WSJ warns House Republicans of “fiasco” on payroll tax holiday stand

posted at 10:05 am on December 21, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Reminding House Republicans of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s pledge that his main objective in 2011-2 is to keep Barack Obama from winning re-election, the Wall Street Journal wonders, er, what the hell the House GOP sees as its main objective.  Having turned the payroll tax holiday extension into a “fiasco” is bad enough the WSJ says, but making it a pointless fiasco feeds the notion that Obama is the only adult in the room:

The GOP leaders have somehow managed the remarkable feat of being blamed for opposing a one-year extension of a tax holiday that they are surely going to pass. This is no easy double play.

Republicans have also achieved the small miracle of letting Mr. Obama position himself as an election-year tax cutter, although he’s spent most of his Presidency promoting tax increases and he would hit the economy with one of the largest tax increases ever in 2013. This should be impossible.

And if this was in service to a greater economic point, it might be worth it.  Unfortunately …

House Republicans yesterday voted down the Senate’s two-month extension of the two-percentage-point payroll tax holiday to 4.2% from 6.2%. They say the short extension makes no economic sense, but then neither does a one-year extension. No employer is going to hire a worker based on such a small and temporary decrease in employment costs, as this year’s tax holiday has demonstrated. The entire exercise is political, but Republicans have thoroughly botched the politics. …

If Republicans didn’t want to extend the payroll tax cut on the merits, then they should have put together a strategy and the arguments for defeating it and explained why.

But if they knew they would eventually pass it, as most of them surely believed, then they had one of two choices. Either pass it quickly and at least take some political credit for it.  Or agree on a strategy to get something in return for passing it, which would mean focusing on a couple of popular policies that would put Mr. Obama and Democrats on the political spot. They finally did that last week by attaching a provision that requires Mr. Obama to make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline within 60 days, and the President grumbled but has agreed to sign it.

The Keystone XL concession was a real victory for the GOP.  For that matter, the two-month extension would have allowed Republicans to force more concessions in the next round of negotiations.  Supposedly, the House GOP worried that having a debate over the tax in February would benefit Obama, but it’s hard to see how.  The one-year extension would mean that Obama wouldn’t have a key policy at risk, and in February most of the political attention will still be on the Republican presidential primary.

Besides, if the House GOP didn’t want this deal, why didn’t they work with McConnell to keep negotiating?  McConnell got most of the Republican caucus to vote in support of the 60-day extension after seeing the Keystone XL concession as a real victory.  The policy itself isn’t the issue, as House Republicans will apparently thunder to the roll-call vote that extends the holiday for a full year.  Now, as the WSJ says, the Republicans on Capitol Hill have formed “a circular firing squad” that will not just put the Keystone XL concession at risk, but will almost certainly boost Obama’s standing with voters at the expense of Republicans, both on and off of Capitol Hill.

The WSJ editors offer Republicans some free advice: Cut your losses and pass the bill.  Will the House GOP listen, or will they continue to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in an effort to demand a longer time frame for a success in pandering, but a gimmicky failure in economic policy?

Update: Listen closely.  Really closely.  Don’t hear anything?  That’s Mitch McConnell signaling Boehner that he’s on that limb all by himself, according to Politico:

Speaker John Boehner stood before a band of fellow House Republicans on Tuesday and angrily demanded the Senate return to the Capitol and extend the payroll tax cut for a full year.

Left out of the photo op: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the co-architect of the Senate’s two-month tax cut extension. He reached an agreement that has become a throbbing political headache for Boehner and has remained unusually silent as the partisan rancor and gridlock cause a year-end embarrassment for Congress. …

“This is a colossal fumble by the House Republicans,” said a senior Senate GOP aide, requesting anonymity to speak candidly about his own party. “Their inability to recognize a win is costing our party our long-held advantage on the key issue of tax relief. It’s time for Boehner and [House Majority Leader Eric] Cantor to look these rookies in the eye and explain how the game is won or lost.”

 


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It’s not Boehner so much as it is some of the utterly morons in our Congressional caucus. Tea Party congressman turn out to have been a decidedly mixed blessing — what’s the principle they’re standing on here? They already agreed to a payroll tax cut extension. They even got the Keystone XL concession in return. Now — what? What’s the hold-up? Now they’re just destroying the GOP’s chances in 2012…look at how Obama has surged over the past week because of this.

Esoteric on December 21, 2011 at 10:10 AM

Get rid of all these pretend conservatives, it is becoming blatantly obvious that these rubes can not or will not formulate a plan to take America back. God bless the tea party, were it not for them we would have no representation at all.

RAGIN CAJUN on December 21, 2011 at 10:10 AM

The House Republicans can’t get a break! If they compromise with the hypocrit-dems they are criticized for not standing on principle and doing what’s right — when they do what’s right they catch h#11 for being obstructionists.

rebuzz on December 21, 2011 at 10:10 AM

Repubs will get blamed for wanting obama to lose no matter what

Drunk Report on December 21, 2011 at 10:12 AM

This whole thing is a train wreck.

McConnell should call the Senate GOP back to DC and announce that he’s ready to work with the House and the President to extend the tax holiday for the entirety of 2012. Let Reid be the one who refuses to show up.

It’s bad enough Boehner made this knuckleheaded move. McConnell shouldn’t compound it further by leaving him out there on that limb by himself. They may as well salvage whatever initiative they can.

DRayRaven on December 21, 2011 at 10:13 AM

Why do we even bother with these fools?

rplat on December 21, 2011 at 10:13 AM

Too bad we don’t have Joe Walsh or Allen West as Speaker.

They’d flip off the Pres and tell old and useless Mitch to eat it!
Then they would proceed to declare the Congress is “DOING WHAT THE PEOPLE SENT THEM THERE TO DO”. Make the hard choices to save what’s left of the country.

Unfortunately caving is what Boehner does best.

katy on December 21, 2011 at 10:13 AM

Besides . . . that 2 month plan won’t work! http://www.speaker.gov/blog/?postid=273241

rebuzz on December 21, 2011 at 10:13 AM

Sometimes you have to learn to take YES for an answer.

angryed on December 21, 2011 at 10:15 AM

I posted this over at MM also as I was on both boards yesterday and wanted to clear up a revenue fubar…

wow, I did a little homework last night…I overstated the monthly revenue/outlays by an order of magnitude yesterday but here’s what we have:

For the 2010 FY, dems passed a bill to lower FICA taxes by 2% on the employee side. The total was 15.3% shared equally by employee and employer and made it 5.35% to the employee and still 7.35% for the employer.

The impact was immediate and payments exceeded revenue within months. We used $41 billion from the general fund to make up the difference in 2010. This year it was $57 billion and it will climb from here on out.

Democrats claim SS is solvent until 2036. Again, we are paying out more than we are bringing in now. They balance it by saying we are spending down the social security “assets”.

The assets are what Al Gore famously called the lockbox and what are now recognized as T-bills that we own by virtue of committing future tax revenues to pay for them. The real $2.34 TRILLION in assets have long since been spent.

The 2% reduction in payroll taxes is really a 13.1% reduction in revenue to the social security administration.

Obama is defying the observations of his own Social Security Trustees (Geithner, Sebelius, Hilda Solis and a few others) who note that funding needs to increase by 2.2% (up from the recommended 1.9% last year) to keep revenues equal to outlays.

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/TRSUM/index.html

Hit that link and scroll down to the second chart. Democrats, at Obama’s urging are tanking social security intentionally.

The messaging is being lost because we are allowing it to be. Know that most of what you read in your local paper about the issue is written to hide these facts. Also note that the Sunday morning talk shows, all of them, do not cover the issue beyond political gamesmanship. This is why we have the Tea Party.
****************************************************************
Another note. I thought Ed Morrisey’s statement yesterday about SS outlays exceeeding revenues may have been a mistake. He was correct starting in May 2010. Every repub I have heard so far is for extending the cut for a year. It was put in by democrats as a means to gig the economy and we can see it did not work. Reducing the revenue to SS and making up for it in the general fund is a solid Obama strategy to redistribute wealth and he is winning handily.

DanMan on December 21, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Do we need any further indications that Washington DC is run according to the rules/narrative of the Dims and their willing accomplices in the Mainstream Industrial News Media Complex?

Pqlyur1 on December 21, 2011 at 10:16 AM

The FIASCO is both parties funding this “tax cut” on the back of Social Security.

Our whole lives they’re telling us it’s collapsing, and they’re using it as a finding source for tax cuts??!!??

Fire the whole damn Congress. They have lost sight of reality.

INSANE IN THE MEMBRANE!

cane_loader on December 21, 2011 at 10:17 AM

RAGIN CAJUN on December 21, 2011 at 10:10 AM

Actually, because of them, we probably won’t have any representation at all because freaking stupid moves like these puts the House Majority at risk.

Look, we freaking won. We got the pipeline, we had Barack running with his tail in between his legs, and if we passed this bill we would’ve been able to do it again in two months, while he would’ve either had to have pissed off the environmentalists or the Blue Collar Workers over the pipeline.

The Tea Party Caucus isn’t helping us win this battle: they’ve turned a rout into a bloody loss, and if we want to stem the bleeding let’s just pass the compromise and try to win again in two months.

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 10:17 AM

These brilliant comments from yet another declining rag of a news mag. Sheesh, where were they in all their brilliance when NO ONE was vetting the POTUS? Hmmmm… (Crickets)

At least these guys are trying to do the right thing. Someone else is trying to vaca while the rest of us are working….Ooops here comes the boss…gotta go!

landowner on December 21, 2011 at 10:17 AM

katy on December 21, 2011 at 10:13 AM

YEAH! Who needs the President of the United State or the Senate! They’re only an entire branch of the Legislature and an entire Branch of government, the House of Representatives doesn’t need them to pass an agenda…..

Wait.

No, I’ll correct myself, you’re just an idiot.

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 10:19 AM

This would have been the right play:

Take the 2 month deal and Keystone decision in 60 days.

In 2 months: Keystone would have been decided. If the decision is yes, GOP goes on a victory tour about the win and as a “thank you” to Obama, they pass the tax cut for the full year. If the decision is No, GOP tells Obama, no Keystone, no extension from 2 months to a year. Jobs are more important than politics.

It would have forced Obama to approve Keystone, the payroll tax cut is extended and the GOP gets credit for both Keystone and working with the president. It would have been WIN WIN WIN for the GOP.

You really have to wonder if Boehner wants to win these battles with Obama. He loses so badly each time. Once or twice, fine. But every time? Where do you draw the line between incompetence and malfeasance?

angryed on December 21, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Gop will get the blame no matter what…I just wished they voiced their outrage that harry rejected the house bill FIRST yet the house is getting hammered for rejecting harrys bill

Cripe

cmsinaz on December 21, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Should we be extending the pay roll tax hike anyway? It’s utterly irresponsible and our tax code is already far too progressive. Far too many people are just drinking the water and not carrying any.

We have a real problem in this country with the shame of accepting handouts. People just expect free stuff from the government now. We should be making a moral counter argument to this, or what’s the point? We may as well just resign to the dust bin of history as this country’s fate is sealed.

jhffmn on December 21, 2011 at 10:21 AM

err pay roll tax cut I mean =/

jhffmn on December 21, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Dear Leader Reid speaks, and everyone fawns.

Boehner goes along on debt ceiling raise, and he’s crucified for being part of the problem.

Now Boehner is being crucified for opposing a flipping two-month extension.

The Republicans only have the House, yet Boehner is the problem.

The Senate is the shameful chamber, see Jim DeMint’s article,
here.

I like Boehner, sorry.

williampeck1958 on December 21, 2011 at 10:22 AM

angryed on December 21, 2011 at 10:20 AM

As noted, this really isn’t Boehner’s fault this time. If anything, he probably would’ve really wanted to pass the deal. It’s the Tea Party Caucus, some farther right GOPers, combined with the Far Left in the Democratic Caucus (which is all of them considering Nancy Pelosi) that’ve forced him to try to get further sweeteners in the deal to get the necessary votes, because members of the GOP alone with help this fail.

Boehner can only work with what he has, and unfortunately, the Tea Party Caucus has once again shown itself to be a double-edged sword.

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Businesses have to pay QUARTERLY taxes.. how do they figure for two months and what about the third month. This two month sh!t is ridiculous. The dems just threw that in there on purpose to screw the whole thing up. If the dems are so worried about taxpayers, then why don’t they think about what two months represents. Not a whole lot, that’s for sure. I don’t feel like listening to this crap over and over every couple of months. Idiots.

NJ Red on December 21, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Lost in the middle of all of this is the fact that the Senate Dims have not passed a budget in over 900 days! Yet this is the Republican rookies in the House fumbling? Give me a freaking break!

Pqlyur1 on December 21, 2011 at 10:23 AM

The fact the 2-month exrtension is- per non-partisan experts- almost impossible to implement in any manner that won’t cost more than is saves; this doesn’t bother the Wall Street Journal? Only the optics matter?

michaelo on December 21, 2011 at 10:23 AM

This whole thing is a train wreck.

McConnell should call the Senate GOP back to DC and announce that he’s ready to work with the House and the President to extend the tax holiday for the entirety of 2012. Let Reid be the one who refuses to show up.

It’s bad enough Boehner made this knuckleheaded move. McConnell shouldn’t compound it further by leaving him out there on that limb by himself. They may as well salvage whatever initiative they can.

DRayRaven on December 21, 2011 at 10:13 AM

The now obvious train-wreck is in Boehner’s court whether he likes it or not, and McConnell can not “call” the GOP Senate back and conduct ANY official business. Time for the House to cut the gains/losses and pass the Senate bill, and go home.

Rovin on December 21, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Their inability to recognize a win …

The GOP. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory for over 4 generations.

BacaDog on December 21, 2011 at 10:24 AM

The Tea Party Caucus isn’t helping us win this battle: they’ve turned a rout into a bloody loss, and if we want to stem the bleeding let’s just pass the compromise and try to win again in two months.

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 10:17 AM

I love the Tea Party, but you are correct here. Boehner needs to get up today and tell us “We tried to get your taxes cut for the entire year but were only offered a 2 month extention, We can no longer negotiate with the Senate because they have left DC to go on vacation and the President’s bags are packed to go to Hawaii so we will sign this deal and try again in 2 months”. END OF STORY.

VegasRick on December 21, 2011 at 10:27 AM

4th request

I ask once again, have any of these retards stated how we’re to implement a two month cut of an annual premium, subject to a maximum, that is just spread out over 12 months?

This whole issue is an ESTABLISHMENT fail, of nothing but people appealing to the dumbest in society. Frankly, in America today, it’s a majority.

MNHawk on December 21, 2011 at 10:28 AM

The now obvious train-wreck is in Boehner’s court whether he likes it or not, and McConnell can not “call” the GOP Senate back and conduct ANY official business. Time for the House to cut the gains/losses and pass the Senate bill, and go home.

Rovin on December 21, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Maybe he can’t officially call them back, but he should certainly be able to get most of them back into town – if he’s any kind of leader.

But I didn’t say anything about conducting official business. All he has to do is hold a press conference in DC announcing that he’s ready to work with the House. That would put the onus back on Reid.

DRayRaven on December 21, 2011 at 10:29 AM

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 10:19 AM

You must be new here… watch your mouth when dealing with certain commenters. Life could get real ugly real fast…. just a friendly warning.

Oh and BTW, in case you haven’t noticed…this government you speak of is imploding. If one or more branches don’t take a stand and STOP the games that are leading us straight over the cliff….what is your point?

katy on December 21, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Only the optics matter?

michaelo on December 21, 2011 at 10:23 AM

In the United States of 2011, yes. Optics is everything, substance is nothing. A Republican Party that is now about nothing but optics, no longer has my vote.

MNHawk on December 21, 2011 at 10:30 AM

I love the Tea Party, but you are correct here. Boehner needs to get up today and tell us “We tried to get your taxes cut for the entire year but were only offered a 2 month extention, We can no longer negotiate with the Senate because they have left DC to go on vacation and the President’s bags are packed to go to Hawaii so we will sign this deal and try again in 2 months”. END OF STORY.

VegasRick on December 21, 2011 at 10:27 AM

+1. Nail. Flush.

Red Cloud on December 21, 2011 at 10:30 AM

This is really getting to peave me.

Alright everybody, let’s look at the facts -

The FICA holiday is only for 2% for 2 months. If you are a family making 60k per year, you will only get $200 from the Senate passed legislation, less than their cell phone bill for the year.

Obama says that House GOP actions have taken away $1000 from middle class Americans.

The only people getting the $1000 are people who will EARN more than $50000 in the first 2 months of 2012, or all of us middle class Americans that EARN $300000 per year.

Those of us that make $100k in the first 2 months of 2012 will make see a tax holiday windfall of $2k. WHOOPIE!!!!

gonnjos on December 21, 2011 at 10:30 AM

The self destructive tendencies of the Repubs is why we are doomed to 4 more years of BO and is ilk.

climbnjump on December 21, 2011 at 10:31 AM

WSJ is wrong about this.As has been noted above by other posters this two month extension would not be workable. Obama himself was for the 1 year extension. Harry Reid made the changes to hang the Republicans, simple as that. Did it work? Of course it did. The willing media made sure of that.This bill is 1200 pages long, and has plenty not so hidden new “taxes.”No matter what the House does they will get the blame. I hope this time they stand firm.

sandee on December 21, 2011 at 10:32 AM

VegasRick on December 21, 2011 at 10:27 AM

I am close to where VegasRick is but I would prefer to make sure the 2% tax cut is killed or offset with income tax cuts. That 2% is being paid by the entire 160+ million people that draw a paycheck. Making up the difference in the general fund reduces the payees by half (47% pay no income taxes). Obama is splitting the working force in half with this.

DanMan on December 21, 2011 at 10:35 AM

The House GOP passed a one year extension. Democratic Senate only passed a two month, unworkable extension and then fled. Why isn’t this the narrative? Democrats punted and then left the field.

rbj on December 21, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Bonehead Boehner is our drunknen sailor, and Mitch McConnell OUR senile Harry Reid!

KOOLAID2 on December 21, 2011 at 10:36 AM

what is the reward for this gambit? A one year tax holiday is a marginally more stable tax policy than a 2 month holiday that is likely to be extended. Neither one will do much for the economy. Why expend so much political capital for little or no reward.

No percentage in trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory

oznerola on December 21, 2011 at 10:36 AM

katy on December 21, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Oh my goodness. I’m so terrified. Some random tough guy/girl, who probably lives in his/her basement, is threatening me over the internet. Oh gee wiz, I better be careful. I’m just so, so very scared!

Yeah, the tough guy routine doesn’t work over the internet buddy/doll. It just makes you look like an over-inflated jack@ss.

And the point is that we have three co-equal branches of government, with a two-branched Legislature, all equal to each other in power and stature. One can’t stand up and do things unilaterally because that goes against the very founding principles of our country. I thought us conservatives were supposed to be into the whole ‘equal branches’ government philosophy. I guess you must’ve forgotten to breath and passed out when you were being told about that in Civics class.

MNHawk on December 21, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Really, the fight wasn’t over the payroll tax holiday. That was just for good optics. The real fight was over the Pipeline. Which we won. And we’re only now losing because we turned the non-fight, the payroll tax cuts, into a fight.

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Cut your losses and pass the bill.

Too late.
According to The Hill, the House (Boehner) has already sent the bill to conference. Pelosi refuses to appoint democrats to the committee, Reid refuses to conference or return the Senate to reconsider.

It’s now in the Byzantine bureaucratic labyrinth of procedures and rules which means nothing happens until congress reconvenes in late January.

Skandia Recluse on December 21, 2011 at 10:38 AM

A 1/3 cut in payroll taxes should be matched with a 1/3 cut in entitlement benefits.

besser tot als rot on December 21, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Look, we freaking won. We got the pipeline. The Tea Party Caucus isn’t helping us win this battle: they’ve turned a rout into a bloody loss, and if we want to stem the bleeding let’s just pass the compromise and try to win again in two months.

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 10:17 AM

Au Contraire, we do not have the pipeline. In fact we have just literally kicked the can, once again, down the road. Pay attention, the one can still can it.

The salient point here (and I always have one) is that the Republican house and senate refuse to play hard ball due to polls, demagoguery, lack of strategery and wholesale self-preservation techniques. Let me specify and say that I am in the energy sector and pay particular attention to this chicanery.

Obama claims that extending the jobless benefits will create more jobs than the XL?
Why can we not stand our ground like the Wizard in Lord of the Rings and shout “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”
In closing, there is no problem on this end if oil goes to $140 a barrel. :)

RAGIN CAJUN on December 21, 2011 at 10:38 AM

don’t you all get tired of being played? (some are some aren’t)

rbj has it right and I also think they Senate slipped out was for Obama so he can appoint more communists.

golfmann on December 21, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Blame McConnell for letting something out of the Senate that couldn’t pass the House.

besser tot als rot on December 21, 2011 at 10:39 AM

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Keep talkin’ sweetcheeks… Keep talkin’

guy/girl, who probably lives in his/her basement,

Projection is one of the easiest things to spot… ;o)

katy on December 21, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Really, the fight wasn’t over the payroll tax holiday. That was just for good optics. The real fight was over the Pipeline. Which we won. And we’re only now losing because we turned the non-fight, the payroll tax cuts, into a fight.

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Wrong.There were other things in this bill to be rejected.How about a permanent new “tax” on new home purchasers?How does a “temporary” payroll tax cut trump a “permanent” new tax?

sandee on December 21, 2011 at 10:41 AM

So glad that McConnell crony Blunt is in leadership instead of Johnson so we can have more brainless GOP “leadership”.

besser tot als rot on December 21, 2011 at 10:41 AM

RAGIN CAJUN on December 21, 2011 at 10:38 AM

We got the pipeline in the sense that now Barack has to choke on it. A majority of Americans support it but a strong part of his base, the environmentalists, hate he. He would’ve had to choke on either losing the environmentalists or most Americans one way or the other. It was a lose-lose for him and a win-win for us!

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 10:41 AM

That’s what I keep asking rbj

They should ne shouting this out loud

cmsinaz on December 21, 2011 at 10:42 AM

katy on December 21, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Actually, back home from University.

Also, I will keep talking, thank you very much sweety.

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 10:43 AM

A Republican Party that is now about nothing but optics, no longer has my vote.

MNHawk on December 21, 2011 at 10:30 AM

That’s just the McConnell/Romney cabal.

besser tot als rot on December 21, 2011 at 10:43 AM

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 10:38 AM

so wealth, are you for defunding social security today by 13% and making up the difference on borrowed money? do you think that is a winning strategy? if so say so

You obviously missed the whole point of the Tea Party yet still want to claim you’re a conservative. Makes about as much sense as a Chuck Shumer clarification.

DanMan on December 21, 2011 at 10:43 AM

conventional wisdom, as aspoused by WSJ, as usual, is totally wrong. in 3 months no one is going to remember this. and if it comes up, house GOPers say “well, we were there dec 22nd waiting for dem senate to vote. and we wanted a year. they didnt, and they didnt show up to vote.” all this navel gazing is really overblown and really funny. and sad. i’m a cpa. work for the “99%”, not the 1%. they dont give a crap about this.

t8stlikchkn on December 21, 2011 at 10:44 AM

This is what happens when we let the Dems and Obama control the language in the debate. ALL repubs should use short sound-biteable language EVERY time they’re in front of cameras.
This is not a “tax cut.”
This is defunding social security.
This is “spreading the wealth around.”
This is “playing politics with people’s Social Security retirement.”
“Why does the President want to defund Social Security for political gain?”
“Why does the President play politics with so called ‘tax cuts’? Instead, he should contribute to real solutions such as actual stable long term tax policy that will help businesses of all sizes hire workers?”

They could go on an on like this and these would be played over and over nightly on every news show.

Instead Boehner says stuff like “we did our job, the Senate should do theirs.” That means nothing. Nothing at all.

Youngs98 on December 21, 2011 at 10:44 AM

It’s not Boehner so much as it is some of the utterly morons in our Congressional caucus

No, it’sd Boenher. He’s the majority leader, this doesn’t go forward without his “leadership.” He’s a failure as House Leader and needs to be taken down by his fellow GOP-ers!

EasyEight on December 21, 2011 at 10:44 AM

The solution is to get a Republican majority in the Senate in 2012. I’m not sure these ploys work anymore, because if they did the Republicans in the House would simply cave and sign the two month extension. Clearly, they are worried about their base turning against them. My prediction is that they will eventually cave after looking like they put up a fight. This is what they did on the debt ceiling issue which was the same ploy by the Democrats. I’m hoping the American people are smarter than this, but it looks like the Tea Party reps in the House are useless also.

lea on December 21, 2011 at 10:45 AM

I still don’t understand why the GOP senators voted for a two-month extension. It was total nonsense. They should have let the Dems pass it alone. As I see it, they gave cover to Dems to disparage the GOP house members who passed a more sensible bill.

I don’t consider the payroll-tax holiday good policy, but why not insist on the one-year?

Ed, you should have included a discussion of the WSJ column on the opposite page from the WSJ’s editorial. It discusses certainty in tax policy. A one-year extension is hokey enough; a two-month extension is something out of The X Files–it’s just bizarre policy.

BuckeyeSam on December 21, 2011 at 10:45 AM

He’s a failure as House Leader and needs to be taken down by his fellow GOP-ers!

EasyEight on December 21, 2011 at 10:44 AM

McConnell and his crony Blunt first.

besser tot als rot on December 21, 2011 at 10:46 AM

How about a permanent new “tax” on new home purchasers?How does a “temporary” payroll tax cut trump a “permanent” new tax?

sandee on December 21, 2011 at 10:41 AM

sandee can you elaborate on this ‘new’ tax?

t8stlikchkn on December 21, 2011 at 10:46 AM

Actually, back home from University.

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 10:43 AM

That explains it…

katy on December 21, 2011 at 10:47 AM

DanMan on December 21, 2011 at 10:43 AM

There’s other places where cuts can be made, certainly, however I think fighting over something like a payroll tax cut and whether or not it should be gotten rid of in this economic environment is akin to shooting off your own foot.

The Tea Party might have a goal, but sure as heck has shown that it knows nothing about how to get that goal through in actual governance.

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 10:47 AM

“This is a colossal fumble by the House Republicans,” said a senior Senate GOP aide, requesting anonymity to speak candidly about his own party. “Their inability to recognize a win is costing our party our long-held advantage on the key issue of tax relief. It’s time for Boehner and [House Majority Leader Eric] Cantor to look these rookies in the eye and explain how the game is won or lost.”

That anonymous “Democrud” spy is the rookie. The Senate republicans are so full of themeselves they can’t figure out how stupid they really are. What a bunch of tools.

wsucoug on December 21, 2011 at 10:47 AM

katy on December 21, 2011 at 10:47 AM

Yes, because as we all know all University students are obviously people who go to the North Eastern Ivy-League schools, and not someone who’d double majoring in History and Political Science in the hopes of joining the CATO institute.

That’d just be stupid, it’s much easier to assume things… and you know what they say about people who assume things.

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 10:49 AM

The Republicans do not hold news conferences or otherwise inform the sheep to explain their position, the media lies, the sheep believe them and they are the bad guys in a situation that is another Cash for Clunkers; a 2 month extension that may not happen anyway because it is a computer night mare. Does that about sum it up ? Media lies and Republicans have the George Bush Syndrome [where they allow the media to define them].

democratsarefools on December 21, 2011 at 10:49 AM

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 10:17 AM

You must be a troll, or an idiot.

We didn’t “get the pipeline”. The GOP put in a provision requiring the President to make a decision, and he could have very easily said no, that it was too environmentally risky to build. The provision to require a decision by the President was a GOP poison pill to tweak the President and force him to take the political consequences of a decision he was attempting to avoid having to make before he election.

Your distortion of the truth is classic leftist disinformation. Unless you really are ignorant.

Reid returned the poison pill favor to the GOP with his two month extension of the FICA tax holiday as a lesson to the GOP to not mess with his president.

Boehner keeps demanding the President show leadership when Reid is doing exactly what Obama wants done. Obama is leading, and this is what we get.

Boehner and the establishment republicans really have no clue. McCain and McConnell were perfect examples of that; give the democrats what they want and go home.

Skandia Recluse on December 21, 2011 at 10:49 AM

There is a provision in the Senate bill. Here it is:

Paid for by increasing home loan guarantee fees charged to mortgage lenders by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration by one-tenth of 1 percentage point. The fee is passed on to home buyers and will apply to many new purchases and refinancings starting Jan. 1.

sandee on December 21, 2011 at 10:50 AM

The two month plan that obama and his democrats vomited forward is a hoax and was intended solely to create fake-outrage and dopey sound-bites and headlines. Americans know better, Americans know that obama is playing games (as usual) – this two month extension is just one more destructive obama game – it is completely stupid and only the most ignorant of Americans would fall for the White House/obama/state-run media spin.

Pork-Chop on December 21, 2011 at 10:51 AM

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 10:19 AM

psst, An ad hominem (Latin for “to the man” or “to the person”), short for argumentum ad hominem, is an attempt to negate the truth of a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or belief of the person supporting it.

You are missing the point and are “pyromaniac in a field of straw men” – Geo Will.

I doubt the civics lesson is an avenue to make your point regarding the captioned item. But by all means, climb that tree. Intellectual cannon fodder is a treat here.

Post Scriptum: We did not get the pipeline.

RAGIN CAJUN on December 21, 2011 at 10:51 AM

The real fight was over the Pipeline. Which we won.

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Really, when does construction start? And you were saying how to implement an impossible SS premium cut that’s unconstitutional to start with?

All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives

Apparently something that goes way over the head of any retard coming out of Columbia Journalism School or the Harvard Political Science Department.

It’s apparent electing Republicans isn’t enough to turn around this fustercluck of a nation. If you believe in SS, this bankrupts it faster. It still doesn’t address what the annual premium is to be, just appeal to the stupid by lowering withholding for two months. And as noted by several, temporary tax policy does nothing to address long term employment prospects.

Rush was right. The American people just aren’t smart enough to even go find out what Social Security is, and how it’s financed.

MNHawk on December 21, 2011 at 10:51 AM

DanMan on December 21, 2011 at 10:15 AM

What you ignored was that the shortfall from the payroll tax holiday is being covered by general revenue. The bad news is that can’t possibly be paid for.

This public decoupling of the payroll tax from the SocSecurity benefits is precisely what the Democrats want.

Steve Eggleston on December 21, 2011 at 10:53 AM

This is a frustrating situation. I can understand what they’re trying to do in the house, and if they had more time to pull it off it’d make sense. But, they shouldn’t have tried pulling this off RIGHT as they were about to recess for the holiday.

As much as people disapprove of congress, they aren’t going to blame them for going home for the holidays, and insisting on this move right now when there is nothing in place does guarantee that most people will see their paychecks going up, if only briefly.

That said, I think certain pundits exaggerate when they talk about this getting Obama re-elected. My take on the matter is that few people are following this particular political story outside the political junkies. The republican nomination and north korea is already eating up the vast majority of peoples attention spans.

Besides that, one instance of legislative fumbling, is likely not going to be enough to redeem Obama for 3-4 years of economic malaise.

What this does do, it further damage the reputation of the tea-party, painting them as stubborn and ill equipped for the task of governing.

That, DOES concern me. There needs to be competent advocacy for conservatism in the legislative branch, thats one of the core reasons so much ground has been lose to liberals over the decades. Anything that erodes the legitimacy of the tea party as a legislative force will cripple their power in the future, even if Republicans DO take the presidency and senate.

WolvenOne on December 21, 2011 at 10:53 AM

That’d just be stupid, it’s much easier to assume things… and you know what they say about people who assume things.

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 10:49 AM

besser tot als rot on December 21, 2011 at 10:54 AM

That’d just be stupid, it’s much easier to assume things… and you know what they say about people who assume things.

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 10:49 AM

It’s a proxy. And to suggest that it is an unreasonable one is what is stupid.

besser tot als rot on December 21, 2011 at 10:55 AM

and not someone who’d double majoring in History and Political Science in the hopes of joining the CATO institute.

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 10:49 AM

A clue for those who wish to join CATO. Don’t hang with the dumbest people on campus, in the Poli Sci department. Go hang with the smartest in the Economics department.

A free bit of advice, because I care. Really.

MNHawk on December 21, 2011 at 10:55 AM

Alright, this is to all of you who haven’t bothered to read either my previous comments or the commentary of the bloggers or other comments made on this site.

We ‘got’ the pipeline in the sense that we forced Obama to make that decision! That’s the purpose. A majority of Americans poll in favor of the Pipeline because it will create jobs and lower energy costs, but Obama’s base, which is strongly made up of environmentalists, would hate it. He’d either have to cripple his re-election chances by slowing donations and votes to him from environmentalists, or have to disregard a majority of Americans.

That was a win-win or us and a lose-lose for him. Politics isn’t a game of 2-D chess. There’s multiple levels and dimensions that you have to think of and, for once, we have him cornered on all three.

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 10:55 AM

There’s other places where cuts can be made,

wealth, you may want to gaze up beyond the textbooks every once in a while. We’re dealing with a senate that has not taken up a budget in going on three years and they are facing no backlash from most of the electorate. They are doing that for people like you who think things will work out in the future if we ignore the present. Columbia? Yale? Harvard? Penn St?

DanMan on December 21, 2011 at 10:56 AM

I have a question that I have not heard answered.

Is paying a lesser contribution (not tax) going to result in a lower payout of SS retirement benefits?

Since it is the amount of contributions that directly controls the monthly payment of SS benefits, it looks to me that everybody who is working right now is cutting their own benefits by contributing less.

If I’m right, Jugears is cutting SS payments without any political price whatsoever. To make matters worse, the GOP is being blamed for wanting a tax increase when this isn’t a tax issue.

Pathetic is Cantor claiming it is a tax cut. And failing to realize that by seeking a year’s worth of a lower rate, the GOP is walking right into a future Donkey talking point about how Republicans screwed SS.

platypus on December 21, 2011 at 10:56 AM

This public decoupling of the payroll tax from the SocSecurity benefits is precisely what the Democrats want.

Steve Eggleston on December 21, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Why? Social Security being seen as a welfare program (funded by a progressive tax system) and not as an insurance program (funded by premiums) is exactly what leftists haven’t wanted.

You decouple that, the charade of some sort of insurance program, is over.

MNHawk on December 21, 2011 at 10:58 AM

There is a provision in the Senate bill. Here it is:

Paid for by increasing home loan guarantee fees charged to mortgage lenders by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration by one-tenth of 1 percentage point. The fee is passed on to home buyers and will apply to many new purchases and refinancings starting Jan. 1.

sandee on December 21, 2011 at 10:50 AM

.1% 200k home, thats 200 bucks. not a show stopper. of course neither is 20 or 40 bucks a week in the defunding of soc sec. one of the hidden ‘pay fors’ i assume? rather than the >1mil surcharge?

t8stlikchkn on December 21, 2011 at 10:59 AM

He’d either have to cripple his re-election chances by slowing donations and votes to him from environmentalists, or have to disregard a majority of Americans.

That was a win-win or us and a lose-lose for him. Politics isn’t a game of 2-D chess. There’s multiple levels and dimensions that you have to think of and, for once, we have him cornered on all three.

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 10:55 AM

I think that you are forgetting that the media is comprised largely of his sycophants and he can kill the pipeline with little fanfare and little to no ill effect.

besser tot als rot on December 21, 2011 at 10:59 AM

MNHawk on December 21, 2011 at 10:55 AM

now….THAT….was funny…

RAGIN CAJUN on December 21, 2011 at 11:00 AM

The issue here for the Repubs is that they’ve never had a consistent narrative. They only recently actually endorsed at all an extension of the payroll tax cut. Prior to that, they advocated not extending the cut. But since that position reveled a little too clearly what and for whom they reserve their tax cut passions for, a change in strategy was in order. And now they want to bellow about how much they really really wanna extend this cut for a whole year?
Bad actors acting badly.

verbaluce on December 21, 2011 at 11:00 AM

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 10:49 AM

You’re young and green. You’ll catch on soon. I see you’re already getting a nice spanking here this morning.

Life is good…

Like I said…keep talkin’

katy on December 21, 2011 at 11:00 AM

MNHawk on December 21, 2011 at 10:55 AM

CATO is also about being able to understand and apply conservative thinking to as it concerns foreign policy, foreign relations, the structure of government, constitutionality and generally how things happened in history…

And oh, hey, Political Science courses and History courses, when taking a grain of salt as it concerns some professors, can do just that. It also helps when you have some genuinely conservative professors in your university teaching these subjects.

I know a fair amount about economics from my own reading, but I figure that there are already a strong enough core of people who know a lot about conservative economics, and history and the structure of governments has always interested me more personally. (Still, thanks for the advice)

besser tot als rot on December 21, 2011 at 10:55 AM

What’s stupid is that, after I’ve been arguing for conservatism on Hot Air, just because I’m going to a university to further my education means that I’m somehow suspect. Whether you like it or not, higher education does have a large role to play in our modern world, and taking it as common fact that you should bad mouth everyone who goes into and comes out of universities is a losing strategy.

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 11:01 AM

Too late.
According to The Hill, the House (Boehner) has already sent the bill to conference. Pelosi refuses to appoint democrats to the committee, Reid refuses to conference or return the Senate to reconsider.

It’s now in the Byzantine bureaucratic labyrinth of procedures and rules which means nothing happens until congress reconvenes in late January.

Skandia Recluse on December 21, 2011 at 10:38 AM

So Democrat Pelosi is being obstructionist, and Democrat Reid is refusing to work in a bipartisan manner. Those points need to be driven home. Loudly and often. Pity the GOP leadership is once again being the stupid party.

rbj on December 21, 2011 at 11:01 AM

Reducing the revenue to SS and making up for it in the general fund is a solid Obama strategy to redistribute wealth and he is winning handily.

DanMan on December 21, 2011 at 10:15 AM

This public decoupling of the payroll tax from the SocSecurity benefits is precisely what the Democrats want.

Steve Eggleston on December 21, 2011 at 10:53 AM

were you talking to me Steve?

DanMan on December 21, 2011 at 11:01 AM

.1% 200k home, thats 200 bucks. not a show stopper. of course neither is 20 or 40 bucks a week in the defunding of soc sec. one of the hidden ‘pay fors’ i assume? rather than the >1mil surcharge?

t8stlikchkn on December 21, 2011 at 10:59 AM

Any new tax is a show stopper. They should be cutting first, and raising taxes never. Or later only once and if necessary after all of the waste and bad policy has been cut.

besser tot als rot on December 21, 2011 at 11:02 AM

Sounds like the Senate needs to grow up, not the House.

SouthernGent on December 21, 2011 at 11:02 AM

I have a question that I have not heard answered.

Is paying a lesser contribution (not tax) going to result in a lower payout of SS retirement benefits?

platypus on December 21, 2011 at 10:56 AM

in theory, no. ‘benefits’ are based on SS taxable wages. your highest earning 35 years of earnings. those wonderful ‘benefits’ aren’t based on the taxes paid in. but of course they will have to be means tested very soon. as the insruacne program charade is being shredded now and the true nature of the “program”, i.e. another welfare transfer payment is being made clear to everyone. for the first time. finally. so dont count on getting any of it.

t8stlikchkn on December 21, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Why? Social Security being seen as a welfare program (funded by a progressive tax system) and not as an insurance program (funded by premiums) is exactly what leftists haven’t wanted.

You decouple that, the charade of some sort of insurance program, is over.

MNHawk on December 21, 2011 at 10:58 AM

We’re at the tipping point of more people getting government assistance (mostly from SocSecurity) than people paying in at the same time we’re realizing that the “investment” of Social Security is a bad one. Given the Democrats want to “pay” for the second year of the payroll tax “holiday” with a millionaire’s tax, they sure seem to think that recasting SocSecurity as a pure welfare program is the best way to keep the gravy train going.

Steve Eggleston on December 21, 2011 at 11:04 AM

Whether you like it or not, higher education does have a large role to play in our modern world, and taking it as common fact that you should bad mouth everyone who goes into and comes out of universities is a losing strategy.

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 11:01 AM

I just said that it is a reasonable proxy and suggesting otherwise was stupid. I didn’t say that it was accurate in your instance or, hopefully, mine (I have two doctorates).

besser tot als rot on December 21, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Any new tax is a show stopper. They should be cutting first, and raising taxes never. Or later only once and if necessary after all of the waste and bad policy has been cut.

besser tot als rot on December 21, 2011 at 11:02 AM

agreed. but if they are going to go thru with this charade of the SS contrib reduction, there has to be pay fors right? or we go along and just increase the 1300 bil per annum deficit.

t8stlikchkn on December 21, 2011 at 11:05 AM

DanMan on December 21, 2011 at 10:56 AM

Ah yes, no backlash from the electorate. That’s precisely why the Democrats are in danger of losing their majority in the Senate. Because the electorate is so stupid that they’re not noticing all the stupid things that the Senate has been doing.

Right.

besser tot als rot on December 21, 2011 at 10:59 AM

Wait, I’m confused. Is the spin that the Lame-stream media is not as powerful anymore thanks to alternative media and Fox News, or is it that the electorate is stupid and the Lame-stream media is still in control. It seems to shift when convenience for an argument is needed.

The electorate supports the pipeline, domestic energy production and jobs. This has been a consistent support shown throughout the years, except during the small stint in the Golf, and no amount of lame-stream spin has either managed to bring that support down or, in the case of the Golf, keep it down.

People here arguing that I sound like a leftist. Arguing that the American people are sheep that can easily be lead astray by talking heads sounds like the exact kind of thing a leftist would say as it concerns Fox News or Talk Radio.

katy on December 21, 2011 at 11:00 AM

If by spanking you mean ‘not bothering me in the slightest while I continue to be able to argue these points back’ then yes, I’m taking quite the spanking.

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 11:06 AM

What’s stupid is that, after I’ve been arguing for conservatism on Hot Air, just because I’m going to a university to further my education means that I’m somehow suspect. Whether you like it or not, higher education does have a large role to play in our modern world, and taking it as common fact that you should bad mouth everyone who goes into and comes out of universities is a losing strategy.

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 11:01 AM

Yeah, the tough guy routine doesn’t work over the internet buddy/doll. It just makes you look like an over-inflated jack@ss.

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Self awareness is always a good starting point to any meaningful debate… ;)

katy on December 21, 2011 at 11:07 AM

“holiday” with a millionaire’s tax, they sure seem to think that recasting SocSecurity as a pure welfare program is the best way to keep the gravy train going.

Steve Eggleston on December 21, 2011 at 11:04 AM

paves the way for means testing. as the creation of the 401k also did. you cant means test unless those that are tested out have something as retirement. and voila, there they are, all those baby boomers with 401k plans funded for the last 30 years. means tested out. this isnt something new. its been planned for 30 years.

t8stlikchkn on December 21, 2011 at 11:08 AM

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 11:01 AM

For a university student you see to be poorly educated, and unwilling to research your ideas and rather cavalier with your use of language.

You keep claiming that CATO is a conservative think tank when CATO themselves claim to be more ‘libertarian’ in the mold of Thomas Jefferson.

See ‘how to label CATO’ in the link above.

Skandia Recluse on December 21, 2011 at 11:08 AM

besser tot als rot on December 21, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Wow. I’m really, really impressed. It’s a lot of work to get a doctorate, not to mention to. What are your doctorates in man?

Also, yeah, I’m sorry. I know that typically university students and professors are liberal, but I just found that using the proxy in my case, while I’m doing my best to argue for conservatism and how to push it forward, was just really lazy in terms of trying to debate.

WealthofNations on December 21, 2011 at 11:08 AM

It’s already started – the democrats are going rabid and the media is there to assist. I already see it on facebook – the propaganda and lies that my democrat friends are spreading around. All you need to do is hear what Dear Leader, Reid, Pelosi, et al say and lie about, distort, etc. and facebook is all a buzz with the same distortions and lies reinforced by Huffington Post cut and paste articles. And the hate and vitriol is picking up momentum. I’m afraid we ain’t seen nothing yet from this administration and their flunkies. And the campaign against the republicans with the payroll tax cuts time limits and all the distorting and lies is mind-numbing. We have to push back and hard.

mozalf on December 21, 2011 at 11:10 AM

The two month plan that obama and his democrats vomited forward is a hoax and was intended solely to create fake-outrage and dopey sound-bites and headlines. Americans know better, Americans know that obama is playing games (as usual) – this two month extension is just one more destructive obama game – it is completely stupid and only the most ignorant of Americans would fall for the White House/obama/state-run media spin.

Pork-Chop on December 21, 2011 at 10:51 AM

THIS. Only it’s even worse – this two-month extension was more than just an “I-ll-see-you-one-and-raise-you-one” stratgegy by Harry Reid. It was done on purpose to keep the argument about “middle class tax cuts” going as long as possible into the campaign.

If the House caves on this two-month extension, guess what Obama gets to spend half of his State of The Union talking about? Tax cuts for the middle class! Tax increases on the rich! Fairness! We will be right back to where we were when this whole thing started.

rockmom on December 21, 2011 at 11:10 AM

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