Thursday, November 29, 2012

Presidential Check (maybe Mate)

Republicans are breaking on the edge of the fiscal cliff.

The President set this up very well politically. A few Republicans, having learned some difficult mathematical reality on election night, are now facing reality on the Bush tax cuts. My new hero is a Reality Republican Congressman from Nebraska:
Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., signed Norquist's pledge but says now that he's open to a deal that includes some new tax revenues. . . . “We're screwed either way,” Terry said. “We really have no leverage in these discussions.”
Representative Lee Terry, Republican, Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District
I don't know much else about Rep. Terry, but I think he gets it.

Betting on his win of a second term, the President set up this fiscal cliff trap for the Republicans some time ago. It has to be avoided. If they vote to raise any type of taxes, they break their grover pledges and are subject to a challenge from the tea party right-wing of their party in the primaries of 2014. If they don't support a deal and we go off the cliff, even for a short time, the markets (one of their natural constituencies) and the people at large, will not be too happy - not to mention the whole military-industrial complex (another natural constituency in spite of warnings from Pres. Eisenhower), that will also be at serious risk. They will be blamed and weakened politically either way, so maybe the Democrats' chances in the 2014 mid-terms could be looking up - not to mention our chances for a little fiscal policy sanity to address taxes,deficits, and budgets.

In the movie Lincoln, our greatest President is portrayed engaging in some tricky political maneuvering to get the Thirteenth Amendment freeing the Slaves through a difficult House of Representatives. President Obama did read that book (Team of Rivals) and see the movie. Maybe Rep. Terry did too.

And I already e-mailed my Senators and Congressman. They probably won't listen to me. Thank heavens for a National Union and a good President!


  1. Perhaps tax cuts were promises made long ago by the Bush Adm. However our president has done nothing to curb government's not how much you take in but how much you within your means has always been good policy....the fact that past and current administrations have avoided this policy has created our current market situation..I would love to see him (our "good" president) curb his spending before taking in taxes!

    1. My salary has certainly been curbed. Spending isn't the problem. A silly pledge to absolutely never raise taxes is.

    2. I could live without tax increases, as long as all the cuts came from military and defense spending, closing business tax loop holes, stopping crop subsidies to "farms" making over 10 million a year profit, and that changed the "loop hole" that gives capital gains a different tax rate than regular income.

      I think that we should also require that none of the cuts come from soldiers salaries, below the rank of General, and that automatic cost of living raises be built in to wages, healthcare and relocation costs for soldiers, veterans and their families. The number of soldiers needed will go down as we get ourselves out of wars, and hopefully many foreign bases, but programs and weapons should take the funding cuts, not soldiers, vets and their families. If anything, pay and benefits to military families and veterans families are the one place I see military spending as woefully inadequate.

      In exchange I would like Grover Norquist to add to his "no new taxes pledge" a clause that extends that to any regressive tax, so that social security is taxed on all income, sales taxes on those who live at 200% above the poverty line and below would have those taxes returned to them at the end of the year in the form of vouchers that can be used for housing, medical care, utilities or food (no sales tax paid when using vouchers) so that there is a way to make sure that the money is going for basic expenses. I would also like to see Norquist explicitly state that closing loopholes or lowering or taking away subsidies to corporations is not the same as raising taxes.

      I think that could quickly fix the cliff, and actually set us on a path forward where Medicare and Medicaid, along with food stamps, section 8 housing funding and education funding are not in jeopardy. It would also turn us in a direction where we are spending the money we have more efficiently, which goes directly to Mr Anonymous's point about needing to live within our means. We absolutely need to stop spending so much money on corporate welfare programs!


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