Second look at tax hikes on everyone?

posted at 7:41 pm on November 29, 2012 by Allahpundit

Lottttt of support in the comments to the last thread for the “let it burn” option. Here’s a variation on it from Jim Geraghty that I kinda like, just because it would force the public in the starkest way to face the consequences of a metastasizing entitlement state:

At this moment, Republicans in Congress need to examine which presents a more dire threat to the country:

A) A double-dip recession driven by the sequester and the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, or

B) the public’s belief (verified through polling) that our giant debt, our ticking time bomb of entitlements, and our gargantuan government can be solved by “asking the richest Americans to pay a little bit more,” as Obama insists.

Option A is terrible, but Option B is the giant locked door blocking all of the real solutions.

So if we must have tax hikes, let the tax cuts for every income level expire and let everyone of every income level pay higher taxes. Destroy the illusion among so many voters that they can get all the government they want without paying more in taxes.

You want to continue putting off reforms to Medicare and Social Security while making only token cuts to the rest of the budget? No problem. But if we can’t have fiscal responsibility on the front end, by cutting spending, then we’ll have some measure of it on the back end by squeezing a ton of new revenue from the middle class. Everyone in government understands that the rich can’t pay for all of this; if you want to keep the popping-and-wheezing Great Society machine duct-taped together for a few years longer, you’ll need to start soaking average Americans. Democrats would prefer a VAT because it can disguise future tax hikes better, but one way or another Joe Sixpack has to start meeting his obligations. The GOP can make it happen on January 1 simply by walking away.

This isn’t a true “let it burn” plan. “Let it burn” calls for giving Obama whatever he wants so that he can’t blame Republicans for anything that happens later. That would mean hiking taxes on the rich and no one else because O’s not — yet — at the point of informing the middle class that they’ll have to pay more to enact his agenda. By contrast, if the GOP followed the Geraghty plan and let tax hikes on the middle class take effect, O would merrily blame them for it while privately rejoicing that the Overton window had been moved back towards higher rates on working-class Americans. Likely end result: The GOP would be brutalized in the midterms, no doubt with some Democrats campaigning on a plan to (temporarily) lower the new middle-class rates if elected in exchange for even higher rates on the rich — and no entitlement reform, of course. But Geraghty realizes all that. He’s playing a long game of “let it burn” here: At some point, Democratic tax-and-spend policies will squeeze so many people and cause so many problems that the public will revolt and turn back towards Republicans with a mandate to undo it. The “blue social model,” in Walter Russell Mead’s term, will eventually collapse because the left ultimately can’t make the math add up. But how long are you willing to wait? The public’s belief in soaking the rich as a solution to core budgetary problems is one of the sturdiest in American political life, rivaled only by their belief that defense spending and foreign aid are something like four-fifths of the federal budget or whatever. Democrats will put off the reckoning on entitlements as long as they can, until a Grecian debacle finally forces their hand. (That’s the flaw in my own fiscal-cliff strategy, of course. I said the GOP should offer tax hikes on the rich in exchange for immediate entitlement reform. But why would Obama agree to that when he knows the public is kidding itself about both parts of that equation?) Are you prepared to wait that long for a mandate to fix it? Through how many electoral cycles should the “let it burn” strategy be carried out (and why vote for a Republican committed to that strategy in 2014 instead of a Democrat)? Is it worth watching lopsided Democratic majorities in Congress pass single-payer health care in the interim?

The fact that the entire “fiscal cliff” clusterfark revolves around taxes instead of entitlement reform is proof enough of how deep the denial runs here. If you follow the “let it burn” approach on the assumption that the public will finally wake up and reach for the fire hose when it feels a little heat, before everything burns down, then you have more faith in the public than I do. Reminds me a little, in fact, of the assumption that a “starve the beast” approach to taxes would eventually force government to shrink. Not so, as it turns out: The beast doesn’t starve, it just borrows and continues to gorge. That’s how we got here. And on that note, enjoy insane person Jay Carney insisting that it’s “deeply irresponsible” to want spending cuts as a condition of raising America’s debt ceiling ever onward to infinity. Click the image to watch.


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If the media can sell a second Obama term they easily can sell more “Blame Bush and those GOP extremists” tripe. FDR prolonged the Great Depression by 7 years, yet he re-election over and over with the same strategy, and now it’s working brilliantly for Obama.
The GOP should do what’s good for the country and the people who put them in office.
They won’t though, because they want the revenue and they like big gov almost as much as Obama and the Dems.

RightKlik on November 29, 2012 at 8:55 PM

Nailed it.

Kataklysmic on November 29, 2012 at 9:07 PM

Bishop on November 29, 2012 at 9:02 PM

Debate is over now anyway…They will be voting sometime after 9:30

dom89031 on November 29, 2012 at 9:11 PM

There’s no point in negotiating anymore.

WisCon on November 29, 2012 at 9:16 PM

I recall very clearly when the initial Bush tax cuts were proposed. The Democrats screamed that they were ONLY tax cuts for the wealthy. Now they are trying to state that only 2% were for the ‘rich’ and that they are willing to extend the 98% for the ‘middle class’. Which is it demtards? I agree, if the crisis is going to finally come home to roost, let us take EVERYONE over the cliff together. Too many have no skin in the game and additional taxes on people like me will not, over the next ten years, even pay for the deficit this year alone. Time for everyone to pay debacle…

mouell on November 29, 2012 at 9:20 PM

So enlighten me. Outline a Greek scenario for the US. US debt to GDP hits 300%. What are the next steps?

ernesto on November 29, 2012 at 8:43 PM

It’s way worse than that:

Cox and Archer: Why $16 Trillion Only Hints at the True U.S. Debt
Hiding the government’s liabilities from the public makes it seem that we can tax our way out of mounting deficits. We can’t.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323353204578127374039087636.html?mod=hp_opinion

The actual liabilities of the federal government—including Social Security, Medicare, and federal employees’ future retirement benefits—already exceed $86.8 trillion, or 550% of GDP. For the year ending Dec. 31, 2011, the annual accrued expense of Medicare and Social Security was $7 trillion. Nothing like that figure is used in calculating the deficit. In reality, the reported budget deficit is less than one-fifth of the more accurate figure.

Colbyjack on November 29, 2012 at 9:23 PM

I’m for giving Obama what he wants. I don’t believe they should ruin the country for decades and get single payer health care. I’m for them passing his bill with a firm warning.

mrscullen on November 29, 2012 at 9:23 PM

I said the GOP should offer tax hikes on the rich in exchange for immediate entitlement reform. But why would Obama agree to that when he knows the public is kidding itself about both parts of that equation?

Who gives a fig what Obama will agree to. GOP needs to offer specifics on revenue increases or changes to make it more “fair”. i.e. what Romney/Ryan talked about. Give specific loopholes to cut, broaden the base. There you go, now what are you going to cut Mr President?

Whatever happens with a let it burn option, we dont have to wait for a collapse, we can just point to the ever increasing debt. “we just raised all those taxes and the debt is still spiraling up. Told you so.

Dash on November 29, 2012 at 9:27 PM

Where will they go in our case? China? Communist China? Brazil? Germany? Canada? Japan? Australia?

ernesto on November 29, 2012 at 8:31 PM

We’re now either 18th or 10th based on economic freedom, depending on the list.

And, apparently, they don’t have eminent domain in China.

Fallon on November 29, 2012 at 9:30 PM

Are you kidding? Where will people go? When the Last Margin Call happens, Communist China will look like an island of economic stability compared to this Looters’ State.

And China is a huge pyramid scheme waiting to collapse on its own.

Nope. This is how World Wars begin. Politicians like George Bush and Barack Obama spend their nations into penury, so when the dictatorships go on the march, no one can do anything about it.

victor82 on November 29, 2012 at 9:43 PM

then you have more faith in the public than I do.

I have no faith in the American public, specifically the one’s that voted Obama back into office. I’d say the GOP gives Obama everything he wants and accelerate this economy over the cliff. The sooner we end the free stuff giveaway, and make it extremely painful on those believing they will get free stuff, the better. It will take courage to face what we are about to endure but it’s got to be done.

TulsAmerican on November 29, 2012 at 9:45 PM

Oh, one other good thing: this can only lead to a strengthening of the conservatives in the GOP.

The Moderates have had their day, and have led the Party into a cul-de-sac of defeat and ignominy.

victor82 on November 29, 2012 at 9:45 PM

They don’t care about the debt.
They won’t care until it collapses and they have to eat out of the garbage cans of the rich.
Problem is, the rich will all have moved to ???? wherever their wealth is desired.
The animals will burn it all…in the “blue” areas.
They will be shot in the “red” areas.
Martial law will be declared…Big Sis will be issuing the 1.2 billion hollow points to restore order.
We won’t be like Greece….they don’t have guns.
Many will die before the next Civil War is over.
War is coming….be prepared.

dirtengineer on November 29, 2012 at 9:53 PM

The Moderates have had their day, and have led the Party into a cul-de-sac of defeat and ignominy.

victor82 on November 29, 2012 at 9:45 PM

How true—watched this same scenario play out in CA. Now I like how we good soldiers that sucked it up and voted for Dole, McCain and Romney are somehow to blame because we didn’t love them enough.

arnold ziffel on November 29, 2012 at 9:55 PM

They don’t care about the debt.
They won’t care until it collapses and they have to eat out of the garbage cans of the rich.
Problem is, the rich will all have moved to ???? wherever their wealth is desired.
The animals will burn it all…in the “blue” areas.
They will be shot in the “red” areas.
Martial law will be declared…Big Sis will be issuing the 1.2 billion hollow points to restore order.
We won’t be like Greece….they don’t have guns.
Many will die before the next Civil War is over.
War is coming….be prepared.

dirtengineer on November 29, 2012 at 9:53 PM

It’s pandering to these people that loses the GOP elections.

ernesto on November 29, 2012 at 9:56 PM

Ernesto,
Forget the “elections”.
The only seats conservatives will hold are “red” seats in the house and 40% of the Senate.
The rest are gone….paid for by the Marxist Bankstas.
The GOP is a shell…stuffed with RINOs…who have divided fiscal conservatives from social conservatives.
The only conservative philosophy that has a chance is the Libertarian (fiscal con/social lib).
It attracts the young and a large portion of the old GOP.
Those that said that social issues belong in your church were right.
The Constitution does not support legislating morality and the Libs have used that club to destroy the GOP.
Time to pick a side and work to grow a majority.
Best of luck,
War is coming…be prepared

dirtengineer on November 29, 2012 at 10:10 PM

Yes of course, let it burn…faster the better. Every penny in spending cuts will be a penny less in debt. But Allah’a right — the voters are imbeciles and will blame the GOP, with the giddy encouragement of The Fourth Estate.

Jaibones on November 29, 2012 at 10:12 PM

They are voting right NOW to decide if they can detain U.S. Citizens indefinitely without trial

http://www.c-span.org/Live-Video/C-SPAN2/

dom89031 on November 29, 2012 at 10:13 PM

It’s pandering to these people that loses the GOP elections.

ernesto on November 29, 2012 at 9:56 PM

And what are you “winning”, ernesto?

You’ve taken the crown from Bush for the most fiscally reckless regime in American history.

You’ve created a doomed entitlement America hates

You’ve created the worst recovery since the Depression with declining real incomes

Al Qaeda’s back, the Middle East hasn’t looked this worse in years and Iran will go nuclear on your watch

Throw me a bone here

Chuck Schick on November 29, 2012 at 10:22 PM

So, here’s the thing — the tax rates on the lower 90% or so of tax filers don’t really affect the economy that much — and, in fact, increasing the taxes on the lowest earners can potentially increase their productivity (though, in our case, that would just be lowering how much we subsidize them). Only the top income marginal rate, capital gains rate, corporate profits rate, and dividends rate have a significant impact on the economy.
Raising the tax rate on the “rich” will only hurt those of us in the middle class, reducing our opportunities and security (probably beyond the effect of a similar tax increase on us directly). But all of that is secondary to how much government spending is crippling the economy.

Count to 10 on November 29, 2012 at 8:57 PM

We have to take a hard look at all the bennies we offer the unproductive: The Tragedy of America’s Welfare State

The problem is due to the fact that eligibility for charitable programs does not look at other benefits the unproductive recipient might already be getting.

If work doesn’t pay, we can’t expect people to work.

slickwillie2001 on November 29, 2012 at 10:44 PM

One last thing..
Fiscal conservatives must use the only power they have; the Governors and Legislatures of the RED states.
They need to do large Tea Party like rallies in their state Capitols to entice the State powers to nullify the Feds encroachment on States rights under the 10th Ammendment.
The 20 or so RED states can exert a significant force on the Feds if they do so together.
War is coming…be prepared

dirtengineer on November 29, 2012 at 11:01 PM

I hope everyone has thick skin and a strong stomach because every single news outlet on the planet is gonna blame republican obstructionism for this every hour of every day for years and most of the already braindead public is going to believe it for a long time and if ANY party gets a fresh base and look it’ll probably be a third party..
I think it’s a safer bet to hand it off and give ‘em the tax on the upper tier for now and let them hold the bomb while it explodes. Takes longer but it’ll bury the democrats (and socialists) for decades, maybe even permanently instead of us……

Tim Zank on November 29, 2012 at 11:14 PM

what a perfect way to lower revenues to the behemoth.

tom daschle concerned on November 29, 2012 at 11:20 PM

It looks like it will be an interesting Inaugural Ball. Dancing while the US burns.

HellCat on November 29, 2012 at 11:33 PM

Let it all burn to the frickin ground. Let’s rebuild from the ashes.

tkyang99 on November 30, 2012 at 12:14 AM

None of those who voted for Obama are going to believe anything until there’s pain and they see the government begin to confiscate wealth and property. Welcome to El Presidente Obama’s Amerzuela!

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on November 30, 2012 at 7:08 AM

It’s pandering to these people that loses the GOP elections.

ernesto on November 29, 2012 at 9:56 PM

What’s 2 trillion minus 80 billion?

That’s what you and your party call ‘fixing the problem.’

We don’t need lectures from people who ignore math.

Good Lt on November 30, 2012 at 7:24 AM

For anyone interested in how a trip over the “cliff” will affect their personal taxes the following URL provides a good estimate. This of course is but a small fraction of the total pain package.

http://calculator.taxpolicycenter.org

rplat on November 30, 2012 at 8:02 AM

This isn’t a true “let it burn” plan. “Let it burn” calls for giving Obama whatever he wants so that he can’t blame Republicans for anything that happens later.

So the choice is either cave and give Der Fuhrer Dear Leader his “enabling act” or give him the financial disaster he otherwise wants and plans to blame on the Jews GOP. The first option is not the “let it burn” option. It is surrender to a wannabe dictator.

Given the two choices the only sane choice is the second, as it is the only one of the two that enables continuing the fight against the wannabe dictator.

Call Comrade Chairman Obama’s bluff. And if it’s not a bluff, let him go to the people demanding dictatorial power. Let him try to convince them to go give it to him in 2014.

farsighted on November 30, 2012 at 8:17 AM

Why do you keep blaming the public. Most of the public, like Will Rogers, only know something by what they “read in the newspapers”. (read TV, Radio, Internet, etc.) The real culprits are the controllers of all the above news diseminators. To paraphrase Frank LLoyd Wright, “What this country needs is 500 first class MSM funerals.”

Old Country Boy on November 30, 2012 at 8:38 AM

I honestly don’t care anymore. I think taxes should be raised for everyone. Until everyone shares in the pain, this country will not understand the damage that’s been done. Let it burn.

Sorry, kids.

COgirl on November 30, 2012 at 11:12 AM

Here’s a variation on it from Jim Geraghty

I saw this on Ace and I have to say, of all the LIB explanations, this one is the best. But once again, it’s going to require the GOP to be on a singular message that is shouted every time they are in front of a camera. When taxes go up on everyone, say:

“This, America, is how expensive your entitlement society is. This is how much it costs. This is why it’s bigger than the eat-the-rich crowd would have you believe. And this is how bad it’s going to continue to be for your children and grand children. This is why it’s about government spending and not revenue/taxes.”

something like that. Everyone needs to feel the pain of the costs of “entitlements”.

Weight of Glory on November 29, 2012 at 8:08 PM

Fundamentally, this will have to be done no matter what approach the GOP takes. The battle can only be won in the public arena by staking out a reasonable position and giving your side of it over and over and over again.

tom on November 30, 2012 at 12:38 PM

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