As the U.S. Senate voted today to pass the “fiscal cliff” compromise bill negotiated between senate leadership and the White House, and the House debates the same, it becomes clear that the politics behind today's legislative action is what prevents the very solutions needed for the economic challenges the country currently faces. The voted early this morning, 89 votes in favor to 8 votes against, for a package that delays the budget-cutting sequestration process and essentially extends the Bush tax rates for those making up to $400,000 ($450,000 for join filers) in taxable income. Taxpayers above those rates will see some of their incomes taxes as high as 39.6 percent.
This compromise on just who to extend the Bush tax rates on comes from a process that involved Republicans who wanted to extend the tax rates on all income levels because they believe it's not good for the very weak economy to raise taxes on anyone, and Democrats who wanted the tax rates to go up on an increasing wider spectrum of taxpayers at the top levels, as low as just $250,000 for some. The resulting bill, which passed with bipartisan support in the Senate and appears headed for the same result in the House tonight, is quite likely the best that could be produced in our current political environment by our current politics.
But that doesn't mean our current politics isn't broken. It's very very broken. First, members of congress seem entirely unable to stop spending despite the fact that our current national debt is more than $16 trillion and growing and threatens to soon eclipse the size of the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the next few years at this rate of spending. That event could lead to further credit downgrades, making the economic crisis even worse in the present and the future as well.
The most sound advice on economics right now clearly suggests we do anything but raising taxes on anyone during this almost non-existent recovery from the Great Recession. Additionally, it would greatly benefit the economy and cause stronger job creation if current policy cut taxes beyond the Bush tax rates, giving real tax relief to all income levels across the board and balanced this with real reductions in federal spending. That mix of real tax cuts and reductions in spending is precisely what the economic doctor orders for this current economy. But that is as far away from what is politically possible in the current environment, primarily due to the class warfare campaign the far left has so successfully won.
The conservative side has clearly lost the debate, among the public, over class warfare, and the hard left has won. The left has succeeded in demonizing financial success as unearned wealth, achievement as unfairly earned advantage in a “rigged game” and has even made it clear that those who built businesses didn't actually build it when President Obama made those infamous comments in Roanoke, Virginia last summer, “if you have a business, you didn't build that...”
Conservatives can't convince the public of the necessity to defend the right of those in the upper income levels to earn their money and how lowering their taxes too benefits job creation because the hard left has been so successful in demonizing those upper income earners, the people we call the successful. Blinded by vicious class warfare rhetoric, and profoundly influenced by economic ignorance, the average middle class voters fails to see that the demonized wealthy and their investment income are the keys to creating better jobs and a stronger middle class economy for all who need a hand up and not a hand out in this high unemployment economy. The free market is the only social force that has lifted millions out of poverty and has created the largest middle class in any society or country. But most voters can't see that or understand that because success and the free market itself has been demonized by the far left.
As long as conservatives continue to lose this debate over class warfare, it will remain out of reach any possibility that the middle class, and those who strive to join the middle class, will support the kinds of economic policies needed to grow the middle class again. If this debate continues to be lost, we will be looking at disappointing politics in the future where our choices seem to be either defending some of the freedom we have against losing most of our freedom, and watching the other side gradually turn the ratchet against us, and against freedom, and in favor of ever growing big government. Losing this debate means looking at choices like those faced today. The best possible outcome of this political process, because of the conservative side having lost this debate, is one that involves only defending some of what has been gained in the past as choice that is better than losing all of it.
Coming soon: ConservativeReform.com the future of the conservative movement and victory in 2014 and 2016 for Republicans begins here.
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