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.

Related Reading:

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"


Mike Kevitt said...

Will a rightward shift of the GOP enable it to become more relevant? Leftism is the only thing considered relevant in today's culture. Conservatism's not. Rightism's not. The more right you get, the further you get from relevancy. 'The' whole culture (whos culture is that) has to change by going right. How will that happen? When can that happen? Rightists must consider leftists irrelevant right now, and must start making them irrelevant.

Mike LaFerrara said...

By relevant, I don't mean electorally. I mean ideologically; or, as Goldwater put it, to offer "a choice not an echo." The country is far from politically ready for laissez-faire capitalism. But it will never be ready if neither party is willing to take the political risks of presenting a reasonably consistent right-wing case--meaning, for individual rights.

I believe the country is ready for the kind of party that could uphold an agenda that combines social "liberalism" and economic "conservatism." That would start the ball rolling educationally. Imagine a party that stands for both social and economic liberty, as a matter of principle.

For the GOP to do that, they would have to expunge the religious "right" and social conservative agenda from the party platform. Margaret Hoover proposed such an idea. Her's is the kind of fresh political thinking we can build on, keeping in mind that our main job is to change the culture in a fundamental, philosophical way.

Mike Kevitt said...

There's only 1 political philosophy, as I define politics: liberalism about everything except the issue of force. Concerning force, don't be conservative, but preservative, meaning, ban initiatory force and find & use effective response & correction. Privately, this can mean most anything that doesn't go overboard. Publicly, it means by law, and usually force. Reason in gvt. means perfecting this within the limits of human knowledge.

Given this, we can afford liberalism on everything else. This is where we find laissez-faire. This is what we must make the culture at large relevant to. This subsumes what you believe the country IS ready for, now, which IS where we need to start, but then take it to the end point and keep it there, then keep extending it as per new knowledge.

Oh, yes, my definition of politics is acquisition and use of knowledge to improve the banning of initiatory force & the use of response to it, and debate & final disposition about applying this knowledge, by elections, law & gvt. By this definition, most of what goes on concerning force in controlling human relations today isn't politics, law or gvt. at all. It's perversion of it by criminal action, scheming and trickery under of the guise or appearance of politics, law & gvt. It's also a perversion of elections.