If you are one of those who follows conservative grassroots activism, it’s likely you may have heard about the New Fair Deal rally being held in Washington tomorrow afternoon to coincide with tax day. While it will certainly be a modest event by the standards of other TEA Party rallies such as the 9/12 rally in 2009 or various Glenn Beck-led gatherings since, organizers believe a few thousand will attend with many staying around after the speeches to buttonhole various members of Congress about this new legislative program aimed at reining in government.
But the better question is: what is the legislative program? The four planks can be summarized as follows:
- No corporate handouts
- A fair tax code
- Stop overspending
- Empower individuals
The eight Congressmen who will be authoring the legislation in question, some of whom are among the most libertarian Republican conservatives in Congress, are Reps. Jeff Duncan and Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Doug Lamborn of Colorado, Tom McClintock of California, Mike Pompeo of Kansas, Dr. Tom Price of Georgia, and Reid Ribble of Wisconsin. Mulvaney, Pompeo, and Price are among the speakers tomorrow at the event, which will also feature Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, Senator Mike Lee of Utah, activists Rev. C.L. Bryant, Deneen Borelli, Julie Borowski, Ana Puig, and Maryland’s own Dan Bongino. Borelli is featured in this video decribing some of the features of the New Fair Deal.
“The New Fair Deal is a four-part legislative package that ends corporate handouts, closes loopholes in a simple tax code, balances the budget, and empowers Americans with the choice to opt-out of Medicare and Social Security,” explained FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe. “Individual freedom, economic empowerment and equal opportunity are the ultimate fair deal for Americans. No more pitting us against each other while politicians and big business pick winners and losers in the marketplace at the expense of everyday individuals,” he added.
It goes without saying, though, that the devil is in the details. For example, ending corporate subsidies is great for avoiding the next Solyndra or Ener1, but my friends at the American Petroleum Institute would argue that the tax package for oil exploration is vital to the industry’s success. They may have a point, so perhaps the best solution is to prioritize which subsidies would be axed first and which ones would have more of a transition. Being a fairly mature industry, it may take somewhat longer for the oil and natural gas companies to deal with these changes, as well as the sugar farmers who were targeted in the video. I could see a time window of three to five years for these industries, but green energy? Cut them off yesterday.
As far as a “fair tax code” I honestly don’t think there is such a thing, particularly with the proposal of a two-rate system as specified. I like the idea of a “skin in the game” tax where everyone has to pay at least 1 percent (for someone making $20,000 a year that’s $200 – not a back-breaker if you know it’s coming) but I disagree with the progressive rate change from 12% to 24% at $100,000. If we are to have a flat tax, it should be one rate regardless of income. Why would I take the overtime which would push me from a salary of $98,000 (and an $11,760 tax bill) to $101.000 only to have that and much more – since the tax bill would steeply jump to $24,240 – entirely eaten up by taxes? I understand the populist idea of the secretary paying less than the billionaire, but the solution proposed would be ripe for complication because of situations like the above. I’d rather work on repealing the Sixteenth Amendment and creating a consumption tax, which would be the most fair of all because one can control their level of consumption to the greatest extent.
Another area which suffers from being too broad is the concept of “overspending.” Even if you cut off all discretionary spending tomorrow we would still have a deficit. Yes, we do need to eliminate the concept of baseline budgeting posthaste but we also have to lose the mindset which makes people fear their budget will be cut if they don’t spend their full allocation. While thousands and thousands of federal workers are superfluous to the task of good government, we have to educate the public as to why they need to be let go – you know the media will be portraying them as victims just like they tried to make a huge case that sequestration would be devastating.
Of the four planks presented, though, I really like the idea of the last one as expressed – the power of determining your own retirement and health care needs. In just 14 years I will be eligible for Social Security, but to be quite honest I don’t expect a dime from it because the system will be bankrupt by then in my estimation. (My writing was intended to be my “retirement” but real life intruded a little more quickly than I imagined it would.) The same goes for Medicare. If I had the choice, I would tell the government to give me back the money I paid into Social Security and Medicare – let me decide how to invest it best. This legislation may well allow me that option, although I suspect it will be tailored more to those under 40 who still have plenty of time to weigh all their retirement choices.
(Remember, though, I am on record as saying “Social Security should be sunsetted.” Nothing they can propose would eliminate that stance.)
The key to any and all of these changes taking place, though, is to remember none of this happens overnight. As it stands right now, the earliest we can make lasting national change in the right direction is January of 2017. Moreover, these Congressional visionaries and any other allies we may pick up along the way will be standing for election twice before a new President is inaugurated – and if the Republicans nominate another milquetoast “go along to get along” Beltway moderate who doesn’t buy into this agenda, the timetable becomes even longer.
But there is an opportunity in the interim, though. What statement would it make if Maryland – one of the most liberal states in the country according to the conventional wisdom – suddenly elected a conservative governor and confounded the intent of the heretofore powerful liberals in charge by electing enough members of the General Assembly to foil their overt gerrymandering attempts? No doubt it’s the longest of long shots, but let the liberals think they have this state in the bag. Wouldn’t it be nice to watch them fume as a Governor Charles Lollar, Larry Hogan, Blaine Young, or Dan Bongino is inaugurated – this after the stunning ascension of Speaker of the House Neil Parrott and President of the Senate E.J. Pipkin? Those who survived the collective hara-kiri and cranial explosions throughout the liberal Annapolis community would probably be reduced to bickering among themselves and pointing fingers of blame.
Our side often points to Virginia as a well-run state, but I think there are even better examples to choose from. Certainly there would be a transition period, but why not adopt some of these ideas as well as other “best and brightest” practices to improve Maryland and create a destination state for the producers as opposed to the takers?
If this sort of transformation can occur in Maryland, I have no doubt Washington D.C. would be next in line.
I really didn’t intend to have a month-long hiatus in this series, but it now returns with my chat with 2014 state Comptroller hopeful Bill Campbell. Campbell also ran for the job in 2010, and it appears that, should he be successful in the GOP primary, he will have a rematch against incumbent Peter Franchot.
monoblogue: Let me bring my readers up to speed here. You are already in the ring for Comptroller next year, 2014; you ran in 2010, and, assuming you get through the primary – which is not a given, but I would say you’re the odds-on favorite – you’re probably going to have a rematch with Peter Franchot, who thought about running for Governor and decided not to. I guess the first thing I want to know is, since you’ve already ran for the office, do you have any lessons you’re going to move into your 2014 campaign?
Campbell: Absolutely. If there was anybody who was ever a novice, it was Bill Campbell in 2010. I started way too late, I had no organization, I got into the race where the Governor’s race was sucking all of the donations out of the air – it was like there was no oxygen in the room – so when I talked to other candidates who were running for office they said the same thing: they couldn’t raise money because the Ehrlich campaign was basically sucking up all of the money that was available for Republicans, the Republican donors. I started way too late; I started in April or May (of 2010)…
Campbell: …and I only raised a few thousand dollars, I can’t remember the exact amount.
I spent most of my money in the primary, I think about $11,000 in the primary. Now some of the money I was able to get benefit of in the general election, like my signs, my palm cards, and so forth, but in the general election I only spent $4,000, give or take a few bucks, and I had to make up for that – money’s important, but it’s not the most important thing. The thing I really learned is that people have to know you, they have to like you, and they have to trust you. If you can get those three things, you get their vote.
monoblogue: Well, the question is, you’re running against guy who’s probably got – I don’t know how much Peter Franchot has in the bank, but I’m sure he’s got quite a bit…
Campbell: He’s got a little over $2 million.
monoblogue: …yeah. It’s almost certain, and this is true of almost any Republican in Maryland, practically, that you’re going to be -you’re going to have to work harder and smarter because you’re not going to have the money available to the incumbent.
Campbell: No, and I figured that if Franchot ran for governor I could probably beat somebody who wasn’t an incumbent by only raising about $125,000. I think I have a good shot at Peter if I could raise $250,000. That’s one of the reasons I started early, I’m asking for money, I’m getting donations, it’s not a huge amount right now – at the end of the year when I filed I think I had just a hair under $2,000 – but I had just started asking people for money. So I’m going to get fundraisers this time.
You bring up a good point. Peter raised $1.9 million the last time – and got a million votes – but he spent $1.5 million. I didn’t see where he spent it wisely. Do you remember seeing anything about Peter Franchot except an occasional 4×8 sign?
monoblogue: No. The thing about this race, since it’s an open seat for governor, you’re going to have an all-out war in the primary on both sides.
monoblogue: You’re going to have, most likely, a very competitive race as far as the general election goes, but it’s going to be a little bit like Question 7 was last year. I think it’s going to take up a lot of the available airtime, so you may be right – you may not have to raise a lot of money. Peter Franchot may have a lot left over at the end of this campaign because he’ll have nowhere to spend the money except maybe consultants and what-have-you, the professional political class that we have in Maryland.
Campbell: I like to say that he’s a twice-elected incumbent Democrat. He presently has $2 million in the bank, he beat me once – I have him right where I want him. He’s overconfident.
monoblogue: Yeah, I noticed when Franchot dropped out of the governor’s race, you said ‘good, I don’t have to face the junior varsity now.’ Obviously you knew what you were going to be up against.
Campbell: I was always – I plan on the worst-case scenario. If I didn’t think I had a fair chance – I’m not in this to make a point. I’m not in this to posture or try to get myself well-known for some higher office later on – I’m a pragmatist. I think that it’s very difficult to win as a Republican any time. But I got a lot of non-Republican votes the last time, and Mr. Franchot didn’t get very many non-Democratic votes – I think he got about 10,000 votes that weren’t Democratic. I can’t swear to it because it’s been two years since I looked at it, but I got well over 100,000 votes that weren’t Republican.
So, for one, his name recognition I don’t think is terribly good. He didn’t do a good job spending his money the last time, he’s fighting with people in his own caucus – you know, there are bills in the General Assembly right now to take some of his functions away. He doesn’t seem to be allied with either Mr. Gansler or Lt. Gov. Brown, so I think that he is more vulnerable than the other candidates that we’re going to have to put nominees up against.
And, to be perfectly honest with you, I think that our chickens are about to come home to roost. The reason I ran the last time I got in was the deficit in our state employee and teacher pension fund, and the retiree health care. It has gotten worse. We’ve gone from being funded about 64% to around 60%, and the deficit on the pension has gone from $18.5 billion to $20.5 billion. The retiree health care fund is still around $16 billion in the hole.
So I think that a lot of things are going to come home to roost, I think that the public may be numb after eight years of constant tax increases, taking the budget from about $29 billion – it will be well over 40 (billion dollars) by the time these clowns are finished. And I think that the realization that the Affordable Care Act is neither affordable nor does it provide good care – I think people, even in Maryland, may be at the point where they’re willing to try something different, and by that elect more Republican elected officials.
monoblogue: Well, in Franchot’s case, he’s always tried to portray himself as a fiscal conservative, but in this case – it’s kind of the opposite of the old saying where Republicans can’t win if they try to be liberal because there’s already a liberal party out there. Democrats who try to be conservative, maybe they can’t win because there’s already a conservative in the race and his name is Bill Campbell.
Campbell: Right, and the thing with Franchot – I like Peter, I’d like to have him as a brother-in-law, or a neighbor, or a lodge brother, or something – but he’s not a good Comptroller. He doesn’t have a grasp of the financial issues. And we’re going to need somebody who has an excellent grasp of the financial issues to help get us through.
Part of that is, we’re probably, in my lifetime, going to have a Democratic-majority General Assembly. Thankfully, in Maryland, because of the way it’s constituted, to control the state you only need two offices: you need the Governor and you need the Comptroller so that you can control the Board of Public Works.
Campbell: If you control the Board of Public Works, then you can control the spending, and you can control the priorities, and you can control the trajectory that Maryland is going to have economically. So whoever our nominee is for Governor, I am going to try to work as closely with them and try to come across as a tag-team that will improve Marylanders’ economic future, the future for their children and their grandchildren.
I think we can have, if we have a good gubernatorial candidate, I think I have more than a fair chance.
monoblogue: Yeah. The other thing that I actually – as I was listening to you, is that, we also need a strong (Republican) party, and it kind of brings me to the next area I wanted to get into. Now I know you ran for state party Chair…in 2010 – you didn’t win, you were third, I think, in the first ballot and then withdrew…
monoblogue: …Obviously you’re not going to do it this time because you’ve already announced for the Comptroller’s race and you can’t do both at once, but what’s your take on the candidates who are in it so far?
Campbell: You mean for party chair?
Campbell: The only one I know who’s really been announced is Diana Waterman. Is there another one?
monoblogue: There are actually two: one is Greg Kline, who’s…
Campbell: Oh, I’m sorry, I did see Greg Kline. I don’t know an awful lot about Greg. I know that he’s been really active in – I read something that was posted, he had a position paper?
Campbell: When I ran, the reason I ran was, after campaigning statewide, I had been in every jurisdiction at least four times. I talked to people on all ends of the spectrum from the Republican party, and I was very concerned because I thought at the time we needed to replace an establishment figure, Audrey Scott, with somebody who was not in any one camp but could reach across the boundaries between the camps and make a cohesive, unified party. I’m afraid – I liked all of the people who ran before, I liked Alex, I liked Sam Hale, but I’m afraid that if you have somebody who is identified only with one faction, the other factions are going to withdraw and we’re not going to be very successful.
That was why I ran, but if somebody had come to me and said – and I had talked to Alex when he ran, and I am 99% sure he assured me he would stay for four years. That was one of the reasons I thought, well, okay, and then I saw where he was raising money, he was using the party imprimatur of the chairman to raise money for a potential run for Roscoe Bartlett’s seat, which I thought was improper.
monoblogue: Right. (laughs) Go ahead, I keep interrupting you.
Campbell: When I ran, I was going to make it a non-paid full-time job, because I think whoever our chair is, until we start to get on a roll, we need to have somebody who is going to work full time, who is going to reach outside the party to constituencies like the businessmen in Baltimore City who have property that’s being adversely affected by the Maryland State Center project – we need to go in and proselytize people that we don’t normally talk to. Whoever is going to run and be our Chair needs to do that, in my opinion.
monoblogue: Well, actually you’ve answered the next question I was going to ask. The other gentleman, by the way, who’s in the race is Collins Bailey – I think he’s out of Charles County.
Campbell: Oh, I know – I know Collins Bailey. I met Collins when he was running against Charles Lollar to be our nominee for the Fifth Congressional District. I like Collins, he’s a nice guy, he’s conservative, I don’t know what kind of support he has among the Central Committees, because as far as I know he’s just widely known in southern Maryland.
monoblogue: Yeah, that’s my impression of him, too. I mean, I know who he is, I’ve probably talked to him once or twice, but – any of those candidates, and I know Diana, too, has actually done this and Greg Kline is in the process of doing this – they need to get out and get to all 23 counties if they can before the race. That’s the key.
Campbell: I think – isn’t there going to be in Montgomery County…isn’t there going to be a panel discussion with all of them?
monoblogue: There could be, I’m not sure. I know, for example, Greg Kline is coming to our Lincoln Day Dinner Saturday – I think Collins Bailey is trying to get there too. Diana Waterman will be there too, I’m sure, because she’s from the Eastern Shore. So I think – I don’t think anyone else is going to get in, I would be surprised if they did now. And you kind of answered my next question, I was going to ask what advice you had for the winner, but you’ve already kind of given that, so let me turn to one other thing real quick: I wanted to talk about – and I know you have a little expertise on federal matters because you used to run Amtrak, and you probably have a little bit of insight into the budget process…
Campbell: Yes, I had 30 years in the federal government, 19 as a career senior executive, and two years as a Presidential appointee as an assistant secretary for management at the VA. So I know a lot about the federal government.
monoblogue: So what do you think about all this talk about – obviously we started with sequestration, and now we’re talking about the possibility of some shutdown or other, and getting a budget out because they have to – they have to get a budget out or they don’t get paid. If you wave a magic wand, what does Bill Campbell do about this whole deal?
Campbell: Well, here’s the thing you have to remember. I’ve been looking at it through the lens of ‘how is this going to affect Maryland?’ I want to run for Maryland office, and – if I succeed and I win – I’m responsible for the finances of the state. And I look at it – Maryland, over the past four decades, has become a ward of the federal legislature. We get approximately 40% of our state revenue to run our government directly and indirectly from the feds. We get 27% directly, and then we get about another 13% indirectly through income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes from federal employees, federal retirees, and federal contractors and military retirees, and to some extent property tax from perhaps military – active-duty military.
So regardless of whether you call it sequestration, the fiscal cliff: no matter what you do any – any – reduction in federal spending will adversely affect Maryland. That said, we desperately need to cut back on the spending. That’s going to be painful, but if we don’t do with everybody, even the liberals agree that our spending is on an unsustainable path.
We are borrowing 42 cents on every dollar that we spend at present, and we – the debt service right now is, I believe 200 or 300 billion dollars and we are paying historically low rates on that debt. In a couple of years, when the fed stops doing quantitative easing, even Bernanke has admitted by about 2015 the interest rates that we are going to be paying – which are all pegged to the 10-year Treasury note – are going to jump up to the historic value of about 4 or 5 percent. What that means is that the largest single budget item to the federal government will be debt service. That will crowd out spending we need for infrastructure, defense, clean air, safe food, safe drinking water, public health – everything will become secondary so that we have to cut the spending.
And there are smart ways to do it and dumb ways to do it. Sequestration, when you look at it, isn’t that bad, particularly if you put, as they are right now, flexibility for the federal agencies in there. The Department of Defense’s budget this year is $711 billion – you think, oh my God, under sequestration we’re going to go to 522 (billion dollars.) Well, 522 might be absolutely fine because the difference between 521 and 711 is fighting two wars. As we get out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and we avoid going into places like Iran and Syria, and Africa – then we can absorb that reduction well.
So I’m not afraid the sky is going to fall, I think what has happened is that the Obama administration has tried to make sequestration as painful as possible – you know, letting 2,000 illegal aliens loose that were in custody, closing down tours of the White House – they are doing everything humanly possible to make this appear a big problem. Well, I just came back from Florida and, you know, except for an occasional little mention of sequestration it’s not on anybody’s radar outside the Beltway, and it doesn’t seem to be having much of an effect because, rather than a cliff, it’s kind of a slow, gentle slope with the cutbacks and spending and you probably won’t really see it until next year and next year is when the Affordable Care Act costs are going to start to really hammer people, so I think 2014, because of these things, is going to be a decent year for Republicans, even in Maryland.
monoblogue: Well, that’s a good place to wrap it up. So I appreciate the time, Bill.
We actually talked a little bit more regarding the 2014 race, but for the purpose of this exercise I’ll keep that off the record. One thing I will share is his opinion that “Maryland’s finances are terribly broken.” Seems to me that’s a good reason to get into the race, and I wish Bill the best of luck in his uphill fight.
I should also note that I recorded this interview on Friday, so I had the opportunity to speak with all three Chair candidates at our Lincoln Day Dinner subsequent to recording this post.
Next week’s guest will be another Maryland political figure, with the question being which one of the two records his interview first.
We’ve all heard the stories about sequestration: how the Democrats are trying to make the cuts as painful and public as possible, then blame Republicans for the misery caused. Cases in point: cancellations of White House tours (despite the fact they’re put on by volunteers) and the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds aerial performers despite the good will and recruiting ability they create for the military. No one’s telling Barack Obama to skip a vacation or a golf game.
Nor is anyone at Organizing
Against America For Action interested in hearing the real truth about the sequester. The other day I received this piece of advice:
Last week, devastating budget cuts went into effect because Congress failed to compromise — with some Republicans choosing to protect tax loopholes for millionaires and billionaires over programs that millions of middle-class families rely on.
This is frustrating, and it’s at times like these when Washington feels more broken than ever. But here’s what President Obama had to say:
“The question is: Can the American people help persuade their members of Congress to do the right thing? And I have a lot of confidence that over time, if the American people express their displeasure about how something is working, that eventually Congress responds.”
So today, we’re asking that Organizing for Action supporters do one easy thing to make their voice heard: Tweet at your member of Congress.
Tweeting is a public way to demand a response from your legislator — it’s one of the most direct ways to get your point across.
Tweet at Rep. Andy Harris right now and demand action… (Emphasis in original.)
If you follow their link, this is part of the message you tweet:
Dear Congress: It’s time to compromise. End the sequester and stop #CutsWeCantAfford.
Gee, they came up with their own hashtag. So I had some fun with it based on the following video:
Andy just took this poor shlub apart, judging by the deer in the headlights look.
Here’s the Tweet I sent, with the hashtag included. Just following instructions – on how to wreak havoc.
— Michael Swartz (@ttownjotes) March 10, 2013
Maybe we on the right side need to co-opt the hashtag #GovernmentWeCantAfford for ourselves. As Andy so cleverly shows, government can often do with less, but we don’t always have the stones to stand up and tell them so.
In a few days, after it’s all over and soft-headed Republicans who forget that sequestration was Barack Obama’s idea in the first place cave once again to the ginned-up outrage created by the subterfuge of groups like Organizing
Against America For Action, everything will go back to the way it was on the road to serfdom.
Don’t believe OFA isn’t heaping blame on Republicans? Check out the excerpts from these e-mails I’ve received over the last few days. The first is from OFA’s Jim Messina, who should know better but obviously remains either delusional or worried his story won’t stick:
If congressional Republicans don’t act by tomorrow, we’re going to be hit by a series of devastating, automatic budget cuts called the sequester.
It’s a sledgehammer to the budget, our economy, and millions of Americans across the country — and the most frustrating part? It doesn’t have to happen.
The majority of Americans support President Obama’s balanced approach to deficit reduction — add your name if you do, too.
So far, congressional Republicans are refusing to compromise — all because they don’t want to close tax loopholes for millionaires, billionaires, vacation homes, and corporate jets. Seriously.
This has very real consequences.
On the chopping block are 10,000 teaching jobs, more than 70,000 kids’ spots in Head Start, $35 million for local fire departments, $43 million to make sure seniors don’t go hungry, and access to nutrition assistance for 600,000 women and their families. That’s just a few of the things we’ll lose.
The second came from OFA’s Jon Carson yesterday:
Today, because congressional Republicans refused to act, devastating budget cuts known as the sequester are going into effect.
They’re self-inflicted wounds, and they didn’t have to happen.
Congress can stop all of this right away — and pursue a balanced approach to deficit reduction.
That’s what the vast majority of Americans want, and yesterday, more than 100,000 Americans called on Congress to be reasonable about the budget.
Finally, from Stephanie Cutter. Note the similarities in phrasing and dire predictions of gloom ahead:
Prepare yourself for job layoffs, reduced access to early education, slower emergency response, slashed health care, and more people living on the street.
This Friday is the final deadline for congressional Republicans to stop disastrous automatic spending cuts (known as the “sequester”) that will hurt everyday Americans — including you.
These budget cuts will take a sledgehammer to the budget, and indiscriminately cut critical programs vital to economic growth and middle class families.
If Congress fails to act, we’d see budget cuts pretty much across the board to critical services that teachers, first responders, seniors, children, and our men and women in uniform rely on every day.
It sounds bad because it is. And with all these cuts on the line, why are congressional Republicans refusing to budge?
Because to do so, they’d have to close tax loopholes for millionaires and billionaires, oil companies, vacation homes, and private jet owners. I’m not kidding.
It’s on each of us to speak up. Share what these budget cuts could mean to you — or someone you know — today. Congress needs to hear it.
President Obama has offered a balanced plan to reduce our deficit, asking the wealthy to pay their fair share so that we can protect programs that are incredibly important for working and middle-class Americans.
But congressional Republicans so far are refusing to compromise.
Here are some of the consequences if Congress fails to act by Friday:
– 10,000 teachers would be laid off, $400 million would be cut from Head Start, the program that makes sure at-risk preschoolers are ready for kindergarten, and 70,000 kids would be kicked out of the early-education program completely.
– The budget for firemen and other first responders to react when natural disasters strike would be cut by $35 million.
– Nutrition programs that help make sure seniors don’t go hungry would be cut by $43 million.
– A program that helps provide housing for the formerly homeless, including many veterans, would be shuttered, putting them at risk of going back on the street.
– A number of programs that help the most vulnerable families and children would be slashed — including the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children dropping 600,000 women alone.
Right now, each of us has a responsibility to step up and make sure Congress hears our voices.
Whether you’d be directly affected by these sequester cuts, or whether they’d affect a senior, veteran, or teacher you know, please share what they mean to you:
Let’s keep the pressure on congressional Republicans to do the right thing.
What they don’t tell you is that Republicans DID “the right thing”, but their cuts weren’t to Barack Obama’s liking because they insisted on no tax increases this time. (Remember, the last “fiscal cliff” deal at the end of last year increased taxes on the so-called “wealthy” back to the nearly 40 percent rate they paid under the Clinton Administration, piling on over $600 billion in revenue Washington will spend, spend, spend.)
As Stephen Dinan wrote in the Washington Times, this wheel was set in motion two years ago:
The sequesters were set into motion by the 2011 debt deal, and were meant to be too painful for anyone to accept. They were part of a package that gave Mr. Obama the power to raise the government’s debt ceiling by more than $2 trillion, in exchange for spending caps and the deeper sequester spending cuts.
That debt increase has been used up, but Congress and Mr. Obama are still fighting over whether to follow through on the spending cuts.
Mr. Obama said he was unwilling to shoulder responsibility for the cuts and threatened to veto the Republican plan, saying he would accept a bill only with tax increases included. The Republican plan fell 22 votes short of the 60 needed to move ahead. (Emphasis mine.)
So the unwillingness to compromise is exclusively from the White House, because Obama seems to believe that if he can make the cuts as painful as possible he’ll shame Republicans into accepting yet more tax increases (which he seems to have direction his minions to dub as “tax loopholes.”) The Republican Study Committee puts this into perspective:
The sequester was the brainchild of the Obama administration in the first place, and the House passed targeted spending cuts to replace the across-the-board sequester nearly 300 days ago. Washington clearly has a spending problem, and we need real spending cuts in order to get our country back on track.
Remember, this is all over $85 billion which, thanks to typical Washington accounting, isn’t really $85 billion in actual spending but mainly projected spending. In terms of a $3.7 trillion budget we’re almost talking about a rounding error – to me, real cuts would be more in the neighborhood of $370 billion in actual dollars not spent (or borrowed).
As noted on CNS News, one representative gets it:
“The fact is, when we accepted the president’s sequester 18 months ago, we made a deal, a dollar for cuts for a dollar of debt limit increase,” (Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas) said during a press conference with House Republican leaders. ”If he wants to do the bait-and-switch now, we will have lied to our constituents by replacing those with tax increases.”
“This leads you to the truth, and the truth is the president needs to come back from his campaign style tour, stop scaring people, and work with us to address the issue of the debt and deficits, get the economy moving and people back to work,” Jenkins said.
So, President Obama, you can keep trying to blame Republicans or you can get in there and address the problem by working on the cuts YOU agreed to. You can fool enough of the people to get elected twice, but you’re not fooling me.
So far I’ve survived sequestration just fine, and I plan to continue doing so.