Why does the “Lucy move the football” reference apply to Republicans on the fiscal cliff?

I truly do wonder how smart our elected representatives are in Washington. I got up on 12-20-12 and read this article below from the Heritage Foundation with the reference to Charlie Brown getting fooled by Lucy again when he runs up and tries  to kick the football and of course she moves it again.

Liberals in Congress have always tried to fool conservatives by promising future cuts if they provide higher taxes now. (This article below appeared on www.heritage.org on 12-20-12.)

Obama’s “Lucy Move the Football” Fiscal Cliff Plan Still Not Balanced

Alison Acosta Fraser

December 18, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Volleys of negotiating counter-offers are coming in faster now that Christmas break and the looming fiscal cliff are just around the corner.

While there is much unsatisfactory with Speaker of the House John Boehner’s (R–OH) Sunday night proposal, let us not forget that the reason we are watching this needless, high stakes drama unfold is due to President Obama’s intractable insistence on tax increases on America’s high earners. After all, he and Congress could simply and quickly pass a bill to extend all current policies and avoid the fiscal cliff entirely—if he wanted to. No, this is really about hiking taxes on high earners. Thus the charade of deficit reduction continues.

Obama’s latest counteroffer is no more acceptable than his first offer. Short on details concerning actual spending reductions, especially on entitlements, it is replete with his requisite tax hikes and (we are shocked) new stimulus spending. The cherry on top is an extension of the debt limit for two years, essentially handing over authority to raise it to the President.

Right.

The President originally called for around $800 billion in tax hikes on America’s “highest” earners—those earning $250,000 and up. A ridiculous demand when the economy is still struggling under his big spending and regulatory policies, and one which would squarely hit smaller businesses. You know, the ones who actually create jobs.

Yet, just like Lucy and the football, when Boehner and company offered up $800 billion in tax hikes, Obama quickly doubled his demand to $1.5 trillion in tax hikes—again, all from the highest earners. They, he tells us, can afford to pay a little more. Never mind, of course, that the top 1 percent of earners already pay 37 percent of all income taxes. Somehow we are to believe this is a “balanced approach.”

Obama pitches all this on the pretext that we can simply go back to the tax rates we had under Clinton. Wrong! His dirty little tax secret is that he has already hiked taxes on high earners under Obamacare. First the law added a surtax of 0.9 percent in addition to the Medicare payroll tax on those earning over $250,000. For the first time ever, Obamacare will apply this higher rate of 3.8 percent to investment income on January 1. Obama won’t tell you that going back to Clinton-era tax rates will actually result in higher taxes on wages, dividends, and capital gains.

They say if you want less of something, then tax it. For Obama, this works fine on financial transactions, carbon emissions, driving, and junk food. But evidently, for him, not so much on a strong vibrant economy. And those Clinton boom years? They weren’t ushered in after the Clinton tax hikeonly after the Clinton–Gingrich tax cut!

Rather than working with Republicans on tax proposals that will actually grow the economy, Obama is now simply fighting over his definition of “high income” while we are left to wonder how much this $1.2 trillion tax hike will slow the economy.

As for the $1.2 trillion spending reductions, the only reason they are there is because Boehner insisted on them. But $100 billion in cuts would whack the defense budget, which is already reeling from earlier budget cuts. Yet the real spending and debt crisis comes from unaffordable entitlement programs. While Obama is insisting on balance on the tax side, he is sorely lacking in leadership here. As a recent Washington Post editorial opined:

Elections do have consequences, and Mr. Obama ran on a clear platform of increasing taxes on the wealthy. But he was clear on something else, too: Deficit reduction must be “balanced,” including spending cuts as well as tax increases. Since 60 percent of the federal budget goes to entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, there’s no way to achieve balance without slowing the rate of increase of those programs.

We know Obama is open to changing the inflation calculation and slowing the benefit growth in Social Security. But what else? What about the proposals in his own budget, which would increase premiums on Medicare? He could easily broaden his proposals with additional uncontroversial steps to begin the process of strengthening and reining in Social Security and Medicare. All he needs to do is lead.

Some polls may show that Americans think taxes should be part of a deficit deal; but what the polls do not always show is their utter distrust that Washington would use new revenues to actually reduce the deficit. Here, Obama does not let them down. He reportedly wants $80 billion in new spending on infrastructure and unemployment benefits.

In exchange for all of this, he wants to raise the debt limit by enough to fuel his big spending goals for two years. This is utterly unacceptable. Americans know you cannot reduce the deficit when you plan to actually spend more. Americans also know that when Washington lifts the debt limit, it will not control spending. The debt limit puts the very pressure lawmakers need to account for out-of-control spending and make vital course corrections to bring spending under control, lest we face a Euro-style debt crisis in the future.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is actually insisting that “[t]he President’s proposal is the only proposal we have seen that achieves the balance that is so necessary.” Balance, evidently, is in the eyes of the beholder. As the Post noted, 60 percent of the budget stems from entitlements.

In just 13 short years—by the time today’s kindergarteners enter college—entitlements and interest on the debt will eat up all tax revenues. A truly balanced approach must start where the problem starts—with substantive reforms to entitlements. While the President maintains that you cannot cut your way to prosperity, you certainly cannot tax your way there.

_______________

Below is a speech by George W. Bush honoring Milton Friedman:

Milton Friedman Honored for Lifetime Achievements 2002/5/9

Milton Friedman said that getting George Bush I to be his vice president was his biggest mistake because he knew that Bush was not a true conservative and sure enough George Bush did raise taxes when he later became President. I wonder if Jeb Bush has the same genes as his father.

What we need is some people in Washington that are brave enough to say that we have taken too much of the american people’s money and we have to make the painful spending cuts in order to balance the budget and not ask for any more tax increases!!!! Arkansas’ congressman Rick Crawford has also made the Charlie Brown mistake but he has backed off it since.

Even though America’s fiscal problem is entirely the result of too much government spending, I wrote earlier this year that there were all sorts of scenarios where I would agree to a tax increase.

But I then pointed out that all of those scenarios were total fantasies and that it would be more realistic to envision me playing center field for the New York Yankees.

The fundamental problem is that politicians never follow through on promises to reduce spending – even if you use the dishonest Washington definition that a spending cut occurs whenever the budget doesn’t rise as fast as previously planned.

And to make matters worse, they always seem to want class-warfare tax hikes that do heavy economic damage rather than the loophole closers that at least get rid of some of the inefficient corruption in the tax code.

That’s why I like the anti-tax pledge of Americans for Tax Reform. You don’t solve America’s fiscal problems by saying no to all tax increases, but at least you don’t move in the wrong direction at a faster rate.

Notwithstanding the principled and pragmatic arguments against putting tax increases on the table, some Republicans – in a triumph of hope over experience – are preemptively acquiescing to tax hikes.

Here’s what Jeb Bush said.

Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, said Friday that he could back a broad deficit plan that increased taxes, a stance that puts him at odds with other prominent Republicans. Bush told a House panel he could get behind a plan that combined 10 dollars in spending cuts for every dollar of new revenue… “The problem is the 10 never materializes,” [Congressman Paul] Ryan said after Bush said he could support a revenue-increasing deficit deal. Norquist also has criticized deficit deals crafted in 1982 and 1990 – the latter agreed to by then-President George H.W. Bush, Jeb’s father – for failing to deliver on the spending side.

Kudos to Paul Ryan for making the obvious point about make-believe spending cuts. And Grover is correct about the failure of previous budget deals.

Indeed, I cited a New York Times column that inadvertently revealed that the only budget deal that worked was the 1997 pact that cut taxes rather than raised them.

Jeb Bush isn’t the only apostate. Here’s what Senator Graham had to say.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Tuesday he believed Republicans should consider eliminating loopholes in the tax code even if they aren’t replaced by additional tax cuts, a move that would break with an anti-tax pledge many GOP lawmakers have signed with activist Grover Norquist. “When you eliminate a deduction, it’s OK with me to use some of that money to get us out of debt. That’s where I disagree with the pledge,” Graham told ABC News. …”I’m willing to move my party, or try to, on the tax issue. I need someone on the Democratic side being willing to move their party on structural changes to entitlements.” Graham said, for instance, he would support a plan that included $4 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases. During a Republican debate last August, all eight Republican candidates in attendance said they would reject a proposal to trade $10 in spending cuts for even $1 in tax increases.

In some sense, Senator Graham’s comments are reasonable. With real spending cuts and less-damaging forms of tax hikes, an acceptable deal is possible. But only in Fantasia, not in Washington.

In the real world, all that Senator Graham has done is to move the debate slightly to the left.

I’ve noted that tax increases are political poison for the Republican Party, but I don’t lose sleep worrying about the GOP.

But I do have nightmares about government getting even bigger, and that’s why I don’t want tax increases on the table. I don’t even want them in the room. Or the house. Or the neighborhood.

That’s why Jeb Bush and Lindsey Graham are the newest winners of the Charlie Brown Award. They’ve put blood in the water. I wonder if they’ll act surprised when hungry sharks show up looking for a meal?

_____________

In 1982 the Democrats promised future spending cuts if Ronald Reagan would agree to a tax increase, but you guessed it, the taxes were increased and the spending cuts never came. THE REAL PROBLEM IS NOT THAT WE DON’T HAVE ENOUGH TAXES BUT WE DON’T WANT TO CUT SPENDING!!!

Washington Could Learn a Lot from a Drug Addict

Concerning spending cuts Reagan believed, that members of Congress “wouldn’t lie to him when he should have known better.” However, can you believe a drug addict when he tells you he is not ever going to do his habit again? Congress is addicted to spending too much money.  Lee Edwards wrote in his article “Golden Years” about Ronald Reagan:

Sometimes Reagan went along with a pragamatist like chief of staff James Baker, who persuaded the president to accept the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 (TEFRA), which turned out to be the great tax increase of 1982 — $98 billion over the next three years. That was too much for eighty-nine House Republicans (including second-term Congressman Newt Gingrich of Georgia) or for prominent conservative organizations from the American Conservative Union like the Conservative Caucus and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which all opposed the measure.

Baker assured his boss that Congress would approve three dollars in spending cuts for every dollar of tax increase. To Reagan, TEFRA looked like a pretty good “70 percent” deal. But Congress wound up cutting less than twenty-seven cents for every new tax dollar. What had seemed to be an acceptable 70-30 compromise turned out to be a 30-70 surrender. Ed Meese described TEFRA as “the greatest domestic error of the Reagan administration,” although it did leave untouched the individual tax rate reductions approved the previous year. (TEFRA was built on a series of business and excise taxes plus the removal of business tax deductions.)[xxx]

The basic problem was that Reagan believed, as Lyn Nofziger put it, that members of Congress “wouldn’t lie to him when he should have known better.”[xxxi] As a result of TEFRA, Reagan learned to “trust but verify,” whether he was dealing with a Speaker of the House or a president of the Soviet Union.

_________

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