Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) guest-hosted the ???Squawk Box??? on CNBC this morning, and held an illuminating exchange with former governor and Democrat presidential candidate Howard Dean concerning the approaching ???fiscal cliff??? of our swelling national debt, combined with tax hikes on January 1 that could very well push this fragile economy all the way into recession:
Dean offered the standard Democrat party line that massive tax increases would be necessary to rescue us from the profligate spending habits of yesterday???s liberals ??? who were, according to this line of thinking, imposing stealth tax increases on the unlucky citizens of the future. They didn???t have to admit they were jacking up taxes, because all of their programs were funded with magical deficit money. This allowed them to pretend they were showing the populace with ???free??? benefits that no one had to pay for. They didn???t have to confront the dependents of other government spending programs and regretfully inform them that scarce government resources were being diverted to new spending priorities. They simply ran up the national credit cards, and now they present the flaccid bulk of their unsustainable debt as leverage to demand more taxes.
One reason it???s important to give liberals absolutely zero in new taxes is the importance of sending the message that their profligacy will not be rewarded. The tactic of busting the budget, and then whining about ???greedy millionaires,??? must never be validated.
???Frankly, we don???t have a tax problem,??? Toomey said on CNBC. ???The current tax regime, that???s been in place for 12 years now??? as recently as 2007, we had a deficit that was only 1.2 percent of GDP.???
Dean countered with a perfect recitation of the socialist death spiral: it???s silly to say we can???t have tax increases in a recession, because recessions increase dependency on government programs, so we???ve got to pull even more money out of the collapsing economy to fund them. In fact, the Associated Press had a story today about how the official poverty rate is about to hit a half-century high. Is our goal to reduce the number of poor people with economic vibrancy, or cripple our economy to provide a more extensive social safety net?
And at any rate, it???s silly to characterize Barack Obama???s mad spending spree, or the tidal wave of money shoveled out by the Democrats since they took over Congress in 2006, as welfare spending for the destitute. A great deal of that money went to well-heeled business interests, hungry for politically fashionable subsidies.
Howard Dean is a perfect representative of the dead-end Democrat future, in which the limitless greed of a failed government transcends common sense to make increasingly shrill demands. He???s even deranged enough to try claiming the Democrats don???t control the Senate! And he says, with a smirk, that going off the fiscal cliff would be ???a good thing,??? because his power-hungry Party thinks the resulting economic devastation will subdue the American people???s resistance to further government expansion.
To hear Dean talk, you wouldn???t think a small minority of high-income people are currently paying most of the taxes in this country. You???d almost forget the Democrats had control of both houses of Congress for the first two years of the Obama presidency, and squandered their influence on the horrific failure of ObamaCare ??? a program designed to hook the middle class into government dependency, rather than helping the poor and destitute.
Compare what Dean and Toomey say in this clip, and ask yourself which of the two sounds intransigent, ideologically rigid, and out of touch with reality.