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Right Turn
Posted at 07:45 AM ET, 11/27/2012

Morning Bits

You saw this coming. “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called Majority Leader Harry Reid’s plan to end filibusters a ‘naked power grab’ and an ‘affront to the American people’ Monday. He encouraged members ‘on both sides’ to oppose Reid’s proposal ‘strenuously and loudly.’” For a party that can’t pass a budget requiring 50 votes and jammed Obamacare through on “reconciliation” perhaps it should try doing its job under the current rules.

You didn’t see presidential leadership in the first term so don’t get your hopes up. “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday said ‘fiscal cliff’ talks are at an ‘impasse’ and only President Obama can break the logjam. Speaking from the the Senate floor, McConnell said Republicans have made a concession in the talks on taxes but that Democrats have so far refused to produce real spending cuts to match.”

You have not seen the end of Obamacare litigation. “The Supreme Court on Monday ordered a federal appeals court to reconsider Liberty University’s legal argument that President Obama’s health care law violates the school’s religious freedom. The case will be returned to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va.”

We’ll see how far this goes. “Many home buyers deduct their mortgage interest when assessing their tax bill, a perk that has helped bolster the income of millions of families — and the broader housing market. But as President Obama and Congress try to hash out a deal to reduce the budget deficit, the mortgage interest deduction looks vulnerable. Limits on a broad array of deductions could emerge in any budget deal. It is likely that any caps would be structured to aim at high-income households, and would diminish or end the mortgage tax break for many of those taxpayers.”

Warren Buffett, the Left’s favorite billionaire, sees a much smaller government. “In other words, to get to Buffett’s 18%-21% revenue/spending ratio, we really need to focus on spending cuts, not tax hikes. And why not first try to boost revenue through economic growth rather than raising the tax burden? Why tax hikes first in a weak economy? Liberals touting the Oracle of Omaha’s economic views should also keep in mind he is calling for a government much smaller than they probably want. For instance, a budget plan put forward by the Center for American Progress a year or so ago has revenue and spending at about 24% of GDP in 2030. One from the Economic Policy Institute has revenue at 24% and spending at 28%.” Hey, Simpson-Bowles (which included “long-term targets of 21% of GDP for spending and revenue”) is looking better every day.

National Review’s editors, as we did, see the upside in dumping the Ames straw poll. “The media as much as anyone have imbued the story of Ames with an import that the reality of Ames has not justified — and cannot justify. And they help sell the fiction that the straw poll highlights the divergent preferences of the ‘grassroots’ and the ‘establishment,’ and not the divergent preferences of a hand-picked, bused-in sample and the Republican electorate nationwide.”

You see, you can get more revenue without raising tax rates. The Committee for a Responsible Budget observes that “there may be a middle-ground in which Democrats can raise revenues from higher earners and Republicans can avoid rate increases. There are some relatively simple tax changes that could be enacted for tax year 2013 to raise the same amount of revenue as letting the upper-income tax cuts expire, from only households earning above $250,000, and without increasing current tax rates.” These include “placing a dollar cap on itemized deductions for higher earners; [l]imiting the combined value of various deductions, credits, and exclusions for higher earners; [and] [i]mplementing a rate-value limitation on some deductions and exclusions and phasing this limitation down and out at higher-income levels.”

We’ll see if Morsi’s powers are all that “temporary.” (Remember that Hosni Mubarak’s “emergency” powers lasted decades.) “Opposition activists have denounced Mr. Morsi’s decrees as a blatant power grab, and refused to enter a dialogue with the presidency before the edicts are rescinded. The president has vigorously defended the new powers, saying they are a necessary temporary measure to implement badly needed reforms and protect Egypt’s transition to democracy after last year’s ouster of his predecessor Hosni Mubarak.”

By  |  07:45 AM ET, 11/27/2012

 
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