While House Speaker John Boehner said on Fox News Sunday that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s proposal, on behalf of the Obama administration, could not be taken serious, and that it brought a laugh out loud incident by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, but we almost have to wonder about the Republicans offer as well as it seems they are counter offering Obama almost all of what he wants, but they are getting nothing in return.
A letter was signed by House Republican leadership, which included Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), and House Speaker Boehner (R-OH) that offered to raise taxes by $800 billion and cut spending by $1.4 trillion. Remember, that spending cut is not an actual spending cut. In addition they completely dodged the entitlement reform they were claiming had to be met.
The letter in part read:
If we were to take your Administration’s proposal at face value, then we would counter with the House-passed Budget Resolution. It assumes an overhaul of our tax code with revenue remaining at historically normal levels and proposes structural reforms to preserve and protect the Nation’s entitlement programs, ensuring they are sustainable for the long-term rather than continuing to grow out of control.
This means that they have backed off from the proposal, which was more serious, which the House had already passed! They even showed their cowardice in the letter by stating, “we recognize it would be counterproductive to publicly or privately propose entitlement reforms that you and the leaders of your party appear unwilling to support in the near-term.”
The Heritage Foundation writes:
While preferable in general to raising tax rates, this proposal largely dooms future efforts at tax reform based on the sound principle of broadening the tax base to lower the rates. Instead, this proposal would broaden the base, not to lower rates, but to raise revenues. So much for improved economic growth.
Essentially, it appears the Republican leadership caved on raising taxes and first steps toward fundamental entitlement reforms that are desperately needed to keep Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid going. To be sure, the Boehner letter is short on details. But, as Fraser and Foster put it, “Beyond disappointing, the House Republican counteroffer appears at best to suggest incremental tweaks to these programs. Without real entitlement reform—not just spending cuts—we will never fix the underlying problem.”
Not only would this be the right course to take, but Americans polled just after the election have these priorities more in order than the President and Congress.
Just a few days after the election, Gallup asked people to rank a list of 12 issues by importance for the President’s second term. Restoring “a strong economy and job market” was No. 1, with entitlement reform—“take major steps to ensure the long-term stability of Social Security and Medicare”—No. 2. “Make major cuts in federal spending” was No. 6 on the list, while raising taxes on people making more than $250,000 a year was way down the list at priority No. 10.
Just a day after the Republican offer was made public, conservative activist L. Brent Bozell III said what we all have been thinking all along, and that is that the Republican party is no longer the party of limited government, limited spending, and limited taxes. “It is now officially exactly right behind the Democrats — on everything,” Bozell said. “It is time for conservatives to start looking for a new home. There’s precious little left for us here.”
“It would be impossible to count the times and ways Boehner, Cantor, McCarthy and so many others have told America that tax hikes would kill jobs and cripple the economy. Lo and behold, that’s just what they’ve proposed, $800 billion of them,” he said. “They aren’t taxes, no siree. They are ‘revenue,’ and ‘loopholes’ that are closed (which also begs the question: if loopholes, why were they open?).”
But he wasn’t alone. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) rightly spoke out against the Republican offer saying, “Everyone knows that when you take money out of the economy, it destroys jobs, and everyone knows that when you give politicians more money, they spend it. This is why Republicans must oppose tax increases and insist on real spending reductions that shrink the size of government and allow Americans to keep more of their hard-earned money.”
“Washington has a spending addiction that is shackling our children and grandchildren with unsustainable debt,” the Senator said. “Conservatives fought for a balanced budget amendment last year precisely because we knew the political establishment in Washington would never stop their tax and spend addiction without it.”
Then Senator DeMint said exactly what needed to be said concerning the “negotiations.” He declare, “If neither party leadership is going to put forward a serious plan to balance the budget and pay down the debt, we should end this charade. We can stop the fiscal cliff with the bill that House Republicans already passed that simply extends the current tax rates and replaces the defense cuts with reductions in wasteful spending.”
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