Turbo Tax Tim made an appearance at the so-called fiscal cliff negotiations today to communicate Obama’s fiscal plan. His plan: raise taxes on those evil millionaires (defined as anyone making more than $200,000), an elimination of the debt ceiling, and an increase in spending via more of Obama’s stimulus schemes. Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell was
not amused, via the Weekly Standard:
Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, says he “burst into laughter” Thursday when Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner outlined the administration proposal for averting the fiscal cliff. He wasn’t trying to embarrass Geithner, McConnell says, only responding candidly to his one-sided plan, explicit on tax increases, vague on spending cuts.
Geithner’s visit to his office left McConnell discouraged about reaching a “balanced” deal on tax hikes and spending reductions designed to prevent a shock to the economy in January. “Nothing good is happening” in the negotiations, McConnell says, because of Obama’s insistence on tax rate hikes for the wealthy but unwillingness to embrace serious spending cuts.
Geithner suggested $1.6 trillion in tax increases, McConnell says, but showed “minimal or no interest” in spending cuts. When congressional leaders went to the White House three days after the election, Obama talked of possible curbs on the explosive growth of food stamps and Social Security disability payments. But since Geithner didn’t mention them, those reductions appear to be off the table now, McConnell says.
Indeed Senate Democrats have now taken entitlements off the table. Think about that. The overwhelming driver of the nation’s unsustainable debt is out-of-control entitlement spending, and Democrats don’t think entitlements should be part of negotiations to avert a fiscal apocalypse. Even if Republicans cave on tax rates, the additional revenue generated, if any, will be a tiny drop in a very large bucket. More likely, it will slow the economy or throw it back into recession, and the government will collect less revenue than before. Even if Obama confiscates all income above $200,000, the nation’s fiscal path won’t appreciably change absent structural entitlement reforms. But Obama has made clear that isn’t going to happen, and entitlement spending — along with the national debt — will continue accelerating. In February Geithner all but told Paul Ryan that Obama has no plan or inclination to address the upcoming fiscal crisis that will bury this nation in catastrophic debt.
We’re in good hands, folks. I’m beginning to wonder if people like Rush Limbaugh, David Harsanyi, and Charles Krauthammer are right. Maybe the Republicans should simply walk away and let Obama and his party own the fiscal disaster they’re creating. Realistically the Republicans can’t stop him, so why should they work with him, get their fingerprints on the "plan", and be forced to share the blame for the fiscal disaster Obama’s speeding us toward? Unfortunately, I doubt Boehner, McConnell, and company have the, er, cojones to do it.
Update: Here’s video of Krauthammer describing Turbo Tax Tim’s offer and what Republicans should do.