Super committee failure is preferable to Republicans allowing their focus to drift from the only issue that matters — government spending.
Although it scares me greatly to wish for the same thing as Paul Krugman, I, like that master of Progressive misdirection, am pleased that the “Super Committee” of Congress, assigned to find a way to reduce our debt and deficits, is on the brink of failure.
It’s not that I’m opposed to movement to fix our very serious fiscal issues. Rather it’s that the only possible deal from a committee which includes John Kerry (D-MA) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) is a bad deal. We should consider ourselves fortunate that Democrats weren’t smart enough to say yes to Republicans’ attempt to cave in on taxes. Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) asked rhetorically “Do we look stupid?” In fact, they now do — though they’re probably not smart enough to realize it.
It’s taken years to screw up our finances this badly. Another 14 months isn’t going to make it that much worse.
Rather than take a bad deal — meaning any deal that increases tax revenue other than by increasing economic activity — Republicans must focus on repeatedly putting forward solid budget-cutting and entitlement-reforming legislation. The best path toward electoral success is to show the electorate that Democrats are utterly irresponsible with our national fisc and to remind voters that just as households cut back on expenditures when times are tough, so must the federal government.
Don’t forget, as Milton Friedman taught us, government will spend as much money as it takes in, plus however much more it can get away with. Thus the idea of raising taxes as budgetarily beneficial is simply a dangerous misdirection. Increasing tax rates — which always generates less increased revenue than the CBO’s static modelers predict — will reduce spending cuts by reducing the need for politicians to make hard decisions.
Again, Friedman: The true burden of government is not the deficit; it’s not even the taxes. It’s the spending.
Focusing on the budget deficit is like focusing on a magician’s waving right hand while he slides the card from his sleeve with his left. Of course he wants you to focus on the right hand, but an experienced watcher of magic won’t be fooled. If you want to get our fiscal house in order, therefore, do not focus on the deficit — the Democrats’ waving hand — but on spending.
If we’re aiming to cut 4 trillion dollars of deficit, for example, as the Simpson-Bowles Commission suggested, then a plan that is even one-quarter tax increases lets the politicians off the hook as far as finding a trillion dollars of spending cuts.
Rather than compromise with Democrats just for the sake of getting something done, let’s aim to oust Democrats from control of anything in Washington and then put a good plan in place.
I say this as someone who is generally a strong supporter of divided government.
But in most of our past, the minority party was the loyal opposition. Today’s Democrats (only the minority in the House, to be clear) are the tools of radical leftists from environmentalists to union thugs and of statists and parasites like teachers’ unions and trial lawyers. They are loyal to those special interests regardless of cost to the nation and should therefore be excluded from influencing power over important policy and regulation to the greatest degree possible.
It is the Republicans’ job to make voters understand that — a hard sale for a party that barely a decade ago was as unworthy of voter support as today’s Democrats are and which still hasn’t convinced many of us that their reborn fiscal sanity evangelism is heartfelt. (Every episode such as their trying to “compromise” with John Kerry makes their commitment less credible.)
As barely-convincing as Republicans may still be regarding the importance of spending restraint, persistent 9 percent unemployment is a harsh and effective teacher — better than any Republican other than perhaps Ronald Reagan could be, and even he had the advantage of coming out of the Jimmy Carter economy. Seeing the destruction of Greece and near panic in Italy and Spain also helps get the message across. American workers are finally learning the true bitterness of the crop sowed by Progressive, anti-capitalist, us-versus-them policy — the very crop that the Occupy Wall Street movement and the NLRB want to plant more of in our once productive economic fields.
Just as it’s not a “compromise” to take a teaspoon of poison rather than a tablespoon, congressional Republicans should not compromise with their Democrat counterparts. Instead, the goal must simply be to beat them.
For today, the left seems to think that a Super Committee failure will allow Republicans to be demonized as do-nothing, millionaire-coddling obstructionists. But John Kerry and friends are betting on the wrong horse. Super Committee Republicans came to the table offering increased tax revenue through soak-the-rich tax code changes that would, for higher-income Americans, limit deductions such as for mortgage interest and charitable contributions. Karl Marx would have been proud that conservative “stalwarts” like Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) were willing to play into the class warriors’ hands simply out of a desire to reach an agreement — and Democrats still said “no.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?