Was Discretion The Better Part Of Valor With This Lopsided Fiscal Cliff Deal?
A lot of Conservatives (myself included) are pretty frustrated with weak-kneed Republicans in Congress caving into Obama and the Democrats on the "Fiscal Cliff" deal, but there are some inconvenient truths that cause part of me to wonder if I'm wrong.
First, let's establish one fact. President Obama got almost everything he wanted. While he may claim he compromised by allowing the tax increase threshold to be raised from $200/250k for individuals/families to $400/450k, his "concessions" amount to mere chicken feed compared to the Republican concession of giving away the whole farm.
In addition to giving Obama his precious tax increase, Republicans allowed the Death tax to be raised from 35% to 40%. This is a double tax that morally and ethically should be eliminated entirely. Obama didn't agree to have it eliminated, or even lowered. No, he got it raised even higher.
Republicans let Obama keep his tax increase on capital gains and dividends from 15% to 23.8%. All of these taxes hurt the regular working class the most because they are the ones who depend on the jobs and economic growth that comes from these investors and small business owners.
Obama wasn't forced to scale back unemployment benefits in a way that would wean people off unemployment and force them to more aggressively look for work. No, he got an extension of unemployment benefits for one year, while the payroll tax is going back up from 4.2% to 6.2%.
We are now rewarding unemployment while punishing employment. That's right, those who choose to milk unemployment benefits can now do so for longer while those who go to work every day will now have to pay more. And for many, a lot more. A person making $50,000 a year will now pay an extra $1,000 a year in payroll taxes and 77.1% of all taxpayers will experience a tax increase of some kind.
Whatever happened to "only the top 2%"?
Obama wasn't forced to cut the deficit or national debt. Instead, as the Congressional Budget Office itself reports, he gets to add additional trillions of dollars to both over the next decade.
He wasn't forced to accept a spending cuts-to-tax revenue ratio of 3:1, or 2:1 or even 1 to 1. No, he got $620 Billion in additional taxes while conceding very little in spending cuts for an amazingly unbalanced 10:1 ratio according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Make no mistake, the Republicans gave away the farm and Obama got his wish of moving the U.S.A that much closer to the U.S.S.A.
While I am upset with the Republicans who caved in this way, I am finding myself a little more sympathetic with them than most of my conservative counterparts. My reasons have to do with some practical realities we can not ignore.
1) Republicans have not been able to win the Public Opinion wars on the Fiscal Cliff. Polls repeatedly have shown that, if the Fiscal Cliff happened, Republicans would be blamed over Obama and the Democrats 2 to 1.
2) While Republicans are able to get their message out through Talk Radio, Fox News and some of the internet, the Conservative outlets are just not big enough to overcome Obama's mouthpieces of ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, Time Magazine, most U.S. Newspapers, late night comedians, the Hollywood and entertainment industry, most college professors....and the list goes on.
Eventually, Republicans are going to have to learn to be better salespeople and better communicators to end run all the liberal media bias, but the simple truth is that, as of now, they have not yet figured out how. In the meantime, they would eat the blame for a Fiscal Cliff producing recession and widespread economic woe.
3) An economic downturn for 2013 could easily bleed well into 2014 when many Republican Senators and all Republican House members are up for re-election. If the economy is still bad come next Fall and the public still blames Republicans (as the polls suggest they would), there could be a real possibility of a "Democrat Revolution" where they retake the House. If we think Obama's next 4 years are scary, imagine what his last two would be like under that scenario.
With all this said, I still would have preferred the Republicans stuck to their guns and let us fall off the Fiscal Cliff. They would then have been forced to somehow, someway sell to the American public that it really was Obama's fault.
But when we see how Obama managed to actually get re-elected with THIS economy and his horrific record, I'm just not so confident in the Republican Party's ability to suddenly become master salespeople and stick a new recession on this Teflon President by November 2014.
I still say Eric Cantor and Marco Rubio were right while John Boehner and Paul Ryan were wrong. I just wonder if I'm wrong too.