As of this writing, both houses of Congress have passed a Senate-devised bill to avert the fiscal cliff, and Republicans have once again sold out their constituents in order to be liked by the Democrats. This deal would be like if Britain and France gave away Poland in September 1939 because they thought Hitler would like them for it.
Here are some of the lowlights of this crap sandwich, according to Newsmax:
—Income tax rates: Extends decade-old tax cuts on incomes up to $400,000 for individuals, $450,000 for couples. Earnings above those amounts would be taxed at a rate of 39.6 percent, up from the current 35 percent. Extends Clinton-era caps on itemized deductions and the phase-out of the personal exemption for individuals making more than $250,000 and couples earning more than $300,000.
—Estate tax: Estates would be taxed at a top rate of 40 percent, with the first $5 million in value exempted for individual estates and $10 million for family estates. In 2012, such estates were subject to a top rate of 35 percent.
—Capital gains, dividends: Taxes on capital gains and dividend income exceeding $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for families would increase from 15 percent to 20 percent.
—Alternative minimum tax: Permanently addresses the alternative minimum tax and indexes it for inflation to prevent nearly 30 million middle- and upper-middle income taxpayers from being hit with higher tax bills averaging almost $3,000. The tax was originally designed to ensure that the wealthy did not avoid owing taxes by using loopholes.
—Other tax changes: Extends for five years Obama-sought expansions of the child tax credit, the earned income tax credit, and an up-to-$2,500 tax credit for college tuition. Also extends for one year accelerated “bonus” depreciation of business investments in new property and equipment, a tax credit for research and development costs and a tax credit for renewable energy such as wind-generated electricity.
—Unemployment benefits: Extends jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed for one year.
—Cuts in Medicare reimbursements to doctors: Blocks a 27 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors for one year. The cut is the product of an obsolete 1997 budget formula.
—Social Security payroll tax cut: Allows a 2-percentage-point cut in the payroll tax first enacted two years ago to lapse, which restores the payroll tax to 6.2 percent.
—Across-the-board cuts: Delays for two months $109 billion worth of across-the-board spending cuts set to start striking the Pentagon and domestic agencies this week. Cost of $24 billion is divided between spending cuts and new revenues from rule changes on converting traditional individual retirement accounts into Roth IRAs.
On top of this, the bill is essentially another stimulus bill, using the taxpayer’s money to buy off Obama’s constituents. ABC News reports the following:
- $430 million for Hollywood through “special expensing rules” to encourage TV and film production in the United States. Producers can expense up to $15 million of costs for their projects.
- $331 million for railroads by allowing short-line and regional operators to claim a tax credit up to 50 percent of the cost to maintain tracks that they own or lease.
- $222 million for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands through returned excise taxes collected by the federal government on rum produced in the islands and imported to the mainland.
- $70 million for NASCAR by extending a “7-year cost recovery period for certain motorsports racing track facilities.”
- $59 million for algae growers through tax credits to encourage production of “cellulosic biofuel” at up to $1.01 per gallon.
- $4 million for electric motorcycle makers by expanding an existing green-energy tax credit for buyers of plug-in vehicles to include electric motorbikes.
It’s not bad enough that Republicans surrendered on tax hikes, but on top of not getting spending cuts, there is an overall increase in spending. Not only that, but the cuts from the sequester have been pushed back at least two months, so in short, there will be no cuts of any kind. Notice that taxes go up immediately, but the spending cuts have been pushed back long enough so that the Washington weasels can permanently remove them and just spend some more.
We learned from this deal that Republicans enjoy throwing conservatives down the stairs. They hate Constitutional government as much as the Democrats do. We are running out of people to carry the banner of Constitutional government. We need more Rand Paul’s and Michele Bachmann’s and less John Boehner’s and Paul Ryan’s (it has saddened a lot of conservatives that Ryan voted for this monstrosity). People keep wondering why the GOP is losing favor with the American people: this deal is a perfect example.
The GOP sold out on everything they claim to stand for in the name of compromise and bipartisanship. Kayleigh McEnany at the Blaze explains why here.
If the GOP wants to remain relevant, if they want to win future elections and have a future as a viable political force, they will need to actually make themselves distinct from the Democrats. It’s time to put forth principles that you can clearly articulate and are worth voting for. Remember, compromising is not a principle: it’s the quickest way to permanent irrelevancy when dealing with people whose goal is the fiscal and moral insolvency of the nation. It’s not real compromise until you get something for your constituency. It’s not real compromise if you give up everything, the Democrats surrender nothing, and then you get accused of intransigence after surrendering everything.
Talk was arising about throwing Boehner out of the Speakership. Regardless of whether Boehner is thrown out on his ear, the GOP has to grow a spine and fight the Left. We have a debate on raising the debt ceiling coming up. The GOP has to draw a red line in the sand (a real one, not like the moving red lines Obama draws for Bashir Assad) and say plainly:
“There will be no debt ceiling increase. There is a spending problem that will not be rectified by giving the president a blank check to wildly spend us all into insolvency.”
Then as Senator Rand Paul did on the Hugh Hewitt Show on January 2nd, the GOP must list some of the outrages that we spend money on and put the Democrats on the defense re spending. Let the Republicans make the case that we have to get spending in line and let the Democrats tell us why we should continue to bleed red line as a matter of personal habit. We can win that argument if the GOP is willing to make the case. If the GOP is going to win the fight, they have to actually take up the fight.
Parting Word to the Wise: You can’t win a game if you’re playing for the other team.