Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has an idea for cutting through all the parliamentary maneuvers and political kabuki theater: hold votes Wednesday, in succession, on all three of the current proposals for avoiding Taxmageddon this January. Senate Democrats have been notably reticent to actually vote on any of the legislative props they???ve been waving around, particularly President Obama???s idea for taxing the hell out of small business owners, which his own party regards with all the enthusiasm of a dead spider floating at the bottom of a coffee mug.
???As the Senate resumes its work this week, Americans are hungry for leadership,??? McConnell said from the Senate floor. ???The national debt hovers around $16 trillion, the federal government is on track to spend a trillion dollars more than it takes in for the fourth year in a row, and Democrats haven???t done so much as pass a budget in nearly four years.???
???President Obama, meanwhile, isn???t even talking with us about what to do about any of these things,??? McConnell continued. ???The taxpayers are basically paying him $400,000 a year to hold campaign rallies and show up at fundraisers. His latest proposal on taxes has more to do with helping his campaign than in reviving the economy. And if you want proof, just ask yourself why Democrats don???t want to vote on it.???
Republicans want to stave off Taxmageddon for all Americans, while the Democrats want to exclude certain politically disfavored groups. Most of the Party thinks huge tax increases should be limited to actual million-dollar incomes, while the President would rather jack up taxes on every individual and small business reporting over $200,000 in income. Virtually everyone, pointedly including an earlier version of Barack Obama, knows that raising taxes in a recessionary economy is a horrible idea.
McConnell has no use for any of the opposition???s tax increases. Republicans want to give all American businessmen and investors the confidence that their taxes won???t be increased next year, but ???the Democrat???s guiding principle, to the extent they have one, is different. To them, the goal isn???t so much relief for struggling Americans or reviving the economy, it???s sending a message. And their message is that some people deserve relief and some people don???t, and they???ll decide who those people are, regardless of the effect it has on the broader economy or jobs. It???s an approach that isn???t based on any economic outcome, but on ideology. And Americans are tired of it, because it???s been a disaster for our economy.”
Casting votes that differ significantly from campaign rhetoric is an old Washington game. Refusing to bring certain bombastic proposals to the floor, so that Party members don???t have to go on the record for voting against them, is a key tactic in this game.
McConnell is right to bring every course for steering away from the ???fiscal cliff??? up for a vote. He knows he probably won???t get what he wants. ???My guess is that Democrat leaders won???t allow a vote on the President???s plan,” the Minority Leader predicted. “And that should tell you everything you need to know about the Democrat approach to the problems we face: they???re either out of ideas, not serious about solving the problems we face, or both. To them, this is more about messaging or passing the buck than it is about helping anybody or preventing an economic calamity at the end of the year.???