Posts Tagged ‘fiscal cliff’
February 1st, 2013 at 8:45 am
Podcast: Racing Back to the Fiscal Cliff
Posted by Print

In an interview with CFIF, Patrick Louis Knudsen, senior budget expert at The Heritage Foundation, discusses the latest in the debt ceiling fight and what lies ahead for America in the next few months with the implementation of costly new ObamaCare policies, the $1.2 trillion sequestration deadline and other issues.

Listen to the interview here.

January 3rd, 2013 at 11:16 am
More on Why the Deal Was (Barely) Acceptable

In addition to my column now out, I also wrote a blog post at The American Spectator to explain why this deal ticked from being unacceptable to being, well, something less than utterly disastrous. (Obviously, that is not much of a recommendation, but it is important perspective.)

Here’s part of it:

Well, the end result was indeed that the sequestration cuts were replaced with other cuts. Or at least they were offset with an equal amount of “savings.” Now, it is true that small portion of the offset comes from a change in Roth IRA accounting rather than from spending cuts. And it is true that the cuts aren’t “specified” as I had hoped. But the offsets do come in the form of law — in budget “caps” going forward that, while hardly foolproof, do actually provide several important hurdles in the way of those who would exceed them. Moreover, by keeping intact under law the exact same budget targets as under the original sequestration deal, and by keeping 5/6ths of those savings in the form of the very hard-to-evade bludgeon of sequestration (if Congress doesn’t act, sequestration is automatic; the GOP need not do any more bargaining to achieve those savings), fiscal conservatives are no worse off than they were a week ago. Tactically, in fact, they are better off, because they preserved sequestration, but without the threat of higher taxes that will kick in for everybody and automatically, if they don’t act.

In addition, I will have plenty to say in the next week or so about how Republicans/conservatives can “play their hand” better in coming months than they have done so far.

January 2nd, 2013 at 12:48 pm
Another Silver Lining in the Fiscal Cliff Deal?

Following up on Quin’s analysis, the Washington Times sheds light on another silver lining in yesterday’s fiscal cliff – formal repeal of Obamacare’s CLASS Act.  The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act is a giant unfunded mandate benefiting the long-term functionally disabled.  I say formally repealed yesterday because the Obama Administration already abandoned the CLASS Act in October of 2011 because it was unaffordable, and therefore unsustainable.

Sounds like logic that should inform the next round of fiscal negotiations…

January 2nd, 2013 at 8:38 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Spendaholics Anonymous
Posted by Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez. 

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

December 31st, 2012 at 4:44 pm
Singer: How to Avoid the Next Fiscal Cliff

Want to avoid future “fiscal cliffs”?  Eric Singer, portfolio manager of the Congressional Effect Fund, argues for three reforms.  First, adopt Economist Thomas Sowell’s idea to pay Members of Congress at least $1 million a year, but make the pay subject to all the rules and tax rates experienced by every other taxpayer.  Second, pass Warren Buffett’s proposed constitutional amendment to ban from reelection any current member who presides over a budget deficit.  Third, require members to forfeit any pay increases when there is a budget deficit.  According to Singer, the result would be timely, serious budgets.

Why this approach?

The celebrity life with its fame and wealth requires constant performance, and full engagement in the task at hand. Even the Yankees benched Alex Rodriguez when he stopped doing his job. When lawmakers hide inside the fog of politics and can’t produce serious budgets, keep us safe or meaningfully prevent us from going over the cliff, it’s time to bench them.

After all, it’s not just a game, it’s our country and its future. Let’s see which new players are interested once we align Congress’ interests with those of America.

December 31st, 2012 at 11:10 am
GOP Has Reason to Refuse Bad Deal

Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post has a very insightful post about why Republicans are in political position to refuse a bad deal on the “Fiscal Cliff.”

Of the 234 Republicans elected to the House on Nov. 6, just 15 (!) sit in congressional districts that Obama also won that day, according to calculations made by the Cook Political Report’s ace analyst David Wasserman. That’s an infinitesimally small number…. The Senate landscape paints the same picture — this time looking forward. Of the 13 states where the 14 Republican Senators will stand for reelection in 2014 (South Carolina has two, with Lindsey O. Graham and Tim Scott up in two years time), Obama won just one in 2012 — Maine…. [But] fully one-third of the 21 Senate Democrats who will stand for reelection in 2014 represent states that Romney won.

It is axiomatic on the right that Republicans have misplayed the already-weak hand they have been dealt in these “Cliff” negotiations. I myself think the misplays have been not quite as egregious as others think, although I do think the strategic, tactical, and communications skills of the GOP are in pretty bad shape overall. (I also think, as I wrote here a few weeks back, that the whole idea of these closed-door negotiations was misguided.) But even different degrees of “bad” are all still “bad,” which means conservatives are left in a poor position no matter what. But Cillizza’s long view shows that, politically speaking, Republicans probably have less downside than had been thought, if we “go over the cliff.” My biggest concern about the cliff is the gutting of defense spending. That can be fixed. It almost certainly will be, after the fact, regardless. But Republicans actually will have almost as much leverage (they can’t have much less, because they now already have so little) in coming months on taxes as they do now. And perhaps the extra time might give them a chance to find somebody who can actually communicate their message more effectively, thus changing the narrative and giving everybody right of center (and therefore, the whole country, because our principles are good for public policy) a better deal than we might get in these last 12 hours of the year.

December 28th, 2012 at 7:38 pm
Worse Than Nothing

Twitter now says GOP concedes it will get ZERO spending cuts in cliff deal. This would be worse than going over the cliff. It would be utterly unacceptable. Better to accept the taxes and defense cuts and bank the AUTOMATIC domestic spending cuts, then go back later to restore defense and cut taxes again. MUCH MUCH better to do it that way than to not achieve the already-automatic levels of spending savings.

To let spending start growing again while also saving the lower tax rates on those who create the least economic growth, but not on the “investor class,” would be the absolute worst of all worlds. The deficit and debt would rise, the economy wouldn’t be any better off (and might be worse), and the principle of fighting tax-rate hikes would be out the window.

If this really is the shape of the deal, it is utterly unacceptable. No deal is better than this.

December 26th, 2012 at 11:54 pm
Ramirez Cartoon: Kicking the Can Down the Road
Posted by Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez. 

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

December 22nd, 2012 at 4:08 pm
Obama Threatens Boehner

Philip Klein draws attention to reporting by the Wall Street Journal on how President Barack Obama “negotiated” with House Speaker John Boehner:

Mr. Obama repeatedly lost patience with the speaker as negotiations faltered. In an Oval Office meeting last week, he told Mr. Boehner that if the sides didn’t reach agreement, he would use his inaugural address and his State of the Union speech to tell the country the Republicans were at fault.

At one point, according to notes taken by a participant, Mr. Boehner told the president, “I put $800 billion [in tax revenue] on the table. What do I get for that?”

“You get nothing,” the president said. “I get that for free.”

It’s worth remembering how often President Obama has tried to identify himself with Abraham Lincoln.  Recall Lincoln’s most famous line from his Second Inaugural – “…with malice toward none, with charity to all…”  Lincoln was referring to the treatment he intended toward people who had been in armed rebellion against the United States of America.  If Obama goes through with his threat to use his Second Inaugural to make a partisan dig about an important, but, in comparison to Lincoln’s context, a monumentally less significant issue, it will be a stark reminder of how much distance separates Lincoln and his facile successor.

December 22nd, 2012 at 3:36 pm
Silver Linings to Fiscal Cliff-Diving?

Avik Roy:

…despite all of the dramatic hyperbole about the “fiscal cliff,” it’s important to remember that going over the fiscal cliff will reduce the budget deficit by $503 billion in 2013, and $682 billion in 2014, relative to the “solutions” being bandied about on Capitol Hill.

Moreover, since President Barack Obama and his fellow liberals in Congress refuse to link tax increases with entitlement reform, perhaps it’s better to go over the fiscal cliff than accede to some tax increases and no reforms.  At least then Obama & Co. would own the tax-and-spending system their intransigence created.

December 20th, 2012 at 8:44 am
Rothenberg: GOP May Be Right, But Raise Taxes Anyway?

Stuart Rothenberg perfectly articulates the difficult post-election position of fiscal conservatives:

Republicans may well be correct that the nation’s biggest problem is that “the government spends too much, not that it taxes too little,” but at some point political realities rather than ideological beliefs or past party dogma ought to guide both party leaders and members of its rank and file.

The Roll Call columnist also shows just how much Beltway logic drives his analysis.  If Republicans are right that “the government spends too much, not that it taxes too little,” then Republicans are justified in pushing for reduced spending and resisting tax increases.  And, if Republicans are right, then President Barack Obama and his fellow liberals are wrong to demand the opposite.

That’s not ideology, just math and common sense.  Political calculations may end up trumping both eventually, but that doesn’t mean that fiscal conservatives within the Republican Party are wrong as a matter of logic from defending their position.

December 14th, 2012 at 8:37 am
Podcast: Challenging Washington to Spend One Dollar Less
Posted by Print

In an interview with CFIF, Alex Cortes, Executive Director of Let Freedom Ring, discusses his organization’s effort to influence the fiscal cliff negotiations, called “One Dollar Less,” and why it is important to move the debate from the imaginary spending cuts to actually spending less.

Listen to the interview here.

December 10th, 2012 at 3:42 pm
Ramirez Cartoon: Over the Cliff…
Posted by Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez. 

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

December 7th, 2012 at 9:45 am
Video: Fiscal Cliff Myths
Posted by Print

In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino sifts through the rhetoric and exposes the myths being advanced by the White House in the debate over the “fiscal cliff.”

December 5th, 2012 at 5:34 pm
Ramirez Cartoon: The Last Temptation
Posted by Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez. 

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

December 4th, 2012 at 1:34 pm
Two More Tax “Firsts” from ObamaCare

Forget the fiscal cliff negotiations.  If you’re a high-earning worker wondering if your taxes will go up in January, Reuters spotlights two new taxes coming your way courtesy of Obamacare:

The 3.8 percent surtax on investment income, meant to help pay for healthcare, goes into effect in 2013. It is the first surtax to be applied to capital gains and dividend income.

The tax affects only individuals with more than $200,000 in modified adjusted gross income (MAGI), and married couples filing jointly with more than $250,000 of MAGI.

The tax applies to a broad range of investment securities ranging from stocks and bonds to commodity securities and specialized derivatives.

The 159 pages of rules spell out when the tax applies to trusts and annuities, as well as to individual securities traders.

Released late on Friday, the new regulations include a 0.9 percent healthcare tax on wages for high-income individuals.

Together, the two taxes are estimated to raise $317.7 billion over 10 years, according to a Joint Committee on Taxation analysis released in June.

These two new taxes take effect January 1, regardless of whether President Barack Obama and Congressional Republicans agree to raise other taxes on high-earning Americans.

As the saying goes, if you want less of something, tax it.  You’d think liberals could see that taxing high-earners into extinction very quickly guts the very social programs Big Government types love.

December 1st, 2012 at 8:29 am
Gingrich: There is No Fiscal Cliff

Newt Gingrich nails the messaging misdirection being pushed by the fiscal cliff talk dominating Washington, D.C., right now:

The Left, both the politicians and the news media, have created a mythical threat which can only be solved by Republicans surrendering their principles and abandoning their allies.

Yet the fiscal cliff is entirely a manufactured threat.

The same people who are now negotiating worked two years ago to create the mess which they say is such a threat.

At any point they wanted to, the President and the Congress could reduce the “cliff” to a series of foothills by breaking the problem into ten or twenty component parts.

They could then focus on solving each problem on its own merits and out in the open with public hearings, public understanding and public involvement.

Public understanding, however, would limit the level of waste, favoritism, and special interests which could be funded.

That is exactly the opposite of what the Washington establishment wants.

Which is why the political process is so broken in our nation’s capitol.

November 30th, 2012 at 9:45 am
Debt Ceiling, Fiscal Cliff and Broken Promises
Posted by Print

In an interview with CFIF, Elizabeth Harrington, Reporter at, discusses the implications of America’s fall over the fiscal cliff and what may come from the pressure in Washington to make a deal.

Listen to the interview here.

November 23rd, 2012 at 5:23 am
Ramirez Cartoon: The Fiscal Cliff
Posted by Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

June 11th, 2012 at 10:18 am
Ramirez Cartoon: The Fiscal Cliff
Posted by Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.