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

December 5, 2012

The Real Truth of the Fiscal Cliff

Polls have shown the influence of the media on public opinion as their results of polling on the fiscal cliff have become public. These polls universally trend showing that should no compromise be reached and the sequestration be imposed along with the Bush Tax Cuts, as they are called, being withdrawn, all consequences of hitting the deadline without making other arrangements, the Republicans are blamed by twice as many people as blame the Democrats. Much of this is due to the fact that the media has presented the Republican position as being simply demanding to retain the lower tax rates for the rich while the Democrat position has been reported as preserving government benefits programs. But what are the realities and which side is refusing to make any compromise? You just might be surprised how different the truth is to the reporting you have been fed consistently since the election ended.

The Republicans are standing to keep the current tax rates in place for every income while either placing monetary upper limits or elimination of some of the tax deductions and credits, many of which favor the upper income individuals but would not affect small business owners. The Republicans are calling for cuts to be made in numerous government programs in order to reduce spending to meet the requirements in place defining the fiscal cliff. The Democrats are proposing to simply raise taxes on people making over $250,000.00 a year who they define as millionaires or the rich as well as allowing Capital Gains Taxes to return to the previous higher level which will have a serious effect on anybody who sells their house or cashes in on investments. Neither the Republican nor the Democrat plans will come anywhere near solving the current fiscal problems faced by the United States. The main reason that no plan put forth thus far comes anywhere near solving the economic woes of the United States is simply because everybody is in denial and refuses to mention the real and honest reason for the economic problems facing the United States. Sure, they give some reference to spending and the recession and other economic weaknesses, but what is the root, the original sin, so to speak, that nobody is brave enough to speak that made the current economic difficulties an unavoidable inevitability?

The spawning of the United States economic ills is also the reason that under the Obama Presidency there has yet to be a budget passed by Congress. Initially, neither house of the Congress attempted to pass anything resembling a budget beyond continuing resolutions and department by department or individual program financing for those particular programs and social policy departments preferred by the Obama Administration and the liberals in Congress. After the Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in the 2010 elections they were able to pass budgets which addressed the obvious and growing deficit problem, the more well-known ones being the Ryan Budgets, but all these hit a brick wall of refusal in the Democrat controlled Senate. The truth be told, Democrat Majority Leader, President Pro Tempore Harry Reid simply refused to even place any of the Ryan budgets onto the Senate Schedule and thus they died without even reaching a committee or being discussed or acknowledged in any form. All of these peculiar actions which totally ignored the Constitutional responsibility of the Congress to pass a budget every year by a specific date had a reason, and that was in order to camouflage a devious plan instituted by President Obama that had it been done through the normal budget procedure would have raised outrage and condemnation of such actions from the people. So, what was this plan, this conspiracy of sorts?

In the first year of President Obama’s Administration he had complete freedom to pass any legislation he so desired with a majority in the House of Representatives and a super majority that precluded the possibility of a Republican filibuster in the Senate. President Obama, being one who would never allow such an advantage to go to waste, met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and carved out a plan to increase certain social programs and allotting them all the monies which would be necessary to greatly increase their scope and numbers of people qualified for payments. Some of these programs and their bloated beneficiaries have been reported, the most often criticized being Food Stamps which has had the numbers of people receiving them explode since President Obama was first sworn into office. Food Stamps are not the only program to have a dramatic increase in people receiving payments or increases in their budgets. Welfare, Social Security Disability, Medicaid, among other programs have led the list of programs to be given new floods of monies from the Federal Government. Similar increases were awarded to selected favorites among the Federal Departments including Education, the Environmental Protection Agency, Health and Human Services, and other social service, social welfare, and social support agencies. What was done in the first year under President Obama was as much as a doubling or even more of many of these budgets as well as the huge increases made with the stimulus bills. These budgetary increases were not intended as one time increases but were used to reset these budgetary levels permanently so that in every following budgetary vote any increases were made using the new and substantively increased levels as the new baseline. This is why the budget has mushroomed so completely out of control. This was a planned crisis designed to push the United States off a fiscal precipice and into a deep chasm from which it would be near impossible to climb out from. That is why even if we gave President Obama his demand of increasing taxes on the rich and restoring the higher rate on Capital Gains and also gave the Republicans even their most draconian spending cuts that they have ever proposed during discussions on this fiscal crisis, it would still not be sufficient to climb out of the hole the United States finds itself in. This is the dirty little secret that neither party wishes to acknowledge.

Beyond the Cusp

November 12, 2012

The Republican’s Next Step

What the Republicans should be doing is obvious and can be seen with a minimum of thought by anybody of average intelligence who has not had a lobotomy. That is why the leadership of the Republican Party will very likely blow this chance and end up being run over by the Obama administration. With their control of the House of Representatives and the limited time allotted for debate before a vote must be called, they need to pass a budget-cutting piece of legislation which will meet all the requirements necessary to avoid this so-called fiscal cliff barreling at us and scheduled to crash into us with the arrival of the New Year. These bills must not cave in one iota on the renewal of the Bush tax cuts, especially on people making over $200,000; $250,000; $500,000; $1 Million or any amount. Every person must be allowed to retain the current lower tax rate and these tax rates should be simply made permanent. Should the country reach December 1, 2012 and either the Senate or the President has refused to ratify any of the House legislations that make the necessary budget cuts and honor the people’s desire to retain the tax cuts, then they need to raise the ante and include across the board reductions or eliminations of all business taxes in addition to any extra spending cuts this would entail added in. Economic truth be told, there really is no such thing as a business tax, there is only a passed along tax on the purchasing public. This too is an obvious truth that is constantly denied by all too many politicians who will claim that they are raising the taxes on businesses and thus saving the people from being taxed more. Do they really believe that the people are so unaware of the reality that they do not understand that all taxation placed upon businesses is passed on to the public through increased prices? What makes it even more insidious is that a tax on a business is a close relative to a VAT (value added tax) as the added tax is included in any markup as the product or service makes its way to the end purchaser and thus the tax goes through multipliers at each step in their travel to the final market.

 

There are some Republicans who are seeking places to assign blame for their loss in the recent Presidential elections and are mostly either clueless or are being deceptive by avoiding the truth. The problem was not that the Republican Party was unable to garner sufficient voters who occupy this mythological area in the electorate referred to as the middle, center, undecided or unaligned voters. The reality is that there are virtually no unaligned or undecided voters and even those who can be said to actually occupy the center or middle of the political spectrum have usually actually made a decision well before Election Day. This is not to claim that there are no people who claim when polled to not have made up their minds, it is claiming that they are being less than completely forthright. All but the smallest numbers of these people have decided who to vote for but for reasons of either a personal nature or for keeping their preferences private will tell pollsters they are undecided. This is also encouraged by the press as they use those people who go along with the false classification in the way they word their polls or present the choices. I have taken polls which ask if you are an undecided or unaligned voter numerous times throughout the poll and ask questions designed to elicit the choice of undecided, unaligned or some neutral classification just to assure they get the most number of voters thusly self-categorized. Without classifying people as such the race could be predicted with far less doubt and it is the doubt and mystery of an election being able to turn either way that sells the newspaper, news station, blog, or other media outlet. The truth was that the Republican Party was even less able to excite their base, especially the most conservative, libertarian, constitutionalist and some of the religious voters. This was proven in the fact that Mitt Romney received approximately two million fewer votes than did John McCain received in 2008. The proof that President Obama was beatable was the fact that he as well received approximately two million less votes than he had in 2008. Both candidates suffered from a significant loss of voter support from their respective bases. The loss of close or more than four million voters who sat out the election was proof that the entire spectrum of the electorate was uninspired more than undecided or unaligned. The bare truth had nothing to do with the unaligned, undecided, uninformed, or un-anything other than unenthused by the choices offered.

 

The “elites” in the Republican Party will still find a way to place the blame on the conservative, constitutionalist, Tea Party members, and other voters making up the right wing classification of voters and will demand that it is necessary for the Republican Party to find a true centrist candidate for the 2016 elections. These Republican functionaries actually believe that John McCain and Mitt Romney were strong conservative candidates who were too far right to be accepted by the “political middle” and that is why President Obama won. They will claim that President Obama was successful in moving to the middle during the election and won the majority of the centrist votes. One has to believe that these excusers never heard or read anything that President Obama was saying at his campaign rallies and in the news articles and other media. Appealing to the middle is so far off the mark that it is almost laughable. The sole reason it is not laughable is because these people are serious and will possibly, if not unseated from their leadership roles, be the ones who get to influence if not outright choose the next Republican candidate who will run in 2016. If the Republican Party choice of candidates running in the Presidential Elections going forward continues on their current path, I would not be surprised to live long enough to witness the Republican Party nominate Bloomberg due to his independent political alignment and thus be able to attract that ever so elusive middle, unaligned voters. Could we start now and try to give me my ultimate dream Republican ticket for 2016 and have the following people in any combination of President and Vice-President, Col. Allen West and John Bolton. Thank you for any efforts to make this come true.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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