Dear Georgia Republicans – specifically those who are currently elected to Congress.
None of us are really happy with the fiscal cliff deal. I’m guessing you probably aren’t either. We wanted a “grand bargain”. There’s nothing grand about this, really. We still have real problems to solve. But politically, we’re playing this one wrong.
For over 10 years we’ve heard the Democrats say that the Bush tax cuts weren’t helping the economy, hurt the economy, or only favored the rich.
Now, we have them demanding not only that we keep 99.1% of them, but that we make them permanent. In addition to locking in all but one income tax rate from the Bush package, we get a permanent fix to the Alternative Minimum Tax, A reduced rate in the estate tax plus a new $5 Million dollar threshold. Further, that threshold will be indexed to inflation – something that the far left is absolutely apoplectic about.
Instead of declaring this a victory in the battle that lower taxes and certainty of permanent tax rates spurs the economy, many of us have switched positions now that many Democrats are agreeing. Instead, Congressional Budget Office projections of $4 Trillion added to the 10 year debt are being used by many to torpedo this deal.
There was a time when Republicans argued that CBO’s static analysis can’t account for the growth from low taxes. Now, we have some who seem to be arguing that we need higher taxes across the board to decrease the deficit because of those same numbers. The inconsistency is palpable.
Yes, we wanted lower spending as part of this deal. There’s still a debt ceiling vote sometime in late February and a Continuing Resolution that must be passed in March. Republicans are in a better position to isolate the spending issue with lower permanent tax rates as an issue already solved.
The Bush Tax Cuts were ours. If we vote down the bill that keeps them permanent for 99.1% of Americans, then they are no longer a Republican position. It’s past time we figure out our messaging. This current flailing about isn’t helping that one bit.
Let’s suck it up, accept this is the best we could get given our position, and move on to articulating why certain programs need to be curtailed or eliminated. Declare victory on this battle and begin full engagement on the next one.