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The congressional supercommittee tasked with cutting the debt is almost out of time. Good. Run out the clock. If its members do not come to an agreement, we’ll be forced to accept automatic across-the-board cuts to spending – including defense spending. That’s exactly what America needs.
But our GOP friends, the ones who supposedly are defending capitalism from President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, are scared. They are shaking in their boots at the reality of across-the-board spending cuts. Despite all their bold talk about cutting spending, they lack the courage actually to do it.
Instead of running out the clock until we get those needed spending cuts, the Republicans made an offer to Democrats that doubled down on every mistake ever made by naive small-government negotiators. They offered to sell out every small-business owner, homeowner and GOP contributor in America. They agreed with Mr. Obama’s philosophy of punishing successful Americans for their hard work, sacrifice and financial risk-taking.
Supercommittee Republicans offered a deal to Democrats that includes almost equal dollars of spending cuts and tax increases. Guess where all the tax increases are aimed? At wealthy taxpayers. Even as GOP presidential contenders make dubious promises to our faces during televised debates, all agreeing they would not accept a deal of even 10-to-1 spending cuts to tax increases, GOP supercommittee members are attempting to sell out the entire conservative base for much, much less.
That is the reason I left the GOP during the Bush reign. Too many Republicans talk a good Tea Party game about smaller government, tax cuts and spending cuts, but as far as actually carrying it out? Not so much. Here is their chance to force automatic spending cuts across the board, but they can’t do it.
How quickly they forget history. Ronald Reagan is the all-time GOP hero. Yet even he fell victim to Democrats’ lies about spending cuts. Reagan raised taxes in return for vague promises of future spending cuts, then got nothing in return. There were no cuts in spending, only massive increases. Worse, Democrats use Reagan’s deal to malign him forever and paint him as a “tax raiser.” George H. W. Bush followed Reagan and made the exact same deal – and he was destroyed for it. He raised taxes in return for spending cuts that never happened. Once again, he was painted as a “tax raiser.” No conservative can ever win by raising taxes.
It is hard to understand how any Republican wouldn’t grasp this. Do Republicans not realize that their only edge for winning next November is to stand firm against any tax increases? Do they not realize that the “enthusiasm gap” in favor of Republicans is as large as the Grand Canyon? Why? Because of the Tea Party and the excitement of conservative anti-tax activists. If the GOP members of the supercommittee vote not only for “revenue increases” but for increases designed as punishment for wealthy taxpayers, the enthusiasm gap is gone. They’ve signed on to Mr. Obama’s philosophy with this deal. The difference between Republicans and Democrats is nullified. That is how you lose “can’t lose” elections.
Any loss of deductions is, in effect, a tax increase. It’s like Bill Clinton debating over the meaning of the word “is.” If you take away our deductions, you are dramatically raising our taxes. Take away the home-mortgage interest deduction, and you are condemning millions of small-business owners to losing their already underwater homes. The GOP will deliver the final blow to the housing market with an instant decline in real estate prices. By taking away our charitable deductions, you are damaging charities and churches beyond repair. By limiting the deductions of upper-income taxpayers, you are punishing your own supporters and contributors – exactly what Mr. Obama wants you to do.
Republicans will say they are limiting deductions in return for a flatter tax rate. Really? The last time I checked, the most successful economy in the world, Hong Kong, had a 16 percent flat rate that included deductions for mortgage interest and charity. Does the GOP think it’s a great deal to lower rates to 28 percent (almost double Hong Kong’s) but give away most deductions?
What gives the GOP a right to do that? Has there been a national debate or discussion about this offer?
Have you thought about the implications of this deal? First, you will lose millions of votes from homeowners, churchgoers and small-business owners crushed and angry at your betrayal. Second, you’re playing on Mr. Obama’s field. Why is the cut aimed only at successful taxpayers – those who already pay almost all the taxes and bear almost all the burden? When you agree to aim limitations and punishment only at successful Americans, aren’t you a socialist, just like Mr. Obama? Third, this deal is Mr. Obama’s dream. Eliminate deductions forever, and eventually Democrats will raise rates right back up – but this time, with no protections for the business owners and job creators.
Here’s my message, from a Tea Party American and small-business job creator: Kill the deal. Run out the clock. Force the automatic spending cuts across the board. Or face the mutiny of your own strongest supporters and contributors. Standing tall against any tax increase is the only choice you have. Compromising with Mr. Obama to wreck the finances of your own supporters is only going to get you defeated, just like George H.W. Bush.
Wayne Allyn Root is a former Libertarian vice-presidential nominee and is chairman of the Libertarian National Congressional Committee. He is author of “The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution With God, Guns, Gold, Gambling & Tax Cuts” (Wiley, 2009). He writes at RootforAmerica.com.