Congress and the White House have been holding fevered negotiations over raising the debt ceiling, racing an August 2 deadline. The President is set to give another press conference on the subject this morning. I wonder if it will be as much fun as the last couple of pressers he’s given.
Of course, this deadline didn’t just creep up on Washington. Every government official knew it was coming for a long time, just as everyone has known about the impending insolvency of Social Security and Medicare for decades. When it’s time to spend gigantic amounts of money, the bills are pushed through Congress so quickly that nobody has time to read them.
Confronting the fiscal collapse of the unsustainable system Washington has created can be put off indefinitely, however, until the Treasury Department puts together a deadline, moves it a couple of times, and finally decides that zero hour has arrived. At that point, the halls of Congress are filled with Democrats howling for more debt and higher taxes, which must be placed in their hands immediately, in order to stave off the crisis they have created. Government grows through failure.
The original debt ceiling doomsday deadline was in May, but as CBS News explains, “the Treasury Department is using accounting measures to run the government in the interim.” In other words, your elected representatives didn’t pay much attention to the deadline until after it had passed. Two months later, intransigent Democrats clutch their precious, but fiscally meaningless, tax increases and howl that stubborn Republicans are the ones who won’t pull our bloated government out of its nose dive.
These new tax hikes would come on top of massive new taxes Obama has already leveled against the private sector. Media mythology likes to paint Obama as having a fairly light hand when it comes to raising taxes thus far, but this is completely false. Besides making a very energetic effort to wipe out the Bush tax cuts at the end of last year, Obama has “already signed the largest tax increase since 1993,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
Obama’s existing tax increases include:
An extra 0.9% Medicare tax for individuals making over $200,000, and couples making over $250,000. In Democrat Party lingo, these people are “millionaires.”
Indexing Medicare payroll taxes to investment and interest income, which will push more middle-class families over $250,000 in annual taxable income, thus transforming them into “millionaires.”
A 2.3% excise tax on medical device manufacturers and importers.
A new annual fee on “branded” drug makers and importers, costing them $27 billion.
Raising the minimum value of tax-deductible medical expenses to 10% of gross income, instead of 7.5%.
A 40% excise tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans, which was supposed to discourage companies from giving lavish “better than ObamaCare” benefits to top management. In reality, many of those “Cadillac” plans have such high value because they cover an older workforce, or one with greater health care needs. Some estimates say this tax will hit nearly 40 percent of employers who cover 50 or more employees.
And, of course, there are the immense fees leveled against insurance providers by ObamaCare, beginning in 2014. Naturally, insurance companies will not cheerfully “eat” these fees – they will pass them along to consumers, making them a massive tax increase on nearly every American who doesn’t drift into those deficit-busting “public health-care exchanges.”
Remember, it’s the Democrat Party that hasn’t passed a budget in over 800 days. Why should any rational American be even slightly interested in rewarding them for such abject dereliction of duty with even greater tax increases?
Nevertheless, it sounds like House Speaker John Boehner is already compromising with Democrats, and thus bargaining America closer to ruin. So far, he’s held the line on allowing the Democrats to raise our taxes, but here’s Fox News on how the remainder of the negotiations are proceeding:
House Speaker John Boehner said during Sunday’s meeting that he believes the package based on negotiations reached while Vice President Biden led a working group a few weeks ago would be the “most viable option at this time for moving forward,” a Republican source familiar with the talks told Fox News.
That deal would be worth about $2 trillion to $2.4 trillion. The source said Boehner, R-Ohio, concluded that there is “no path” for a bigger deal because Republicans demand a “dollar-to-dollar” ratio of cuts to debt ceiling increase.
Would this be the same Biden working group that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Senator Jon Kyl made a big show of walking away from, three weeks ago? But now it’s the blueprint for Boehner’s grand compromise? And wasn’t Boehner talking about spending cuts that “should be greater than the accompanying increase in debt authority the President is given” back in May? Now it’s “dollar-for-dollar?”
That $2 trillion deal, by the way, spreads its spending cuts over 10 years. That works out to only 13% of Obama’s gigantic budget deficit… assuming future Congresses even bother to stick with these long-term spending cuts. Huzzah.
The success or failure of the debt ceiling negotiation will not be measured solely by its effect on the deficit. We need the private sector to expand, which means the government must become smaller. That doesn’t happen when it raises taxes, and “cuts spending” by eliminating tax breaks that people like Obama enjoy referring to as “tax expenditures.”
To become smaller, the government must take less, spend less, regulate less, and mandate less. It must do all of these things immediately, not make vague promises to think about them five or ten years down the road.
We want our freedom back, Speaker Boehner. We want a smaller, more accountable government. Fourteen trillion in national debt is a criminal outrage, not a milestone on the way to twenty trillion. We’re tired of being told we must make concessions to ruin, and reaching “compromises” in which the State only expands by 15%, instead of the 20% it really wanted.
Perhaps the only way to achieve that kind of discipline is to go “cold turkey” on debt, and refuse to raise the debt ceiling. Let the President know he will be impeached and removed from office if he fails to pay America’s financial obligations, so that little talking point is swept right into the garbage where it belongs. Then Washington can begin making dramatic spending cuts in all the stupid crap they’ve been wasting our money on for decades. The “compromises” we should be talking about are between funding cuts for lavish public union benefits, shrimp treadmill studies, and crony-capitalist “alternative energy” handouts.
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