Tag Archives: Democrats

GOP’s counter-offer in Fiscal Cliff Talks puts Obama in difficult position

After the ridiculous proposal put forth by the Obama administration concerning the so-called fiscal cliff, the Republicans returned fire with a proposal of their own.

In it, will be a proposed $800 billion in additional revenue – about half of what the president wants – and more substantive reforms to entitlement spending, although the GOP was careful not to go after any of the left’s sacred calves.

Democrats have been very clear that they would not sign any fiscal cliff policy that doesn’t increase rates on top earners, but there’s no clear evidence to support why that would be any different than other kinds of revenue outside of the fact that the left wants to punish success.

In the plan is also about $1.2 trillion in cuts including deeper cuts to Medicare than the president proposed and a change to how Social Security is calculated.

As the Business Insider points out, the plan is a legitimate compromise because the tax loop holes would disproportionately affect the wealthiest Americans, but also would give the GOP bigger cuts.

Not only is it a good sign for the negotiations given that the Republicans seemed to have backed off a more hard-line approach, or at least the appearance of one, but this plan will make it much harder for President Obama to stand firm on his insistence on raising taxes.

John Boehner and the Republicans have met President Obama exactly halfway on new revenues and the tax reform will impact top earners just like the Democrats want. The cuts to Medicare aren’t new, in fact, they’re part of the plan the White House has already outlined, the GOP just wants bigger cuts.

By approaching this from a more bi-partisan prospective – the framework is based on Democrat Erksine Bowles’ plan – Boehner has changed the playing field for the discussion.

The GOP has made it clear that they will not negotiate from the absurd position the Obama administration has taken to begin these discussions. By offering a legitimate counter to the president’s plan, Obama and the Democrats must now choose between looking like intransigent tax mongers or agreeing to change the game plan to the Republican framework.

But by giving the Republican framework a basis in a plan put forward by a Democrat, the latter is not quite as bitter a pill to swallow.

This is a rare moment, particularly in recent memory for the GOP, that the strategy and the policy are equally laudable. Hopefully it means a deal gets done, regardless of who gets to take the credit.

There is a chance, though, that it could backfire and incense the President along with his Democratic allies. Feeling cornered, the President could hold firm to his demands and allow a deal to go by the wayside until the sequester hits and politicians grow desperate allowing him to swoop in and appear the great bargainer.

For that to happen though, he’ll have to risk appearing uncompromising to start, something he’s accused the GOP of being for years. It seems more likely this will incite a brokered agreement that allows the left to cheer new revenues thanks to more tax revenue from the rich and the right to applaud austerity and entitlement reforms.

It’s a rare chance to have a political win-win.

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Obama’s non-plan for the fiscal cliff a ridiculous power play

During the Vice Presidential debate moderator Martha Raddatz asked Joe Biden what the Obama administration’s plan was for dealing with trillion dollar deficits and a burgeoning debt other than raising taxes on the rich.

His response was, “Martha thank you for asking that question brrreg….bllleeerp…dddeeerp….I think it’s really important that those who can afford to pay more do.”

Maybe I’m paraphrasing, but his answer, more or less, to what else they had besides tax the rich was tax the rich.

Not a great start.

So then, it should come as no surprise that Obama’s opening bid in the debt ceiling negotiations was utterly devoid of compromise and full of the tax raising nonsense he ran on.

Same cuts as in the budget he proposed, which didn’t get a single vote in the House it was so utterly ridiculous.

What it does have is a higher top tax rate for the rich, higher capital gains taxes and explosive increases to the taxes on dividends.

Brian Beutler of Talking Points Memo, suggested this first proposal would make the Republicans look bad because…ummm I’m not sure. The only real analysis he provides is that it now means the GOP must come up with a plan (duh), and this plan was the one Obama ran on.

(Beutler disagreed with that assessment on Twitter yesterday, but read the article and tell me who you think is right).

Business Insider took Beutler’s explanation a step further saying there was a host of things to like in Obama’s plan.

One includes giving the President the power to raise the debt ceiling whenever he wants, which apparently Joseph Weisenthal thinks is a good idea. Obama is in favor of extending the payroll tax break, which was a Republican policy to begin with.

More unemployment benefits and modest infrastructure spending. The last part seems pretty superfluous in the grand scheme of the plan because of nearly $1 trillion in spending didn’t stimulate the economy, $50 billion won’t much matter.

But the president put this plan out there knowing the GOP would laugh at it. Mitch McConnell literally laughed at it.

No entitlement reform, the top driver of our debts and deficits. Even liberals know that is true.

An onerous tax hike, particularly on investment earnings when most economists believe in a recession you ought to lower taxes on investments, particularly given how many people’s retirement money sits in 401K’s and other investment-based holdings.

National Public Radio (gasp), was on board with the potential dangers of raising taxes like this. This plan is a about as serious as a Will Ferrell movie.

Democrats know that raising taxes isn’t going to do much of anything to deal with the deficit, particularly given that only the top end will lose the tax break. It’s just something they want and the left sees this as the time to try and ram it through.

If there had been real movement on entitlement reform – just blindly wielding the budgetary axe is not reform – or a discussion about actual federal government austerity, then maybe the GOP would have reason to talk about revenues from top earners.

I see no reason why the Bush-tax cut revocation for people making $250,000 or a more can’t be accepted by the GOP, but only if it isn’t coupled with burdensome tax hikes on all sorts of other income and comes with a serious attempt to get entitlement spending under control.

This $4 trillion in supposed deficit reductions over the next 10 years is laughable when Obama has rung up $4 trillion in deficits in his four years in office. There’s no reason to believe he won’t just subvert these cuts with new spending. In fact, he almost certainly would.

Matt Yglesias lays out what could actually be a reasonable compromise that would include capping deductions on the rich and allowing Obama to move forward with his stimulus, unemployment benefits etc. Would it ever happen? Of course not, because then the Democrats feel like they lost since it wasn’t their idea (unless of course Harry Reid or a senior Democratic Senator has the stones to suggest it…unlikely)

Democrats think they have the upper hand because the Tea Party looked like the culprit in the last debt ceiling debacle. The sequester though, includes serious cuts to liberal pet programs like Head Start and AIDS funding. It also would include tax increases on the middle class, something the Democrats desperately don’t want to be responsible for.

For Republicans, the spending cuts in the sequester will be fine for many Tea Party Republicans who believe military spending already accounts for too much of the federal budget and that the Medicare and Medicaid cuts were inevitable.

Both sides have reasons to want and not want us to go off the fiscal cliff, but the plan cannot and will not look like the one Barack Obama just put forth. That plan is a non-starter with the GOP and it’s up to them to paint Obama as the one unwilling to compromise by putting forward their own plan which the country can get behind.

Obama has, in the midst of his power play, actually done the Republicans a mighty favor: he’s put the ball in their court. If the GOP can come through with a plan that actually makes sense (and that likely means raising rates on top earners, or at least creating some sort of minimum tax rate coupled with deduction caps), they’ll be able to put considerable pressure back on the president and the Senate to pass the plan.

We can’t pretend like this is a zero-sum game where either the Democrats or Republicans win and the other loses. Unfortunately that’s how the media and even the politicians themselves seem to view it. If that continues, then we all truly lose.

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Redefining a party: Building Conservatism in the 21st Century

Mitt Romney was never the leader of the Republican Party, despite winning the GOP nomination for president. But an important questions faces the GOP and conservatism in this country: if not Romney, then who?

Certainly I won’t argue it ought to be the presidential failure of a Massachusetts governor who doesn’t seem to have an ideology of any kind outside of his Mormon faith.

Republicans are now being pulled in so many directions, it’s like the party is being drawn and quartered. And if the Grand Old Party doesn’t choose its leadership wisely, it may just be pulled apart at the seams.

As one Reagan biographer put it in the Daily Caller, “People say this is a fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party…“That’s bullshit. This is a fight for the mind of the Republican Party.”

Craig Shirley, the biographer in question, told Matt Lewis in the DC that conservatism has yet to be established in the 21st century, a scary idea given that we’re 12 years into the century.

Mitch Daniels believes we ought to solve economic crisis before dealing with social issues. In theory, this is congruent with the way we think about priorities. Our most basic needs must be met first and that includes food and safety, neither of which people have with unemployment hovering at 8% and 50 million people on food stamps.

But the left would never allow it, nor would the media. People don’t want to hear about the dire straights of the U.S. economy, they want to hear zingers about Big Bird and lady parts.

Conservatives can’t win the arguments surrounding fiscal and economic policies, in part because Republican social policy is viewed so negatively.

It’s why Marco Rubio is pushing to create a new Republican platform on immigration, one the entire party can embrace.

The issue with the Republican party is that the loudest voices are heard and those voices tend to be the most extreme. Todd Aiken and Richard Mourdock get headlines, when Aiken in particular is a looney, radical voice that don’t represent mainstream GOP thinking.

But there are fractures in the party on abortion policies, on gay marriage, on defense spending, on taxes, and all sorts of places.

In the wake of so many election defeats, the Democratic party coalesced. They’re the gay marriage party, the pro-women’s health care party, the part of the poor, the sick and the weak.

That’s not my opinion, that’s how they’ve branded themselves and they’ve done it through united opposition to Republicanism.

Republicans, if they hope to survive, have to find similar common ground and they have to find that common ground to connect with mainstream voters. Immigration policy under Rubio is an excellent place to start.

The perception of the party has to change if the conservatives hope the outcome of elections are to change. That starts with strong leadership from men like Rubio in deciding what 21st century conservatism looks like and what the country believes they stand for – the distinction is important because what the Democrats say they stand for is actually counter to many of the policies they’ve actually implemented.

We’re now building 21st century conservatism and if we don’t choose the right architects, the foundation will crumble.

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Obama won no mandate, but doesn’t seem to care

The ideas Mitt Romney brought to the table were not new ones for the Republican Party: lower taxes, unburden businesses, get spending under control, reform entitlements, etc.

It would be easy to say this was a referendum on Republican fiscal policy. That was the platform on which Willard Romney ran and it was the platform that wasn’t enough to get him elected.

But to this business of a mandate, Obama certainly thinks he has one. He told reporters in his first remarks as president (which weren’t in a press conference. The POTUS never took questions although both Bush and Clinton did after being re-elected) that the people had decided his approach to dealing with the fiscal cliff was the way they preferred.

This, of course, is the dangerous part of elections because the candidate who wins believes the sum total of his or her ideas were codified by the electorate. Remind me again, what is Obama’s approach?

His campaign centered around an erroneous analysis of Mitt Romney’s tax plan, an attack of Mitt Romney’s wealth and business past, Big Bird and binders full of women.

So Obama’s plan, the one the electorate agreed was the right plan is…

Well, we know one part, tax the rich. This is the only plan the Obama administration has to deal with the deficit, only it’s been made abundantly clear that higher taxes on millionaires would be like taking a bucket full of water out of Lake Michigan.

Jim Treacher in The Daily Caller took the so-called mandate idea a step further and broke down Obama’s victory state by state because we have this hideous thing called the electoral college which was supposed to prevent candidates from pandering only to high population areas – so instead they pander to Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Here is an updated set of numbers, according to the results this morning 

Florida: 73,858

Ohio: 103,481

Virginia: 115,910

Colorado: 113,099

Those four states, with a collective margin of 406,348 for Obama, add up to 69 electoral votes. Had Romney won 407,000 or so additional votes in the right proportion in those states, he would have 275 electoral votes.

As Treacher puts it, Obama basically won a margin the size of Omaha, Nebraska. How can there possibly be a mandate there?

Furthermore, in a twist of ironic fate, Mitt Romney won 48.6% of the vote. That number isn’t particularly significant, but when you consider Obama and his accomplices in the media spent weeks blasting Romney for his comments about the so-called 47%, the drama heightens.

Barack Obama promised to be the president of 100% of the nation, not just the 53% Mitt Romney says he would. Coincidently, President Obama didn’t even get to 53% and yet he’s already talking about going against the wishes of nearly half the nation.

It’s not the first time Obama told the country, “I know better than you.” Nearly 60% of the country didn’t want ObamaCare implemented and while that number has steadily dropped, it will spike again once the provisions are implemented and millions of businesses have to lay off workers or force them to become part-time employees, leaving millions of Americans in a position where they can’t afford to pay Obama’s health care tax, nor can they afford an individual plan.

Obama and the Democrats have no incentive to negotiate a “grand bargain” on the fiscal cliff because if the sequester hits, it’ll be much easier to for Congress to re-appropriate funds for the federal government than lower the tax increase which looms with no agreement.

The president has the GOP and the country by the you-know-whats and his first press conference was in indication that he plans to use his leverage to create an America in his image.

Given that he didn’t run a campaign based on what he wants that to be, we can only go on his past ideologies and policies to extrapolate forward.

If you do that, you begin to see why Obama didn’t run based on that vision; it’s a scary one.

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Straight data from the polls don’t tell whole story, hides Romney’s advantage

“For three decades we’ve sought to solve the problem of unemployment through government planning and the more the plans fail the more the planners plan. A government can’t control the economy without controlling people and they know when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. Somewhere a perversion has taken place. Our natural, unalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment.”

Ronald Reagan won in 1980 not just despite the predictions of the liberal elite, but conservatives might say in spite of them. As Joe Scarborough points out,  Obama is leading most polls, but that doesn’t mean the election should be called for the incumbent just yet.

Nate Silver will have you believe that the tight national popular vote data is a reflection of Obama’s relative weakness in his base. In other words, states he is expected to win handily, he’ll win by a little less,  but if you go state by state, Obama will still win.

That would be fine if I believed the polls.

There are poll “truthers” out there who believe the polls are purposely being skewed to favor the president. I don’t think that’s the case, but rather I think that the methodology being used by a number of entities is wildly flawed.

Real Clear Politics has the race at a dead heat, with neither candidate getting above 48% of the vote – this is based on polling data so the numbers don’t always, and frankly rare do, add up to 100%. That’s bad news for Barack Obama, the sitting president, because late deciders tend not to vote for incumbents.

If you were going to support the incumbent, the thinking goes, you’d have done it already. Since 1980, incumbents have seen their leads shrink following the final polls, not grow. Even though many incumbents still won, it was by a considerably closer margin than even local polls had predicted.

But if you look closer at the data, you’ll find Mitt Romney with a decided advantage. The latest NBC/WSJ poll has Obama up 48% to 47%, with that ceiling number of ’48’ appearing over and over for President Obama.

The partisan breakdown of this poll is 41% Republican, 43% Democrat. Based on comprehensive surveys completed by both Gallup and Rasmussen polling, the electorate by party identification is going to look much more like 2004 than 2008 which means the partisan split will be about even. Rasmussen, in fact, predicts a Republican +1.2 split. If that happens, Romney wins the popular vote by about 3% and there’s just no way Barack Obama will win the electoral college with just 47% of the national vote.

That’s on the low end of the potential swing. As Real Clear Politics explains, the R +11 swing from 2008 shows (the low end of the predicted swing) that Romney should actually win fairly handily tomorrow.

Underscoring that point is the fairly decided advantage Romney has on the economy among likely voters, which is their top priority by a heavy margin. Furthermore, Romney continues to win among independent voters, by as many as 20 points in some polls. To believe that winning independents and being the strongest on the major issue of the election isn’t enough in a race that even liberals call a dead heat is to simply be blinded by partisan ideology.

Mitt Romney can win tomorrow. There are plenty of formulas that say he will win. The issues say he should win.

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Democrat’s hollow criticism of GOP in fight over economy

Government spending, for liberals, must take place in a vacuum: No responsibility, no accountability, no sustainability.

In their minds, these things must just happen and since we know government is the way to eternal happiness, when it comes to government spending, if some is good more is better.

That’s why no one ought be shocked that after creating the most reckless fiscal administration in American history, Democrats are eschewing the blame for the lack of economic progress.

Instead, it’s the Republican’s fault.

I received two identical e-mails to my work account titled ‘5 Ways Republicans Have Sabotaged Job Growth.’

This has become the marching beat to Obama’s campaign, despite the fact that he said that if he couldn’t get the economy turned around in three years that he’d be a one-term president.

Blame the GOP.

But, for the sake of argument, let’s see if what they’re saying has any actual validity.

The line of the e-mail seems straight-forward enough “New numbers released yesterday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the economy added a mere 80,000 jobs in June. That’s down from an average of 150,000 jobs a month for the first part of the year, and far too little to keep up with population growth.”

We know, and people should be pissed. The economy is getting worse, not better despite insistence from the White House that the trillions in debt we’re incurring is going to spur economic growth.

“Republican intransigence on economic policy has been a key contributor to the sluggish recovery.”

And there we are. So, despite the fact that the Democrats had a majority in both chambers for two years, only to lose the House because they were doing such a heinous job, it’s the GOP’s fault things continue to go badly because they’re being so stubborn.

The Democrat-controlled Senate doesn’t seem to care that they haven’t passed a budget since Obama was elected, nor have they passed a single one of the Republican reforms passed in the House including a number of job-creating measures, budget cuts or tax cuts.

Democrats insist the stimulus failed because it simply wasn’t big enough. Apparently $800 billion wasn’t sufficient, what really would have jump-started the economy was $1.2 trillion.

Maybe, except that the money that was used didn’t at all serve it’s intended purpose and keep unemployment down and the reason is simple: simply throwing money at a problem isn’t a way to fix it.

Republicans are blamed for killing the American Jobs Act, despite the fact that it had bipartisan disapproval, especially among Democrats who faced contested elections.

Just to drive home how incredibly misguided this plan was, the Treasury Secretary (!!!) actually said that at a cost of about $200,000 per job, the Jobs Act was still a good deal.

The e-mail I received had a myriad of other reasons: stonewalling quantitative easing, threatening a debt default, cutting spending (they used that one twice).

This is the mantra of the left: if they don’t do it our way, they’re being intransigent.

It takes two parties to make our system work. It takes two houses to pass a bill and a president to sign it. That’s the way this has to be.

The Republicans have approved bill after bill while the Senate has passed nothing, yet it’s the GOP who stand in the way of progress.

Democrats are content to drive up the debt ceiling without austerity measures, yet it was the President himself who criticized Republican leaders under Bush for irresponsible spending driving up the debt ceiling.

But the left sees the world through its own lens, one where tax payers ought to be grateful that the government is providing for them, even if it’s through wildly unsustainable programs and mechanisms.

It’s ok, they’re the government. They know what they’re doing.

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Obama shakes blame for gas prices thanks to media double standard

When gas went over $2 a gallon, I have a distinct memory of hearing the gas line click, signaling the completion of my fill-up.

I looked at the meter to see what I owed and in a moment of shock, I slowly looked up to the sign holding the rates. I looked back down at the meter, hoping I had misread it.

I hadn’t and it was the most I’d ever paid to fill my tank.

With the same kind of dismay, I watched the meter run at the gas station near my house yesterday. The numbers flew by perilously quick, gaining steam until the final number hit and I couldn’t believe it.

Well over $4 a gallon now, gas prices have soared.

My high school economics professor used to tell me that oil prices were one of the few things that seemed to work not just on a supply and demand scale, but a scale of it’s own.

Part of the reason was subsidies, and part because if consumers didn’t use gas, we wouldn’t have alternatives. There was no choice for the consumer.

Oil, and the refined products we use to power our cars, are the only means for most of us to get from Point A to Point B.

Back in 2004, when I had my infamous $2 a gallon fill up, it was apparently clear who the culprit was for high gas prices: President George W. Bush.

Now, with our soon-to-be-former President facing re-election and gas prices already at historic highs around the country, it’s China’s fault. 

No mention of Mr. Obama’s wasteful spending on alternative energies, particularly on subsidies for companies who have no sustainable business plan (even more ironic when you consider their business plan was to create sustainable energy).

Billions of dollars gone to companies who didn’t create jobs and didn’t create energy alternatives, but it’s the rich people’s fault the government is broke.

Got it.

A recent Washington Post article even went so far as to say that President Bush deserved credit for a bill passed in 2007, without which we’d be in a worse place.

This double standard in the media is about as shameful as it is unsurprising.

President Obama has repeatedly blocked the Keystone Pipeline, even when it would create thousands of jobs and decrease our dependence on foreign oil.

Even if we want to increase our sustainable energy – a noble goal we ought to work toward achieving – we can’t ignore that in the short run, we have an oil problem that is driving gas prices out of control.

I wouldn’t expect a liberal to get the ‘big picture,’ especially when the media does such a good job insulating him from the true consequences of his actions.

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