Beyond the Cusp

January 3, 2013

They Surrendered to President Obama and Passed on Promises

Well, as everybody who has functioning senses probably knows by now, the Congress has given President Obama a good measure of everything he desired without extracting even a single sacrifice from the White House. Alright, so they pared the salary up from $200,000.00 for singles and $250,000.00 for couples and families all the way to $400,000.00 for singles and $450,000.00 for couples and families to be punished for their success with higher taxes. The good news about this is now it will be only those making closing in on half a billion dollars who will now move the vast percentage of their investments overseas where they will be safe from the increased penalties from increasing taxes instead of those making around a quarter of a billion dollars. Even so, with estate taxes being raised significantly and capital gains taxes also being raised measurably, these will force the investor class to place their monies in safe havens and pass them on to their descendants in measured ways which work around the estate taxes. By increasing the capital gains and estate taxes the government will likely cause the opposite of what they have been peddling to the public and the government will actually receive less in revenues from these taxes than had they left them at the lower rate where it was not cost effective to play the avoidance games. They extended unemployment insurance for an additional year without bothering to figure out how to pay for it leaving it to be simply added to the deficit. It will not be that much money so it will hardly be noticed. But all of this is the least of the disappointments.

The depression many fiscal conservatives are feeling today has to do with the lack of spending cuts, not exactly lack as complete dearth of spending cuts or even reductions of increases. The vote to pass this legislation, which has laughably been referred to as a compromise, had one defining item, the kicking of budget cuts down the road, even the presumed ones that were to take effect as part of the fiscal cliff, making for another crisis now scheduled for around March 1, 2013. This is more serious than it will be reported as it will lead to another round of panic, screaming and insanity which will allow President Obama and his Democrat allies in Congress along with a compliant media to again assail the Republicans with charges of obstructionism. In the end there will be yet another compromise which will give mere lip service to spending cuts while gaining concessions from the Republicans which will bring them that much closer to their goals of tax increases back to the Clinton administration levels for those earning $200,000.00 to $250,000.00 annual incomes. The likelihood that even come March the compromise will once again kick the spending cuts can down the road is far too high. One has to realize that we are expecting a Congress in which the Senate is still under the direction of Harry Reid who has refused to even allow a budget to reach committee, let alone come to the floor for a vote, in over three years. Does anyone honestly believe that anything will change during the second term of President Obama? The President and his facilitators in the Congress have realized that by not passing a budget and instead voting for continuing resolutions to keep the government running they are able to increase spending in whatever department they feel favorably towards simply by giving it an increase every few months when it comes up for its turn for a continuing resolution. By this method they can actually increase spending beyond inflation and have done so already with the largest increases coming in the first eighteen months of President Obama’s first term when the Democrats had unopposable majorities in both Houses of Congress. This fiscal cliff so-called compromise is simply another of those continuing resolutions under a different name and the next few will all be called fiscal cliff compromises but a continuing resolution by any other name is just as damning to those Republicans who allow such to pass in the House of Representatives. This little fact leads me to what I find the most distressing of the maneuverings and sleight of hand going on in the Halls of Power.

There exists one thing which those who are still voting for responsible governance and honestly wish to gain control over spending and actually address deficit spending and the national debt can still do that will make those willing to go along rather than take a principled stand have to pay a price. Every time when the House of Representatives reach the critical vote on one of these boondoggles, we need to insist that the news sources publish lists in order to tie every Representative to their vote so when they stand for reelection in the next elections they have to explain their vote. This may not have much of an effect on the final vote taken now, but it has the potential to give the voters in the home district know if their Representative was voting as they had hoped they would. This opens up the possibility for candidates to be proffered to their constituents who is willing to take the hard principled stand and better represent the desires of the people. Making each member of the House of Representatives answer to their name with a Yes or Nay vote which can be recorded and played during the next campaign may be the best medicine to wake up some of the wayward Representatives and bring them back to walking the line. And if such does not convince some to vote to uphold their election promises, then so be it and may we find a brave and solid candidate to replace them. That is the way to make progress, make every member vote on the record and note where each stands when the chips are down and their backs are against the wall.

Beyond the Cusp

December 18, 2012

The Fiscal Cliff Negotiations and Republican Gullibility

The latest rumors circulating about the negotiations between Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner and United States President Barack Obama are finally making progress. Of course, this all depends on one’s definition of progress. According to some in the media there is movement in the negotiations and apparently both sides are giving a little to get a little. The stories vary slightly from one source to the next but there are a few items which have proven to be consistent over multiple sources. So, what does reading the tea leaves reveal about this swirling fog that shrouds the entire debate over the fiscal cliff?

Well, the latest news is that only a few small details stand between the two sides and avoidance of falling over the self-imposed doomsday fiscal cliff. It is said that Speaker Boehner has agreed to allow some amount of tax increase on the top two tax brackets which covers people who make well over $200,000.00 a year while President Obama is granting that cuts will be made on entitlement spending in the future. If this is really the agreement, then obviously the Republican leadership has once again failed to learn from history. They are falling for the Wimpy argument of I’ll gladly pay you next Tuesday for a hamburger today. Tuesday, or cuts to entitlements in the future somehow never seem to arrive. I like to call this the tomorrow promise which goes like this, “My guarantee to you is whenever we talk about my promise I will restate my intentions to do it tomorrow.” And what happens is every time you mention or even begin to broach the subject you are waved off with the simple mention of one word, tomorrow. This was the promise the Democrat Congress gave President Reagan when he cut taxes and they guaranteed to start cutting the budget starting with the next budget, which needless to say never came. This was the promise made to President “Read my lips, no new taxes” Bush who also never saw the reduction come to fruition. And the one thing I can guarantee Speaker Boehner is that he too will wait forever and a day and until there exists a majority of conservatives in both houses of Congress and in the White House and there will be no cuts to entitlement spending coming anywhere in the future. But who cares, Boehner has the complete support of the vast numbers of go along to get along RINOs who will laud him for his great courage and fortitude in obtaining an empty promise.

This has been the problem with the Republican Party for as long as I can remember with very few exceptions found in their leadership with the obvious exception, for the most part, being Ronald Reagan. Almost universally the rest of the leadership of the Republican Party honestly believe that the path to winning election is to move as close as possible to the Democrat position on all subjects in order to guarantee they will win that ever so overly-hyped middle of the road voters. There is one thing that is consistent about voters; they will vote for only one of two things, money in their own pockets and a principled candidate who stands firmly on his convictions and is offering an actual alternative which has the appeal of bettering life for everybody. If the Republicans continue to try and sell themselves as almost the same as the Democrats but slightly concerned with the principles of the constitution, enough to actually bother to mention its existence, then they will continue to lose as why would anybody who wanted a Democrat vote for the Republican offering to be Democrat-lite? The Republicans are not losing elections from not garnering sufficient votes from the center; they are losing by not getting the votes from the conservatives who are their base.

How can we say this when virtually every pundit after the election pointed to the numbers interpreting them in such a way as to indicate that President Obama won reelection precisely because he swayed the majority of the center voters. We would like to point out that many of those who report and interpret the news have a unique definition of the center. Their idea of the center are those voters who mostly hold views of a similar nature to those of the journalist, after all, the journalist is the best example of somebody who is from the center due to their presumed ability to cover the news free of any political bias. So, if the people who are claiming that in order to win the candidates need to win the votes from the people who most closely mirror the views of most journalists, then their suggestion is that candidates need to be well left of center progressives in order to win. The majority of journalists underestimates and even ignore that there are people who strongly believe in the Constitution and actually would be in favor of the government being pared down by applying the governmental limits from the Constitution to reduce the size and scope of government. If one takes the time to inspect the actual numbers one would find that in this last election Mitt Romney received less votes from Evangelical Christians, Tea Party members, and many other conservative, libertarian, Constitutionalists, and other right wing voters than had John McCain four years earlier. This is what sunk the Presidential aspirations of Mitt Romney. Statistically, had Mitt Romney received the same numbers of votes from the entire gauntlet of libertarians, Constitutionalists, social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, and other right of center voters as had voted for John McCain, then Mitt Romney would have won the election and we would be awaiting a Republican being sworn into the White House this January instead of a reinduction of President Obama.

So, Speaker of the House John Boehner, leader of the Republicans and supposed conservative leader in the House of Representatives, do yourself, the Republican Party, and the people of the United States a favor and refuse to allow any tax increase without an immediate across the board reduction in entitlement and social spending. No promises of future cuts or of intentions to make cuts, hard, noticeable, real, and actual cuts in entitlement and social spending now or no deal. And make as much noise and yell your convictions that there will be no tax increase without real spending cuts while you are Speaker of the House. Even if in January and after we have gone over the fiscal cliff and President Obama comes to the congress and asks that you legislate tax cuts for those making less than $250,000.00 a year and again says that spending cuts can be discussed down the road and that tax cuts are the immediate item which is needed for the country, once again stand on principles and demand that if there will be tax cuts only for those who the President favors and not across the board for everybody, then this requires spending cuts be made at the same time. Take the stand that everybody gets to keep their current tax burden and that if the President demands otherwise then he has to grant your demand of spending cuts. You are the Speaker of the House and as such you are equal in power to prevent legislation from becoming law as is the President. Stand firm and you will likely be surprised at the support you will find.

Beyond the Cusp

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