I was watching “The Rock” the other day. You know…the movie where some Marines take over the prison on Alcatraz Island, and threaten to fire some missiles at San Francisco if they don’t get money for Veterans or something. And the missiles have some chemicals in them that are so dangerous that the Feds need to bring in Stanley Goodspeed, aka, Nicholas “Most Dramatic Actor Ever” Cage.
So, the entirety of the movie was about Cage and Sean Connery trying to stop the Marines before they could launch the missiles. The Marines’ plan, of course, was entirely dependent upon the govt. believing they would kill everyone with the rockets if they didn’t get the money. As I’m sure you remember though, Ed Harris wasn’t about to kill 80,000 innocent people, which resulted in everybody shooting each other and Goodspeed ultimately marrying his baby mama.
While watching The Rock, I thought of the Republicans in the House, as they figured out how to screw up the whole Fiscal Cliff thing. The Senate, to no one’s great surprise, passed a bill that raised taxes on anyone earning over $450,000, while not cutting any spending. Would the Republicans in the House fall into line, or would they do their job and vote down the bill? Well, like Ed Harris, too many on the right weren’t willing to blow up a few San Franciscans with chemical weapons. See, a threat of force is only as useful as one’s willingness to use it. The Republicans could have taken a stand against more taxes, more debt, and more unemployment, but instead many, including Speaker Boehner, folded.
Some will say “but Nash, it isn’t that bad. The bill makes the Bush tax rates for everyone earning under $450,000 permanent.” Sigh. It’s only as permanent as the next bill that raises taxes on everyone. Also, the legislation contains no cuts, and allows everyone’s payroll taxes to increase. In other words, the law sucks. In fact, it sucks to badly, that the only complaint the Dems could come up with was that it only taxed estates worth over $5 million. That’s it.
How does this legislation make me feel? Much like how Nicholas Cage feels about bees.
Angry. And fearful. With a side anaphylaxis.
We here at Why Not Nashville? like to look at proposed legislation and ask “why?” Too often our leaders propose legislation simply to say they did something and hope their constituents are satisfied, even if said legislation will have virtually no positive impact. For example, the whole thing about banning assault rifles. Why? What’s the benefit? It isn’t going to do anything about the rifles that are already out there, it probably wouldn’t have stopped the Connecticut shooting from happening, and it isn’t going to do anything about the primary weapon used for shootings, the semi-automatic handgun (which we have a Constitutional Right to own). Moreover, gun laws don’t keep guns out of the hands of criminals anyway. In other words, banning assault rifles would have no impact, other than to advance the agenda of the anti-gun left. Not much of a reason if you ask me.
The fiscal cliff debate is another such example, although its assumed outcome will have a far more practical effect than simply lessening our liberties. It should be rather obvious to everyone that Barry wants us to go over the proverbial fiscal cliff. How do we know this? House Speaker John Boehner was actually going to give Barry what he allegedly wanted: a bill that would permanently fix tax rates for the overwhelming majority of Americans, while ultimately allowing the rates on rich people to go up on January 1. The conservatives in the House shot this possibility down last night, but Barry had already stated he was going to veto such a bill. Why would he want to do that? Because he wants to raise taxes on the top 2%, while Boehner’s bill would only have raised taxes on approximately the top .9%. But why does Barry want so desperately to raise taxes on the top 2%? Even the left agrees raising taxes on the top 2% will negatively impact small business. They also agree it would retard the already tepid economic growth we’re experiencing. Crap, Barry’s even asking for stimulus money to try and offset the negative impact of the tax hike. Finally, the tax hike will do virtually nothing to our long term debt and deficits. In other words, it’s being pushed only to advance the left’s “pro-middle-class” agenda. It has nothing to do with improving anything, however, which is why I’m glad the “Tea Party” members of the House shot Boehner’s proposal down.
Poorly thought-out, agenda-driven legislation is a bad idea. Want proof? Let’s look at budgetary black-hole California, where major cities are going bankrupt, and the Dems running the state have absolutely no idea what they’re doing because their ideology doesn’t match up with reality. As you may or may not know, Californians voted to raise the state sales tax and to raise state income taxes on “wealthy” people. The presumed purpose of the proposition was to reduce California’s massive debt. Contrary to popular belief, however, raising taxes doesn’t always result in raising revenues, especially when the people you’re raising taxes on are already paying more than they should be, and have the resources to flee to greener pastures.
According to the report, personal income tax revenues were ‘$827 million below the month’s forecast of $4.387 billion.’ Sales and use tax receipts ‘were $9 million below the month’s forecast of $1.601 billion’ and the year-to-date sales tax revenue was $8 million below forecast.
Not surprisingly, corporate tax revenues were also down, $175 million below the month’s estimate and year-to-date corporate tax revenues were $441 below estimate.
It’s examples like this that convince me we won’t actually begin solving our fiscal problems until we hit rock bottom. After all, it wasn’t the California state govt. that voted to raise taxes; it was the friggin’ people. In other words, there is a large group of people out there who believe we should be raising taxes, despite the ample evidence that doing so will actually make things worse. Maybe it will take another round of massive lay-offs and a recession to wake people up. Maybe even that won’t be enough. The older I get the more convinced I am that there are huge swaths of unemployed people that, despite their protestations to the contrary, are perfectly happy living in card board boxes as long as they have cable, cigarettes, and Wild Turkey. I don’t get it, but it’s clear that I’m in the minority. At least there’s still a few House Republicans who refuse to vote for legislation that they know won’t work.
America just re-elected a guy who presided over four years of deficits exceeding a trillion dollars. That’s never happened before (the deficits I mean…we’ve re-elected presidents before). The White House believes it now has a mandate to raise taxes on the wealthy. The House of Representatives believes it has a mandate to keep that from happening. The Senate believes it has a mandate to never produce a budget, which it has failed to do for more than three years now. Is any of the foregoing true? Who knows. I have no confidence in most Americans knowing the difference between the debt and deficits, let alone ways to fix it.
The day after the election, House majority leader John Boehner said he was ready to talk to Barry about reducing our deficits. He said he was ready to put new revenue on the table through tax reform. Some of the more pathetic members of the Republican party have even agreed to increase taxes the wealthy, despite overwhelming proof that doing so will have virtually no impact on the deficit, while actually harming the economy. Barry’s response to Boehner:
President Barack Obama will begin budget negotiations with congressional leaders Friday by calling for $1.6 trillion in additional tax revenue over the next decade, far more than Republicans are likely to accept and double the $800 billion discussed in talks with GOP leaders during the summer of 2011.
$1.6 trillion. Where will that come from, you ask? Well, everyone agrees that eliminating the Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000, which is what everyone was arguing about during the debates, will only amount to $824 billion over ten years. While that’s certainly a lot of money, it’s only half of what Barry is looking for. Where’s the rest going to come from? Barry hasn’t told us that yet but I’ll be holding onto my wallet.
All of this is being discussed in an effort to avoid the upcoming “fiscal cliff.” The “cliff” refers to what our economy is set to figuratively fall off of on January 1 due to the expiration of all the Bush tax cuts, plus a crap-load of automatic spending cuts. In other words, taxes go up on everyone while spending goes down. You’ll hear the Dems argue that the Repubs are “holding America hostage for the sake of the rich.” You’ll hear some Repubs continue to say no to any new taxes, especially without significant entitlement reform, while some other Repubs will panic and say something like taxing the rich a little more won’t be the end of the America.
You know what gets lost in all of the “Bush tax cuts” argument? The reality that the “cuts” were to everyone’s taxes, and a whole bunch of people were removed from the tax rolls altogether. Fact is, our income tax system is more progressive now than it was thirty years ago. The problem, as we all know, isn’t our tax rates; it’s our spending problems. But hey, what do I know? I voted for the other guy.
So, given that America has re-elected Barry, and given that Barry and the Dems and their constituents want taxes raised on the wealthy, I say Congress should simply do nothing. “But that will cause our economy to go back into a recession and it will be terrible.” I say let it come. Our economy sucks. Unemployment sucks. Our debt and deficits suck. And you know what? The guy who was just re-elected doesn’t care. He has an agenda, and I say let him have it. You want to increase taxes on the wealthy? Screw that. I say raise taxes on everyone, and bring a whole bunch of people who voted for Barry back into the tax base. Is anyone really serious about spending cuts? Well, they’re coming up on January 1, 2013…$1 trillion of ’em.
As we speak, there are a surprisingly large number of people signing their names to petitions on the White House’s website, asking the feds to let their respective states secede from the union (the “surprising” part is that so many people are voluntarily giving the White House a reason to monitor their activities). The left will tell you they’re all just a bunch of bitter-clingers who hate Barry because he’s black. The reason the petitions were started is because many people see their country running down a path to insolvency and regular real unemployment being above 10% (it’s currently 14.6%), and they want off the train before it gets there. In other words, the country’s in distress and we don’t have a president who cares.
Despite what a majority of this country believes, money isn’t infinite, and companies aren’t charities. About 870,000 Ohio households just received proof of the former yesterday. Lots of people have been experiencing the latter for four years now. In other words, the people made their beds.
The federal government posted its largest monthly deficit in history in February ($223 billion). Libya’s crazy leader is ordering his military to kill civilians. Gas prices are closing in on $4.00/gallon. These are all important issues, no doubt. But what are some Democrats in the House most concerned about? That’s right: the dangers of styrofoam cups.
In a letter to Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) and other Republican leaders, the nine Democrats say the Styrofoam cups and other dining materials could hold chemical components that could cause cancer. The Democrats are upset with the switch to Styrofoam from recyclable materials put into place when Democrats ran the House.
This is doing the people’s business? Those quitters in the Wisconsin Senate are doing more to earn their tax dollars than are those House Democrats worrying about the cups they’re drinking from.
‘Eliminating polystyrene-related health impacts will result in fewer lost work days and lower heath insurance costs for the House and its staff,’ the lawmakers write. ‘This benefit alone should outweigh any cost savings from using polystyrene containers.’
I wonder if my church knows of the dangers inherent in styrofoam cups? What’s next? Raising concerns over the cholesterol content of ham buns?
Yes. I know it’s only nine members of the House. Yes. I know I’m painting the entire Democratic party with a broad brush. But these nine members are bringing home six figure salaries that are paid for with our taxes. Someone had to take the time to write this letter, right? Also, if you read the linked article, you’ll notice the letter has footnotes. So, not only did someone write a six paragraph-long letter about cups, someone researched it as well. For crying out loud, that’s like someone paying me to write this post. Ah, now you’re truly grasping the absurdity of this.
And no, I don’t think these nine representatives can multi-task. I don’t think they can consider solving our debt crisis while simultaneously living with the anxiety of drinking Hawaiian Punch out of cancer-causing styrofoam. As such, those representatives have two choices: either bring in their own cups or leave the House of Representatives. Either way, they owe us the money they were paid to complain about such ridiculous nonsense.