To: Friends & Supporters
From: Gary L. Bauer
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Obama Demands Tax Hikes
In his first press conference in weeks, President Obama came out swinging and left no doubt that tax increases are a key demand to any debt limit deal. While the president gave lip service to tackling entitlement spending, he also said, “…we’re going to have to tackle spending in the tax code.”
Such absurd euphemisms indicate how conservatives are winning the battle of ideas. Obama will not utter the phrase “tax increases,” and he knows spending is unpopular, so he wants to “tackle spending in the tax code.” What on earth does that mean? How does the tax code spend money?
President Obama wants you to believe that the government “spends” when you get a tax cut. This only makes sense if you start out with the assumption that all money belongs to the government and not the individual who earned it.
But don’t worry. The president has his proposals to solve our debt crisis. He returned to the theme of class warfare, this time throwing out a new focus group tested applause line: “Ask … constituents if they’re willing to compromise their kids’ safety so some corporate jet owner continues to get a tax break.”
Really? We have a $1.5 trillion deficit and President Obama rushes to the microphones to complain about tax breaks for corporate jet owners? I’m not sure that strategy is going to work. One veteran journalist wrote: “If President Obama’s news conference accomplished anything on Wednesday afternoon, it underscored, in striking tones, his strategy for winning the debt ceiling fight…: Make it a clash of classes. … In Obama’s world, [liberals] are for kids and [conservatives] are for corporate jets.”
My staff has been furiously searching the Internet to find out exactly how much money the government is “spending” on tax breaks for corporate jet owners. Unable to find the figures, we have asked our friends on Capitol Hill.
But since the president raised the issue at his press conference today, it must be a huge sum that would go a long way toward closing our budget gap. Why hasn’t anyone thought of it before? Probably because it wouldn’t amount to a drop in the bucket. It is just one more example of the kind of rhetoric that makes cooperation in Washington more difficult.
What About Entitlement Reform?
President Obama said entitlement reform was on the table, but he evidently needs to have a longer conversation with members of his own party. Today’s Washington Post reports that a bi-partisan plan by Senators Joe Lieberman and Tom Coburn to save $600 billion by raising Medicare’s eligibility age to 67 and instituting some means testing for benefits was blasted as “a bad idea” by Harry Reid and labeled “unacceptable” by Nancy Pelosi.
Okay, so what is their plan? Well, congressional liberals don’t exactly have one. President Obama, you may recall, gave a speech several weeks ago about deficit reduction. So they have a speech. But the director of the Congressional Budget Office said, “We don’t estimate speeches.”
When ObamaCare was up for debate in Congress, Reid and Pelosi used strong-arm tactics and parliamentary tricks to ram through their unpopular proposal. Buried inside the bill is a rationing commission, or the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). This board consists of 15 unelected bureaucrats who will decide which services and procedures Medicare recipients can and cannot get.
Talk about bad ideas. In fact, the IPAB is such a bad idea that liberals are now calling for its repeal. But since Pelosi and Reid got what they wanted, they are unwilling to entertain other ideas, even relatively modest ones like raising the eligibility age by two years.
And we’re supposed to believe they are serious about spending reform?
Committed To Raising Taxes
Here’s something else to consider. In the current debate over the debt limit, many conservatives are arguing that the August 2nd deadline is artificial and that, if the deadline is reached without a deal, the U.S. would not default on its obligations. Senator Pat Toomey has gone so far as to introduce legislation to make sure that does not happen if the debt ceiling is not increased.
Liberals are acting like this is the end of the world. If we don’t raise the debt limit by August 2nd, they contend, fiscal Armageddon will be upon us and the world financial system will collapse. And any deal on raising the debt ceiling MUST include tax increases.
Conservatives contend that our debt problem is not caused by a lack of revenue, but rather by a spending problem. Liberals are insinuating that we must raise the debt ceiling to avoid default or the world will face a second Great Depression. Yet they are so committed to raising your taxes in order to maintain their spending habits that they are willing to risk a financial calamity if they don’t get their way.
Will we embrace big government, socialist spending or will we return to the principles of lower taxes, less spending, smaller government and more freedom?