Not Playing the Fool
There are a lot of Republicans tonight willing to play the fool for the GOP in this debt ceiling plan. They say, for example, that there will be no tax increases from this super committee. Never mind that the Democrats are saying otherwise.I can prove to you right now that there will be tax increases.The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) expects the Bush tax cuts to expire. So all the commission has to do is two things: extend middle class Bush tax cuts and enact a permanent alternative minimum tax (AMT) patch. Those two together would look like an increase to the deficit in CBO scoring. So then the commission can start out of the gate with the ability to create several trillion dollars in new tax hikes to equal out to the cuts — cuts that will happen even without the commission most likely. And where will those cuts come from? Those making $250,000.00 or more, of course. And probably the Gang of 6’s ideas to eliminate most deductions to income taxes without revenue neutral rate reductions and the Gang of 6’s pièce de résistance — raising capital gains taxes from 15% to 28%.Have people not been paying attention? In every single address the President has given on the debt ceiling, he has insisted on new tax revenue. John Boehner even put $800 billion on the table, so it is already there.The House and Senate GOP leadership may have convinced themselves that they have snookered the Democrats, but even little ole me, a non-budget genius, can drive a truck through their argument. And their best response probably comes from Ryan Ellis of Americans for Tax Reform. That counter argument is best summed up as but . . . but . . . but . . . the House Leadership says so. And if puppies were unicorns, we’d all live in a fantasy land. Apparently, young lefty Ezra Klein who thinks no one pays attention to the constitution because, dude, it’s so old, is brighter than Ryan Ellis at ATR. Klein writes, “Boehner is misleading his members to make them think taxes are impossible under this deal. The Joint Committee could close loopholes and cap tax expenditures. It could impose a value-added tax, or even a tax on carbon.”There will be tax increases. The Deficit Commission will have at least one weak kneed Republican and the commission will only be as strong as its weakest link. The Bush tax cuts will also absolutely expire and not be renewed.The alternative for the GOP would be seeing massive defense cuts and being blamed for senior citizens seeing their medicare cut. “But,” House Republican leaders exclaim, “the cuts would not be to beneficiaries.”True, the cuts would be punishing doctors who will respond by denying access to medicare patients.The Democrats are happy to force through taxes in the committee and then, when the GOP opposes them, claim the GOP would rather hurt our soldiers and seniors than raise taxes on “fat cat millionaires.”And if we’ve learned nothing else these past few weeks, the GOP fears more than anything else what the Democrats say about them. Don’t believe me on taxes, then ask GOP leadership why they haven’t put in a clear statement prohibiting them or, even better, why there is no prohibition on decoupling the middle class Bush tax cuts from the upper income Bush taxes cuts.Last week in the Washington Post, the GOP Leadership in Congress planted a hit job about me. How do I know they planted it? If not obvious from the story itself, it was from the conversation between the reporter and those she talked to.One of the “attacks” on me was that I was too predictable. Yes, it is true. I am predictable conservative and am not willing to sell out my conservatism for the team. I hate to break it to you.I was sorely tempted to do so now with this deal as our guys are running scared and are convinced the August 2nd deadline is real. But the GOP is in denial, excited by left wing hyperbole against the deal, and unable to see what is on the horizon.There are stories in the press that (A) the White House and Treasury Department won’t give the GOP information about how much money the U.S. has on hand and (B) that both Democrat and Republican leaders are mad as hell that the markets haven’t crashed so they could scare conservatives into taking a deal.It is true — Republican and Democrat leaders are upset the market has not crashed.Now, having run out the clock and admitted that Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell wrote John Boehner’s plan (that was in the Washington Post), they now want to go back to a grand compromise that yet again includes a super committee of Congress that can pass tax increases with no way to block the committee.And if they do somehow stop the committee or kill its idea, then our soldiers in the field would see punitive cuts to the defense budget, even more so than seniors who will see cuts to medicare. In other words, cuts so painful to right and left that both will have to take the committee recommendation.”But it’s okay,” they tell us. “The committee is structured in such a way that they can’t get tax increases.” Having considered the matter carefully — this is utter bullcrap.So here’s what will happen. The people who are predictably willing to fold to save face with the GOP will ridicule you, me, and the tea party. And in November, when the chickens come home to roost and what I predict comes true yet again, they’ll pretend yet again that they were with us the whole time.But taxes will go up and the Democrats will have won, left wing hysteria notwithstanding.