NORQUIST, REID, WILL AND HARSANYI ON GOVERNMENT SPENDING

1/13/13
NORQUIST:
The 2001 and 2003 “Bush tax cuts” were enacted with an expiration date because 60 votes are required in the Senate to make a tax cut permanent. Other tax cuts such as the “patch” limiting the Alternative Minimum Tax and the Research and Development Tax Credit would lapse every two years giving politicians an opportunity to “sell the same horse” again and again to voters and campaign contributors. The world was upside down. Normally it takes the House, Senate and president acting together to raise taxes. Now it would take all three to stop any or all of the tax cuts from lapsing. The legislation passed by the House, Senate and now signed by the president that makes 85 percent of the Bush tax cuts permanent is a bittersweet victory or defeat. The income tax rates and important credits and deductions are now permanent. It takes an affirmative vote by the House and Senate to increase taxes ever again. Were we not promised jillions of dollars in spending reduction in return for tax increases? Was that not the mantra of the Washington Establishment, the promise of the 2010 bipartisan panel, Simpson-Bowles commission. First, the sequester. If Congress does nothing, unless the House, Senate, and President Obama agree on an alternative, there is an automatic sequester of $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years. One hundred billion dollars in spending cuts a year—automatically. House Republicans have already offered an alternative savings package of the same amount that shifts the cuts from defense to other areas. The second virtuous cliff is the debt ceiling Obama is spending. That runs up more than $1 trillion in deficits each year. The “Boehner rule” first applied with great effect in 2011 requires a dollar-for-dollar savings to “pay” for any debt ceiling hike. In 2011, conservatives won a $2.5 trillion spending cut in return for the higher debt ceiling. The third lever for conservatives in the fight to limit federal spending is the fact that the Democrats in the Senate no longer do budgets. So our federal government operates on a series of “continuing resolutions” that allow money to be spent for a month or six months or a year. Three levers to control spending. There is great anger that Obama could force higher tax rates on small businesses simply by saying no. As discussions to raise the nation’s $16.4 trillion debt ceiling near, House Speaker John Boehner has said he would not negotiate with President Obama. Still, “The Boehner Rule” — which ties a rise in the debt threshold to an equal amount in spending reductions — will underscore the tenor of the discussions.
“Taxpayer Protection Pledge.”
Since it was introduced in 1986, more than 1,100 state and national GOP office holders have pledged not to raise taxes. In the last session of Congress, 236 representatives and 41 senators signed the pledge. A number of freshman House members in the 113th Congress, sworn in on Thursday, also signed the document. “From now on, the only way to raise taxes is to get the House of Representatives to agree to it — and since almost every Republican has taken the pledge never to raise taxes, that isn’t happening. Politicians raise taxes as the alternative to reforming government.
“If you put tax increases on the table, it pushes spending cuts off the table,” two months from now – set your watch, mark it on your calendar – sequestration hits,” Norquist said. “But here’s the good news: Last week, if nothing happened, taxes went up; this time, if nothing happens, spending goes down. It takes the House, the Senate and the president to do something other than have the sequestration spending cuts take place.
Republicans must “focus their energy and their anger and their activism on cutting spending and taking away from Obama all of that ridiculous debt and spending that he’s been larding up the government with,” ‘The Boehner Rule’ on demanding spending cuts for every dollar of debt-ceiling increase — that was one of the most successful strategies he had.
WILL:
When they flinched from allowing all of George W. Bush’s tax rates, especially those on middle-class incomes, to expire, liberalism lost its nerve and began what will be a long slide into ludicrousness. “American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012″ — did liberals think about that title? — 172 House Democrats voted to make the Bush income-tax rates permanent for all but 0.7 percent of taxpayers. Liberals could have had a revenue increase of $3.7 trillion over 10 years. Instead, they surrendered nearly $3.1 trillion of that. Republicans insist that the Taxpayer Relief Act closed the revenue question. And because tax reform is dead for the foreseeable future, so are hopes for a revenue surge produced by vigorous economic growth. No numerate person thinks today’s entitlement state, let alone the steady expansion of it that is liberalism’s aspiration, can be funded by taxing the income of the 0.7 percent of taxpayers whose rates were just raised. Because 82 percent of American earners pay more in payroll taxes than income taxes, no politically conceivable or economically feasible middle-class tax rate can fund the entitlement state.
By rescuing almost everyone from restoration of Clinton-era rates, liberals abandoned any pretense of paying for their program of ever-expanding entitlements. Instead, they made trillion-dollar deficits their program. From 1950 to 2000, economic growth averaged 3.6 percent; since then it has averaged less than 2 percent. Liberals think today’s correlation between the slow economic growth and rapid governmental growth — including under George W. Bush — is a coincidence. Which indicate that this government’s indiscipline is incorrigible and shameless. Amtrak, lost $834 million over the last 10 years just on its food service, has neither wit nor will to stop subsidizing electric motorcycles or to reform flood insurance.
REID:
Reid Urges Obama to Bypass Congress on Debt Ceiling.
Democratic leaders told President Barack Obama on Friday to consider side-stepping Congress if no agreement could be reached next month on raising the nation’s $16.4 trillion debt ceiling. And two Republican congressmen asked Obama in their own letter that the president to “be open and honest with the American people” on the nation’s finances in his State of the Union address next month.Top Democrats said Obama should “take any lawful steps” to avoid defaulting on the debt — “without Congressional approval, if necessary,” Republicans have said they would not raise the debt limit without dollar-for-dollar spending cuts. Obama has said he considers raising the limit, which the nation will hit in February, an obligation of Congress because doing so allows the government to pay off the debts it has already incurred, the Post reports. Obama should specifically detail in his Feb. 12 State of the Union speech the rise in the national debt, the per-person share of the expense — as well as the state of solvency for Social Security and Medicare.
HARSANYI:
How are we going to continue paying for the government we’ve been promised? As it turns out, raising tax rates on the “wealthy,” the most pressing issue of the Obama Age, amounts to a mere $62 billion of new revenue a year. To put it in perspective, the deficit spending this year alone was more than $1 trillion. So the fiscal deal will supposedly bring in $620 billion in new revenue over the next decade, which is less than any year’s worth of debt under President Barack Obama. According to the Tax Policy Center, 77 percent of you will see your taxes rise an average of $1,635 per year. CBO found that the fiscal cliff deal increases the deficit by $4 trillion. The GOP has surrendered on its core issue: It voted for a tax hike. Obama? No spending cuts. No tax reform. No debt reduction. No entitlement reform. There is no balance. Low-information voters will soon be informed by Democrats that the debt ceiling, rather than debt, is the villain.
Obama is unserious about debt because anything that cuts the size of Washington threatens his agenda. But a looming $50 trillion unfunded entitlement crisis is real. And the party in charge hasn’t offered any concrete ideas on how to deal with it. So now that the rich pay more, it’d be nice if we could stop incessantly complaining.
Sources—human events, norquist, beamon, jack bachman, george will, john Dryden, wnd, harsanyi

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