The fiscal cliff – and the hullabaloo surrounding it — is a curious phenomenon. It has been over 3 years since Harry Reid’s Senate passed a budget. The U.S. federal government is over $16 trillion in debt. And Uncle Sam is borrowing 1 out of every 3 dollars he spends.
If there is a “fiscal cliff,” our federal government drove off the edge of it about ten trillion dollars ago.
And yet we’re being told another recession looms unless
we avoid automatic tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled for Jan. 1. So
powerful insiders are negotiating a “bipartisan deal” behind closed
doors to give us … tax hikes and spending cuts. What’s the difference?
“shared sacrifice” means everyone must sacrifice except the government.
History has shown that in these bipartisan “deficit-reduction deals,”
the tax hikes are immediate while the spending cuts are promised – yet
In the last such “deal” in 2011, taxpayers were cornered into raising
the debt ceiling by $2 trillion while a so-called super committee was
created to find $1.2 trillion in cuts over ten years. If the super
committee failed to agree on where the cuts would be made,
across-the-board cuts would kick in.
These promised “cuts,” by the way, are not actual budget cuts but
rather projected reductions in a constantly growing baseline of federal
spending. Even so, the super committee failed. Now the automatic “cuts”
are at hand.
This is no time to get cold feet.
Congress made a promise to the American people to produce those
savings. Now, some members of Congress are concerned the sequester’s
defense savings are too deep. But that’s not a good reason to “call the
whole sequester off.” Rather, it’s a reason to come up with a new mix of
defense and non-defense savings by Jan. 1. The overall level of savings is a promise to taxpayers that must be kept.
Fiscal conservatives must draw a line in the sand. The nation’s most
senior military officer, Adm. Mike Mulligan, has identified our nation’s
biggest threat as … our national debt. The only thing worse than
cutting national defense is not cutting spending at all.
Spending reduction is just one aspect of this debate. Genuine tax and
entitlement reforms are also imperative, if we’re to avoid another
economically damaging downgrade in Uncle Sam’s credit. Taxpayers deserve
better than hurried Washington insiders behind closed doors tweaking
the minutiae of our tangled labyrinth of a tax code.
Raising marginal tax rates, as Democrats want to do, will slow
economic growth and kill jobs. Instead, we should close the existing
loopholes in the tax system that give special deals to connected
Washington insiders and move towards a flatter, fairer tax code that
treats all Americans equally.
Reforming the tax code and big entitlements can’t be done in a couple
of weeks. With these kinds of programs, the details are everything.
Only specific changes to the law can actually drive the numbers to
produce genuine savings — not vague promises of future “reforms.” Such
changes take time.
Congress should do as it did after the 2010 elections, and pass an
extension of all current tax rates, not just those on people making less
than a certain amount. This would afford all parties—and the American
people—time to develop the fundamental tax and entitlement reforms we
This is why FreedomWorks has activated its grassroots members to call
Congress with a two-part message. 1) Keep your promise on the sequester
savings. 2) Pass a one-year extension of all current tax rates, so America has time to pass serious tax and entitlement reforms.
By the way, there is some good news hiding in all the dust of the
“fiscal cliff” fracas. The coalition of committed fiscal conservatives
in Congress has grown in the past two elections. Constitutional
conservatives in the House held on to the historic gains of 2010, while
the Senate just picked up three principled fiscal conservatives in Ted
Cruz, Jeff Flake, and Deb Fischer to replace GOP establishment types Kay
Bailey Hutchison, Jon Kyl, and Olympia Snowe.
This new generation of legislative entrepreneurs is re-populating
Washington with innovative energy. Expect these principled leaders to
put real specifics on the table, craft thoughtful budget solutions, and
carve pathways to needed tax and entitlement reforms next year – all
things Senate Democrats haven’t seen fit to do for the past 3 years.
Fiscal conservatives are once again at the table, but we won’t
bargain with ourselves against an arbitrary deadline. Your move, Harry