Tag Archives: Republicans

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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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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Republican legislators providing evidence nationwide to support conservative policies

The composition/division fallacy has become a pervasive disease in the political world. If one Republican is a certain way, they all must be.

If one Tea Partier is one way, they all must be.

Television doesn’t do anyone any favors because they play off stereotypes to gives us characters we recognize. But, for instance, when HBO’s new show The Newsroom (a show I very much enjoy) has a what we might call a logical extension of this fallacy in a recent episode, it becomes insidious to productive debate – ironic given that the show is about creating news to foster intelligent political discussions.

As part of the story, the news team is attempting to cover the Arizona law on immigration passed in 2010 – the one the Supreme Court recently ruled unconstitutional.

Though an unfortunate and somewhat comical series of events, the show loses an interview with Governor Jan Brewer. On such short notice, the only people they could find to defend the law was a gun-toting former state patrol agent, a professor from Phoenix University online who is portrayed as being anti-Mexican, and the second runner-up in the Miss USA pageant from Oklahoma.

In other words, only the governor could possibly have articulated any kind of coherent argument for this law. It paints the Republicans in Arizona and around the country as ignorant, gun-clutching bigots.

It may seem like a subtle nuance to some, but to me, its indicative of the way many view the political realm.

Now, that being said, I’ve buried the lead.

The reason I’ve done so will become clear in a moment as I explain a recent piece from the Examiner online showing that the 17 Republican governors elected in 2010 have dropped unemployment significantly more effectively than their Democratic counterparts.

In fact, unemployment fell on average 1.35% in these red states while the national average was about a .9% decline. The Democratic governors elected saw their unemployment fall at about the national rate, making Republicans 50% more effective at turning around their economies than Democrats.

Three states, Michigan, Florida, and Nevada saw declines over 2%, more than double the national rate.  When you consider the major metropolitan areas devastated by the recession and housing bubble bursting in those states, the work these governors and state legislatures have done has to be considered truly remarkable.

In fact, the national average would be even less impressive if not for a third of the states in the union pulling so much of the weight.

To put things a little differently: the Republicans at the state level, where most conservatives would argue the majority of governing ought to be taking place, have been successful at implementing conservative ideals which have had positive economic impacts.

Now, back to my original point. I’m not saying all Republicans are smart or good, but when you look at the numbers – liberals don’t like dealing with facts – they show significant progress moving forward.

I know lefties think they have a trademark on the word “progress,” but since we haven’t made any at the federal level with a Democratic-controlled government, I think we can safely say that isn’t true.

The key here is how these Republicans did it, not that they were simply Republican. George W. Bush is a prime example of why that doesn’t always follow.

Republicans in states like Indiana and Wisconsin, took control of spending and deficits. They put incentives in the hands of businesses and removed the impediments to fiscal responsibility in government. Conservatism at its archetype.

Many of these states are improving their business climates with tax incentives for expansion and when you’re working with balanced budgets, businesses have faith that the states are stable enough to re-invest once the subsidies either go away or run out.

Not all Republicans or conservatives are smart, but the ideas many of them stand for can and do work. There’s strong evidence that, despite a lagging economy, the criticisms of people like Mitt Romney and Scott Walker for their pro-business stances are actually hurtful, not helpful to the middle class and businesses.

The problem is getting people to believe it even when they can see it.

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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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President election as a referendum on government’s role in our lives

When George W. Bush won two terms as president, political scientists and analysts looked at the rise of so-called values voters as one of the key components of Bush’s success.

These values voters looked at important social and cultural issues and used those to base their selection for president. Karl Rove became famous for engaging this part of the GOP base, in particular the evangelical side, and winning.

But when it comes to government, and the way it reacts to its people, there wasn’t a clear difference between Bush and either of his opponents in the general election.

This is, of course, why Rove set up the narrative the way he did: an election has to have a clear choice.

It’s why we have a two-party system.

McCain v. Obama presented two very different candidates. There was a clear choice.

And America’s voice was both loud and clear: we want someone new and different.

When nothing changed in two years, the Republican (and more specifically Tea Party) movement brushed back this progressive wave of liberal ideology.

The Wall Street Journal presented this choice through the lens of government spending.

They call it “the 6 trillion dollar difference.”

Romney wants to reign in government spending, Obama wants to expand it.

Despite Obama’s unmitigated failures to grow the economy with his exorbitant spending and his promises of economic prosperity, his argument has been that the government hasn’t spent enough money.

Obama has even gone so far as to say that the private sector “is doing fine,” (whether you believe he meant that or not is certainly up for debate), and that more local officials (Republicans we are to assume) are to blame for losing so many public sector jobs.

Obama’s preference is to tax more and spend more, despite the fact that neither of those things will create a burgeoning market place outside of government.

We know now, three years in, that President Obama’s intention has never been to grow the private sector. His idea is to grow the economy through government spending, by growing government.

This election is not about values voters anymore. Lefties tried to push the war on women thing, but Romney never fit the mold.

Obama has tried to make gay marriage an issue, but most people saw through the thinly-veiled political game.

November is about the way you view the government’s role in our lives.

Obama wants more, Romney wants less.

All of the other issues truly are superfluous to that issue.

The president has no real power when it comes to gay marriage or reproductive issues (unless he’s issuing unilateral mandates violating constitutional rights).

What the president can control is the direction of governmental influence in the life if of its citizens.

It’s clear that the last three years of additional government interference in the market, bloated bureaucratic regulations, and reckless spending doesn’t improve the lives of the average citizens. Instead, it only serves to grow the rapidly expanding powers of government, lessening your freedoms and your chance to control your own destiny.

That’s the choice we have in November. And with two candidates with such starkly contrasting ideologies, voters should have no trouble seeing who is the better fit to end this economic crisis.

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Liberal Feminists waging real ‘War on Women’

The Republican “war on women.” I don’t even want to address it further as it may tacitly legitimize the idea created by liberal fantasy and our president’s inability to win on his own merits.

“Man, I’ve sucked as President, but seriously, if you elect the Mormon, we’re screwed.”

They’re probably already printing t-shirts that say that.

But as I’ve argued many times, Republicans don’t have a monopoly on misogynists. In fact, the very core of what it means to be a liberal feminist is, in fact, it’s own war on women.

Hilary Rosen proves my point in her condescending and accusatory remarks on Ann Romney.

In case you missed it, Rosen blasted Mrs. Romney for “never working a day in her life.”

After the backlash hit, and Bill Maher predictably made things worse (to the point that some questioned whether Obama ought to distance himself from Maher), Rosen penned a rebuttal.

Let me use a quote from that HuffPost piece of self-ingratiating slop to explain why the left’s version of “feminism” is so dangerous.

Now let’s be clear on one thing. I have no judgments about women who work outside the home vs. women who work in the home raising a family. I admire women who can stay home and raise their kids full-time. I even envy them sometimes.

Except that’s not true. It’s obviously not true or she wouldn’t have ‘accused’ Mrs. Romney of never working a day in her life, as if that was some kind of pejorative.

Ann Romney is “only” a house keeper in the eyes of the feminist left, as if that’s some sort of curse.

Apparently no relationship can be equal so long as the man works and woman doesn’t, even if the woman would rather stay home and take care of the children.

It’s become inadequate for that to be the role of a woman in today’s society, like they’re acquiescing to the monarchical and paternalistic structures that somehow oppress them.

Never mind that Mrs. Romney has multiple sclerosis and a bout with breast cancer.

Equity in a relationship, in a household, is based on the relationship, not the income structure. Rosen’s last little quip about “envying” these women is a patronizing, arrogant and hypocritical sentiment considering when her and her former partner had children, Rosen did stay home with them.

Feminists have taken the structure of the household and deemed it unfit for public consumption. Women who want to be mothers, who want to stay home and spend time with their families, running the household, are told they shouldn’t.

It’s somehow been deemed mutually exclusive that a woman can be both independent and a full-time mom.

How can telling someone they should be ashamed for wanting something be considered anything other than suppressing those desires?

Who is fighting the war on women now?

Unfortunately it’s working for the left. Obama holds a massive lead  in women voters, based mostly on the singular fact that Mitt Romney is a Republican, since everyone knows Republicans hate women.

Unfortunately this “war on women” rhetoric is working, even if the so-called war is certainly not a Republican issue, but rather one of American culture at its very foundation.

The left purports to be raising women out of some kind oppression, the same kind of condescending attitudes that allowed the American people to accept slavery of Africans and the conquest of the native people of the continent.

By saying someone else’s desired way of life is immoral simply because it doesn’t align with your own, you take a much stronger stance than any pro-life conservative could ever take.

True freedom, true gender equality, is allowing women to choose their path and being allowed to have that path respected, even if you disagree with it. But that’s not how the left works. You’re not free to choose what you want, you’re only “free” to choose what they want.

I’m pretty sure we call that fascism.

As an aside: 

Rosen has to get a shot in on Romney, no matter how petty, for his history at Bain Capital, where apparently less than 10% of his senior workforce were women.

She dismisses Romney’s explanation that he couldn’t find more qualified female applicants as simple hogwash, disregarding the fact that only 17% of Chartered Financial Analyst charter holders in the U.S. are woman.

It’s hard to find hard numbers on just how big that staff was, but for the sake of argument, Bain now has 400 employees, but in 1990 it had just 115. So let’s say that in 1999, when Romney left Bain, it had 200 employees. If 10% of those employees were on his executive staff that’s 20 people (20 is probably too large a number, but we’ll use it for the sake of argument).

Ten percent of that is 2 women. If he’d hired just one more woman, he’d be at 15% and essentially would be the industry expectation for qualified female investment professionals. We’re going to bash him over the difference between one staff position based on a fact Rosen doesn’t cite?

 (I haven’t been able to corroborate this fact either, although Romney, as she mentions, addressed it in his 1994 Senate run)


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