Obama Rejects GOP Fiscal Cliff Plan
by Rick Moran
December 4, 2012
White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer rejected Speaker of the House John Boehner's counter-proposal to avert the fiscal cliff in a statement to reporters Monday afternoon.
"The Republican letter released today does not meet the test of balance," Pfeiffer said. "In fact, it actually promises to lower rates for the wealthy and sticks the middle class with the bill. Their plan includes nothing new and provides no details on which deductions they would eliminate, which loopholes they will close or which Medicare savings they would achieve."
President Barack Obama has pledged to oppose any agreement that does not raise tax rates on the top two percent of wage-earners.Pfeiffer continued:
Independent analysts who have looked at plans like this one have concluded that middle class taxes will have to go up to pay for lower rates for millionaires and billionaires. While the President is willing to compromise to get a significant, balanced deal and believes that compromise is readily available to Congress, he is not willing to compromise on the principles of fairness and balance that include asking the wealthiest to pay higher rates. President Obama believes - and the American people agree - that the economy works best when it is grown from the middle out, not from the top down. Until the Republicans in Congress are willing to get serious about asking the wealthiest to pay slightly higher tax rates, we won't be able to achieve a significant, balanced approach to reduce our deficit our nation needs.White House officials had said there woud be no further negotiations until Republicans presented their own proposal, which they did earlier Monday. But from Pfeiffer's call to "get serious," it doesn't appear that the exchange has moved negotiations forward.
Neither side appears ready to put many of its cards on the table. Eventually, the GOP will probably outline specific proposals to raise revenue (they propose $800 billion over 10 years in the eliminations of unspecified deductions) and the White House will get more specific about budget cuts,
If we're lucky it will all come together sometime in mid-January. If not, the recriminations will last all the way to the election of 2014.
Read more: http://goo.gl/HFJmb
by Thomas Sowell
November 4, 2012
Amid all the political and media hoopla about the “fiscal cliff” crisis, there are a few facts that are worth noting.
First of all, despite all the melodrama about raising taxes on “the rich,” even if that is done, it will scarcely make a dent in the government’s financial problems. Raising the tax rates on everybody in the top 2 percent will not generate enough additional tax revenue to run the government for ten days.
And what will the government do to pay for the other 355 days in the year?
All the political angst and moral melodrama about getting “the rich” to pay “their fair share” is part of a big charade. This is not about economics, it is about politics. Taxing “the rich” will produce a drop in the bucket when compared with the staggering and unprecedented deficits of the Obama administration.
No previous administration in the entire history of the nation ever finished the year with a trillion-dollar deficit. The Obama administration has done so every single year. Yet political and media discussions of the financial crisis have been focused overwhelmingly on how to get more tax revenue to pay for past and future spending.
The very catchwords and phrases used by the Obama administration betray how phony this all is. For example, “We are just asking the rich to pay a little more.”
This is an insult to our intelligence. The government doesn’t “ask” anybody to pay anything. It orders you to pay the taxes it imposes, and you can go to prison if you don’t.
Then there are all the fancy substitute words for plain old spending — words like “stimulus” or “investing in the industries of the future.”
The theory about “stimulus” is that government spending will stimulate private businesses and financial institutions to put more of their money into the economy, speeding up the recovery. But the fact that you call something a “stimulus” does not make it a stimulus.
Stimulus spending began during the Bush administration and has continued full blast during the Obama administration. But the end result is that both businesses and financial institutions have had record amounts of their own money sitting idle. The rate of circulation of money slowed down. All this is the opposite of stimulus.
What about “investing in the industries of the future”? Does the White House come equipped with a crystal ball? Calling government spending “investment” does not make it investment any more than calling spending “stimulus” makes it stimulate anything.
What in the world would lead anyone to think that politicians have some magic way of knowing what the industries of the future are? Thus far the Obama administration has repeatedly “invested” in the bankruptcies of the present, such as Solyndra.
Using lofty words to obscure tawdry realities extends beyond the White House. Referring to the Federal Reserve’s creation of hundreds of billions of new dollars out of thin air as “quantitative easing” makes it seem as if this is some soothing and esoteric process, rather than amounting essentially to nothing more than printing more money.
Debasing the value of money by creating more of it is nothing new or esoteric. Irresponsible governments have done this, not just for centuries, but for thousands of years.
It is a way to take people’s wealth from them without having to openly raise taxes. Inflation is the most universal tax of all.
All the pretty talk about how tax rates will be raised only on “the rich” hides the ugly fact that the poorest people in the country will see the value of their money decline, just like everybody else, and at the same rate as everybody else, when the government creates more money and spends it.
If you have $100 and, after the inflation that follows from “quantitative easing,” that $100 dollars will buy only what $80 bought before, then that is the same economically as if the government had taxed away one-fifth of your money and spent it.
But it is not the same politically, so long as gullible people don’t look beyond words to the reality that inflation taxes everybody, the poorest as well as the richest.
Read more: http://goo.gl/oNMR4
Boehner, GOP Leaders Purge Conservatives from Powerful Committees
by Matthew Boyle
December 3, 2012
Effective next Congress, leadership pulled Kansas Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp, Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash and Arizona Republican Rep. David Schweikert off committees from which they could exert conservative pressure on fiscal matters. Amash and Huelskamp were pulled from the Budget Committee and Schweikert from the Financial Services Committee.
Huelskamp, a freshman elected during the 2010 tea party wave, thinks the leadership move to pull him from the powerful committee is revenge for him standing up for conservatism. “It is little wonder why Congress has a 16 percent approval rating: Americans send principled representatives to change Washington and get punished in return,” Huelskamp said in a Monday night statement. “The GOP leadership might think they have silenced conservatives, but removing me and others from key committees only confirms our conservative convictions. This is clearly a vindictive move, and a sure sign that the GOP Establishment cannot handle disagreement."
Earlier on Monday in an interview with Breitbart News, Huelskamp again reaffirmed his support for the Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) anti-tax pledge. He’s encouraging his colleagues in the House to come out publicly against potential tax increases and asking citizens across the country to help.
Huelskamp thinks his most recent challenge to his GOP colleagues – asking them to reaffirm their pledges – is hardly the only conservative thing he’s done to spark leadership retaliation. In his Monday night statement, he listed out a number of other conservative things he’s done that he thinks caused leadership to turn their fire on him.
Schweikert spokeswoman Rachel Semmel told Breitbart News that her boss also thinks Boehner's move was because he fights for fiscal conservatism.
"This morning Congressman Schweikert learned there was a price to be paid for voting based on principle," Semmel said in an email. "That price was the removal from the House Financial Services Committee. We are obviously disappointed that Leadership chose to take this course, but Rep. Schweikert remains committed to fighting for the conservative principles that brought him here."
FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe bashed the move, too, saying in a statement that “[t]his is a clear attempt on the part of Republican leadership to punish those in Washington who vote the way they promised their constituents they would – on principle – instead of mindlessly rubber-stamping trillion dollar deficits and the bankrupting of America. This is establishment thinking, circling the wagons around yes-men and punishing anyone that dares to take a stand for good public policy.”
Read more: http://goo.gl/eSTrd