The media is reprising its role as a modern-day Diogenes, searching for "honest" GOP legislators who will save Democrats from their own policies. While Democrats are never pressed on the need to go against their own constituencies and advocate spending cuts, the media is obsessed with finding Republicans who will violate their party's philosophy and advocate tax hikes. Why does the GOP play this game? They are expected to be the adults in the room while the teenage Democrats mug for the camera and spout boilerplate pablum. The GOP should end this farce.
As regular readers know, the "fiscal cliff" is a combination of automatic, across-the-board spending cuts and the expiration of many tax provisions. Less understood, however, is that it also ushers in brand new taxes, passed under the ObamaCare law. What the media will never mention is that everything in the "fiscal cliff" is the direct result of Democrat policies. Everything in it is the direct result of their party's temper-tantrums. Why is it incumbent on the Republican party to save us from the consequences of Democrat policies?
When President Bush passed his tax cuts, Democrats insisted that the cuts would be temporary. They could not cede the argument that government doesn't have an automatic claim on our earnings and fought to make sure the cuts would expire. Democrats today claim to be fighting to preserve "middle class" tax cuts, but the fight for them only exists because the party demanded the cuts weren't permanent.
The "fiscal cliff" also includes an end to the payroll tax-holiday and the expiration of extended unemployment benefits. Again, these policies are constructs of the Democrat party. The payroll tax holiday was intended as a short-term stimulus but succeeded only in draining more funds from the Social Security and Medicare trust funds. In the history of the world, extended unemployment benefits have never been shown to have a stimulative effect, but made the party think it was rewarding people who would vote for them.
Another feature of the "fiscal cliff" is the expiration of the Alternative Minimum Tax patch. The "patch" is meant to shield taxpayers from another boneheaded Democrat policy. Back during the Great Society, the Democrats passed the AMT as a means to ensure that "rich" taxpayers couldn't make full use of the loopholes the Democrats had littered through the tax code. In a legislative drafting error, the particulars of the AMT never accounted for inflation, so, every year, more and more middle class taxpayers are potentially subjected to the AMT. Every Congress, Democrats press for a "patch" to the law to ensure that the policy they created isn't forced onto the general public.
I could go on. Suffice it to say that everything triggered by the "fiscal cliff" is the direct result of policies advocated and championed by the Democrats. Across-the-board spending cuts? Came out of the Obama White House. Tripling of taxes on dividends? ObamaCare.
The GOP shouldn't play this game. They are being set up to fix inane policies from the Democrat party and take the full blame for anything the media thinks can stick. It's a sucker's game. The Democrats built every part of the "fiscal cliff." The GOP should give it to them good and hard.
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