy Benson at Townhall: Republicans should unequivocally embrace Bowles-Simpson. Submit it as our bill. Force Obama to reject his own commission’s proposal. If he does, then he puts himself in a much weaker position politically than he’s in now. On the other hand, if he accepts it, then we have a deal that is on balance pretty conservative — certainly more conservative than anything we can reasonably expect in the current circumstances.

    What do you think of Benson’s idea, George? Personally, I can’t find a down side.

  20. Scott R

    Here’s the link to Guy Benson’s argument for the Simpson-Bowles strategy. He makes the case better than me.

    Leigh

     

     

    “All we’re asking the President to do is to follow his own debt commission’s recommendations.”  Far easier to make that argument in 30 seconds than anything else the Republicans can come up with. · 34 minutes ago

    Yep.

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