FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Republicans and Short Term Memory Loss
Earlier today, Erick posted an item asking “Did You Vote Republican For Nothing?” It’s a good and timely question, as is “did Republicans learn anything from this election, the rise of the Tea Party, and the crushing defeat of a liberal tax-and-spend agenda in November?”
Looking purely at recent national and local political news relevant to folks in just one state – Georgia – it now seems the answer to the first question is “yes” and the answer to the second might just be “no.”
Yesterday, House GOP leadership elevated Hal Rogers, infamous porker and earmark fan, to the post of Appropriations Committee Chairman, where he will be free to lard it up while Republicans seek to reclaim the mantle of fiscal conservatism—rhetorically, we must assume. In taking that step, the House GOP leadership passed over Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston, an infinitely better choice had they actually wanted to govern in a fiscally conservative manner, rather than preach spending restraint while enabling waste we can’t afford.
And in Kingston’s home state of Georgia, currently, a Tax Council has been reviewing the tax code and is widely expected to recommend in the very near future a number of actual or de facto tax hikes. These are rumored to include the “sunsetting” or enforced expiration of certain tax exemptions (so taxes will go up), as well as a hike in the state’s cigarette tax.
At least one Republican state representative, and rumor has it, outgoing Gov. Sonny Perdue, is fully on board with the idea of pursuing one or more tax hikes being weighed by the Council. This is despite the fact that it was reported last month that for five months straight, state revenue has been higher than during the same period last year. No doubt this kind of scene is being played out in states across the nation, where Republicans elected to cut spending, and oppose any and all tax hikes, are suddenly being tempted by tax increases as short-term fixes to budget woes. No doubt many Republicans in Congress now responsible for “governing” are easing into greater comfort with the idea of big spending, like we have seen with the debate about extending unemployment benefits again.
The message of the election was crystal clear to those of us who watched the defeat of people like Georgia Democratic Rep. Jim Marshall this November, but it looks like it is being forgotten already by some Republicans who we entrusted with power. It’s our job to make sure they remember