The Obama Cliff: $1.6 trillion in tax increases, zero spending cuts
After all of his talk about $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases… all the prattle about a $4 trillion spending cut plan during the campaign… all of the wild charges that Mitt Romney’s pro-growth tax reforms would “cost too much” to implement… all the talk about simply ending “the Bush tax cuts for the rich”… and the endless, droning repetition of the phrase “balanced approach”… President Obama finally revealed his actual plan, weeks after he had bee comfortably re-elected.
$1.6 trillion in tax increases; zero spending cuts; unlimited authority to take the debt as high as Obama wants it.
When Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner put this “deal to aver the fiscal cliff” on the table before Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Thursday evening, McConnell burst into laughter. Everyone who seriously cares about the national debt and fiscal sanity… everyone who took a single word of Barack Obama’s re-election rhetoric seriously… should join him. The rich irony of Tim Geithner, one of America’s most notorious tax cheats, dropping this nothing-but-tax-hikes deal on the table should only raise the volume of your laughter.
For the record, ending “the Bush tax cuts for the rich,” but keeping them for everyone else, won’t amount to anywhere near $1.6 trillion in new taxes (which, in turn, would not raise anything like $1.6 trillion in new revenue.) As the Weekly Standard reports, Geithner wouldn’t actually say where the extra taxes would come from – Barack Obama doesn’t do specifics, not even when he’s grabbing more of your money. We can only guess whose pockets would be picked:
Geithner suggested $1.6 trillion in tax increases, McConnell says, but showed “minimal or no interest” in spending cuts. When congressional leaders went to the White House three days after the election, Obama talked of possible curbs on the explosive growth of food stamps and Social Security disability payments. But since Geithner didn’t mention them, those reductions appear to be off the table now, McConnell says.
Obama is pushing to raise the tax rates on couples earning more than $250,000 and individuals earning more than $200,000. But those wouldn’t produce revenues anywhere near $1.6 trillion over a decade.
The “guess” of those involved in the negotiations, Politico reported, is that a bipartisan deal “will include a rate hike, higher taxes on carried interest and probably capital gains and dividends, and either a cap on total deductions for rich people or some form of a minimum tax rate for them.”
This is the payoff to a massive con job perpetrated on the American people, who were misdirected with a false characterization of the “fiscal cliff” as meaning “the end of the Bush tax rates for middle income wage earners.” A great deal of effort was put into this con job; low-information voters were taught to use the words “fiscal cliff” as a curse, and focus entirely on the potential loss of $2,000 from their disposable income to higher tax rates.
But that’s not the “fiscal cliff” we need to worry about. $1.6 trillion in new taxes over 10 years is less than 15 percent of even the rosiest $11 trillion deficit projection by the Congressional Budget Office – and those projections make a lot of assumptions about economic growth that might not hold up, particularly if Obama gets to tax the daylights out of capital gains and dividends. After all the phony campaign rhetoric about balanced approaches to balancing the budget, his actual proposal is tax hikes that would only reduce the deficit by 15 percent at best. And there’s actually even more new spending included in the “deal” he sent to Republicans via Tim Geithner – Obama wants another “stimulus” pork-barrel spending spree.
If you’re a confused, disillusioned Obama voter who remembers that “balanced approach” mantra, and didn’t believe those of us who warned you that when Barack Obama uses the phrase “deficit reduction” as a synonym for “tax increases,” and you really do care about the future of the nation, there is something you can do, right now. Email the Republican congressional leadership and let them know you’re behind them. Email the Democrat leadership and let them know you expect something better than this irresponsible play for higher taxes and endlessly mounting debt. There’s no shame in admitting you were taken in by high-pressure campaign rhetoric; you believed Barack Obama was a good and honorable man whose word meant something, and frankly the Romney campaign didn’t do a very good job of convincing you that wasn’t true. They kept saying he was just a nice guy who was in over his head. You don’t have to eat any crow – just let the leadership of both parties know that you took Obama’s campaign rhetoric seriously, you really do care about a “balanced approach,” and you demand responsible leadership.
Here are the Web sites for the congressional leadership of both parties, where you’ll find tools for contacting them:
Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: http://www.mcconnell.senate.gov/public/
Republican House Speaker John Boehner: http://www.speaker.gov/
Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: http://www.reid.senate.gov/
Democrat House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: http://www.democraticleader.gov/
Contacting these people and letting them know where you stand – letting both parties know that you didn’t vote to re-elect Barack Obama just to get tax increases combined with endless fiscal irresponsibility – will make a difference, especially if you’re an Obama voter who is sincerely concerned about getting the deficit under control. They pay attention to the public, when it speaks loudly enough. That’s why President Obama set up a Twitter hashtag for people to complain about how losing $2,000 to higher taxes would affect their lives. A wave of Obama voters telling both Republican and Democrat leaders that they meant it when they claimed to vote for responsible government will strengthen the former, and terrify the latter. This is your hour to stand up and be heard, patriotic Obama voters. This is your chance to prove all the people who said you were just greedy parasites drunk on class-warfare rhetoric wrong. Your presidential candidate said you wanted a “balanced approach” with no less than $3 of spending cuts for every $1 of tax increases. This is your one and only chance to prove that you’re not gullible and easily led.
Meanwhile, we can stop calling it the “fiscal cliff” now. It’s the Obama Cliff. He owns it one hundred percent, lock stock and barrel.