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We Had an Election . . . Remember?

12-11-10 by Dave Thompson
President Barack Obama and Congressional Republicans recently worked out a deal to extend the "Bush tax cuts." Ironically, this sweet deal for Democrats has gotten President Obama in trouble with his own Party. Speaker Nancy Pelosi might not bring the bill to the House floor. But it is conservatives who should be angered over this "compromise."

The tentative deal provides for a two-year extension of the so-called "Bush tax cuts", along with some favorable modifications to the estate tax (often referred to as the "death tax"). In exchange, the Republicans agreed to a thirteen-month extension of unemployment benefits, among other things. One of those "other things" is continuation of the biofuels subsidy.

On November 2nd, the voters sent a clear message: stop the spending already. Less than six weeks after the election, the Congressional Republican leadership has gone right back to the old playbook. They are "compromising" and giving in on bad policies when they don't need to do so.

Extending unemployment benefits is a terrible idea. Let's see... we really want people to go to work... so I think we'll continue to pay them not to work. Brilliant! And of course the unemployment benefit extension will add over $56 billion to the national debt. But never mind. Concern about the national debt was for last week's news cycle.

We all understand the need for compromise. Otto von Bismarck said, "Politics is the art of the possible." However, the American people are troubled when politicians make unnecessary concessions on important issues. Every reasonable analyst agrees that we should not raise taxes. The President's own economic advisor, Larry Summers, admits that raising taxes now puts America at risk of a double-dip recession. In fact he goes a step further and states that the increased economic activity resulting from the lower tax rates will mean no addition to the national debt. Son of a gun: Obama's right hand man is a supply-sider. Who'd a thunk it? Arthur Laffer gets the last laugh!

This is the time to force the Democrats' hand. Let Congress adjourn for the year without a tax deal. In January, have the new House majority put a clean bill in front of the Senate and the President, addressing only an extension of the current income tax rates. The Senate will pass it and the President will sign it. They will have no choice practically or politically.

Democrats supposedly haven't grasped the message sent last November. Seems to me the Republicans are equally unaware.

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