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Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 11/02/2011

Free advice to the supercommittee

I asked whether Republicans on the supercommittee should accept higher taxes, allow sequestration to proceed or scrap the whole process. There was little appetite for tax hikes. DonaldELJohnson writes:

Like President George H. W. Bush, today’s Republicans have promised that they won’t raise taxes. So they can’t.
And they should not, because the taxes the Democrats want to raise won’t solve our economic or our federal budget deficit crises.
Instead, Republicans must force the Democrats to cut entitlement and non-defense discretionary spending.
Democrats are owned by public-sector unions and government contractors and other suppliers, including Goldman Sachs, General Electric and the companies that run the Business Roundtable and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
This means that the Democrats are taking America to bankruptcy rather than give up their campaign contributions from those who profit from increased spending and taxes.
Republicans need to hammer that point until the Democrats either commit political suicide or do what’s right for America.
Based on the comments and records of Obama, Reid and Pelosi, I expect they will continue to bankrupt America and ultimately commit political suicide.
Republicans have been compromising in favor of increased spending and higher taxes for decades. It’s time for the Democrats to compromise in favor of less spending and deficits and more jobs.

But I think Democrats are unwilling to give up their tax-the-rich mantra. So what then? Rudyncg has it right:

The whole premise behind the supercommittee was to give Democrats an opportunity to participate in the necessary cost-cutting measures to help reduce the deficit. Republicans have been clear from the start that tax increases were not an acceptable substitute for spending cuts.
The sequestration mechanism was a last-minute and ill-advised show of good faith by Republicans to cajole Democrats to participate, but the Dems instead have tried to use that as leverage to extract tax increases out of Republicans.
Republicans will not ratify the sequestration as currently posited, so it will be back to square one. Republicans have ample tools to force spending cuts within the existing budgeting mechanism, but unless they are willing to force the issue by refusing endless continuing resolutions to fund the things that must be cut, nothing will get done until after the 2012 election. Being afraid to do what must be done is the same as being complicit with the intransigence of the Democrats.

Perhaps there will be some fig leaf in the form of an extension on the supercommittee’s deadline. Maybe, there will be a supercommittee for the supercommittee (i.e., let Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Erskine Bowles work out an entitlement deal). But in reality this is all prelude to the 2012 election. Republican want entitlement reconfiguration, repeal of Obamacare, tax reform and spending cuts. Democrats want Obamacare preserved, tax hikes, defense cuts and as close to the status quo on entitlements as they can manage. You can’t say voters won’t have a choice in the next election.

By  |  12:00 PM ET, 11/02/2011

Categories:  Budget

 
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