Thursday, January 3, 2013
The GOP's Gift to the Democrats
As I expected, the Republicans caved in to Obama's unwavering demand to "tax the rich." Thus, once again, Republican pragmatism advances the Left's ideological agenda. The GOP didn't even get any meaningful spending cuts in exchange.
The Republican leadership, however, sees the fiscal cliff deal as a mere short-term political victory for the President, thus demonstrating their utter cluelessness regarding the issues at stake.
For one thing, they accepted the premise that our fiscal problems are fundamentally a taxing problem, not a spending problem. The only way to solve the deficit spending problem is to phase out and eventually eliminate welfare state programs. This is now off the table. That leaves only taxes to bicker over.
The income tax rate increase on high income earners ($400,000-450,000 and up) will do nothing significant to reduce the fiscal problems of the federal government. What the increase does do is establish a more insidious second principle that the Democrats will be able to run on from now on; that it is right to single out any income group for discriminatory taxation for the sake of redistributing their wealth to people making less. This principle is the cause of the spending problem, which is now off the table.
What will the GOP now do when, in the next budget battle, the Dems want to tax the top 5 %, instead of the top 1 or 2%? They now have no defense against the Left's egalitarian premises that equality of economic outcome trumps productive success and justice. As long as there is any disparity of incomes, there will be some top percentage of earners to go after--and the Democrats will, time and time again.
The rise of a few percentage points in the top rate may seem insignificant now. But this is only the beginning. Based on the premise that "the rich" must pay more to support a corrupt welfare state, there is nothing to stop the Democrats from going back to the tax-the-rich "well" time and time again, except the mathematical ceiling of a 100% tax rate.
But surely, Mike, you're exaggerating. The Left doesn't want to take it all, just a "fair share," you say? Think again. There was a time when the highest rate in America was 91%. Then came the Kennedy and Reagan tax cuts, which brought the top rate down to 28% by 1986. Rates have since bounced around a bit, settling at the Bush 35% (now 39.6%, where it was under Clinton). Does anyone seriously doubt that today’s Left would love to reverse the Kennedy/Reagan tax regime—or agree with the sentiments of Atlas Shrugged’s Orin Boyle?; “There are people who aren't broke. You boys have no excuse for permitting all that need and misery to spread through the country—so long as there are people who aren’t broke (P. 535)."
Keep in mind that the today's American Left is driven by a vicious egalitarian-collectivist ideology. To them, any income disparity, no matter how it comes about, is justification for redistributionist taxation. If you earn more than your neighbor, under the premise now accepted by both political parties, the government may seize your "excess" for his needy sake. My guess is, we won't have to wait long for the next Democrat tax grab.
To be fair, the GOP is now deeply split over this fiscal cliff deal. The Party is in disarray, with a rebellion seemingly brewing against the leadership. This opens the door for fresh new ideas to get a serious hearing within the Republican Party, which is now all but irrelevant, at best. The party needs a radical ideological restructuring. It may now get it. Let's hope--and it is only a hope--that the restructuring moves the party in the right direction--which means, to the Right.
The Coming GOP Restructuring: Toward Liberty or Religious Authoritarianism
Political Left and Right Properly Defined, by Craig Biddle
My Challenge to the GOP:A Philosophical Contract with America
Book Review: American Individualism--How a New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party, by Margaret Hoover
Senators, Representatives--and Americans Who Voted for Them--to Blame for Increased Spending and Taxes, by Ari Armstrong
Why the GOP Must Stand Firm on "Tax Cuts for the Rich"