Monday, July 11, 2011

Boehner Backs Away From Bad Deal

Thanks for taking action, friends! Speaker Boehner’s office was deluged with calls and emails Friday. He got the message — as did other members of Congress.

Over the weekend we heard that a significant group of House Republicans met with Speaker Boehner late Friday. They told him to tread carefully, essentially arguing that it wouldn’t help anyone if he agreed to a “big deal” with President Obama only to have few if any House Republicans vote for it.

That warning, plus your calls, led Boehner to think twice. He announced Saturday that he did not want to go down the route of a big $4 trillion deal. That was a good call, and here’s why.

The “big deal” that Obama put on the table involved guaranteed tax hikes in exchange for spending cuts down the road. This is like Charlie Brown and Lucy. We’ve tried to kick this ball before only to have Democrats pull it away from us. Even Ronald Reagan fell for it.

In 1982 Reagan cut a deal with congressional Democrats to raise taxes. In exchange for every $1 in tax hikes, Democrats promised Reagan $3 in spending cuts. Taxes went up, but Democrats reneged on the spending cuts. Reagan later said that deal was the worst mistake of his presidency.

Today President Obama said that he would not accept a deal where he, as a wealthy individual, was not required to pay higher taxes. If Barack Obama and other liberals want to pay higher taxes, the IRS would gladly accept their donations! But why is Obama so desperate to tax everyone else?

As I argue in my Human Events column this week, Obama is a “taxaholic.” Like many liberals, he is addicted to higher taxes and more spending. Republicans should not empower his addiction to big spending and big government.

Unfortunately, like most addicts, the president is still in denial. His policies have not worked. The stimulus bill failed. And his plan to tax us into prosperity won’t work either. As this analysis shows, nations that have successfully balanced their budgets over the past four decades have done so relying on spending cuts, not tax increases.

Fighting The Liberal Spin

House Republicans are doing the right thing. But it is easy to understand why many Americans who aren’t closely following the issue could be confused. The media are parroting Democrat talking points and spinning the debate to Obama’s advantage. Here are some points to consider when speaking with friends and family members.

  • Remind anyone who wants to argue with you about the 2010 elections. Just seven months ago Republicans put up candidates in every congressional district across America who ran on a platform of lower taxes and less spending. On that platform they won more seats than any party in recent decades. And now the pundits are perplexed by the reluctance of conservatives to violate their promises by raising taxes. Republicans are doing exactly what they said they would do.
  • Obama claims that now is the time to get spending under control. At his press conference today, he repeatedly said, “If not now, when?” But it was Barack Obama who pushed through the stimulus bill and ObamaCare, a massive new entitlement program. Obama has added $3.7 trillion to the national debt in his first two and a half years in office. Now he acts as though he is the only one in Washington worried about spending.
  • His solution to this spending crisis is to raise taxes on “millionaires and billionaires.” But, in fact, the tax hikes he’s proposing reach far deeper. Even the Associated Press acknowledges that Obama’s tax rhetoric is misleading. Consider this excerpt: “Proposals under consideration include raising taxes on small business owners and potentially low and middle-income families. You won’t hear about that from Obama. Instead the president focuses on the very rich, and speaks euphemistically.”
  • Obama’s proposed tax increases are not enough to resolve his spending addiction. As we noted last week, the Tax Foundation estimated that tax rates would have to double, and in some cases triple, in order to bring Obama’s budgets into balance. As Margaret Thatcher famously said, the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.
  • As the AP observes, Obama’s proposals would hit small businesses — the major job-creating engine of the economy. No one in the administration can explain how raising taxes on small businesses will help those businesses to hire more people. Not that long ago even Obama admitted that raising taxes in a recession is “the last thing you want to do.” But for socialists like Obama, raising taxes is not about sound economic policy, but rather about “fairness.”
  • Obama is more interested in class warfare than jobs. Obama’s administration is refusing to sell jets to Taiwan, which means billions in lost revenue for Lockheed Martin and lost American jobs. It has refused to authorize a new oil pipeline from Candida that could create as many as 100,000 new jobs. His EPA is imposing new regulations that will require some electricity plants to shut down. The unemployment rate today (9.2%) is higher than when Obama took office in January 2009 (7.2%). Obama is a one-man job-destroying machine.
  • As today’s Wall Street Journal notes, Obama has already increased taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars thanks to ObamaCare. Now he is demanding at least $1 trillion on top of that!
  • Obama is accusing Republicans of risking a default and a financial catastrophe by holding the nation hostage to their “extreme ideological demands.” In fact, it is the exact opposite. We have already demonstrated that tax increases won’t produce jobs and won’t balance the budget. So it is Obama who is risking a default over his extreme ideological demands when he threatens to veto any deal that does not raise taxes.

Bishops Battle On

In the days since the New York legislature legalized same-sex “marriage,” New York’s Catholic bishops have not given an inch. Nicholas DiMarzio, the bishop of Brooklyn, has effectively banned New York politicians from his parish. In a statement to all Catholic churches and schools in his diocese, Bishop DiMarzio instructed them “not to bestow or accept honors, nor to extend a platform of any kind to any state elected official … for the foreseeable future.”

Last week, Archbishop Timothy Dolan wrote about his fear that “this latest dilution of the authentic understanding of marriage” will inevitably lead to “another redefinition to justify multiple partners and infidelity.” He’s right. If society can no longer limit marriage to the union of one and one woman, on what legal basis can it “discriminate” against the love of one man and three women?

Archbishop Dolan also warned that religious liberty was at stake, writing, “If the experience of those few other states and countries where this is already law is any indication, the churches, and believers, will soon be harassed, threatened, and hauled into court for their conviction that marriage is between one man, one woman.”

I applaud New York’s Catholic leaders for continuing to “fight the good fight.” The culture war is real. And its impact on religious liberty is a reminder to men and women of faith that elections have consequences.

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