Beware The Lame Duck
July 19, 2010 by Bob Livingston
Faced with mounting criticism over his handling of the Federal debt, President Barack Obama did what every brave elitist of the elected class has done before him: he appointed a commission.
Commissions, you see, give the brave elected class cover to do the “hard work.” No, not raising taxes and cutting spending. That’s easy for them. The hard work is in justifying the increased taxes listening to what they see as a sniveling constituency unhappy that they just lost more of their money and freedom at the hands of a fascist regime.
If the appointed commission—which surely has only the best interests of the country in mind—says that taxes need to be raised then so be it, Congress can say, we had no choice, the commission made us do it. End of story.
So the elitist fascist president took two elitist fascists from the political class, told them to assemble a group of like-minded individuals and charged them with coming up with a plan to reduce the total Federal debt, which is expected to exceed $14 trillion—$14,000,000,000,000—next year. That equals to about $47,000 for each resident of the United States.
The co-chairs of the national debt commission are Democrat Erskine Bowles and Republican Alan Simpson. They were chosen—one representing each of the two main political parties—to give the commission an air of bipartisanship.
Bowles sports an MBA from Columbia Business School and had a career as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley before he became involved in Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. Clinton rewarded Bowles by appointing him to head up the Small Business Administration and later naming him deputy chief of staff.
Bowles left the Clinton administration to found his own investment bank but was later called back to work for “Slick Willy” as chief of staff in late 1996. In 1997 he worked on Clinton’s behalf to craft a balanced budget bill along with the Republican majority.
Since then Bowles failed in his two attempts to win a Senate seat in North Carolina and then served as president of the University of North Carolina system for four and half years before retiring in February.
Simpson, on the other hand, sports a law degree he obtained from the University of Wyoming and is a career politician. He spent 13 years in the Wyoming House of Representatives before his election to the U.S. Senate in 1978, where he served until his retirement 1996. Since then he has taught politics at places like the John F. Kennedy School of Government and has made a career of poking fun at himself and other politicians on the talk show circuit.
His claim to fame was serving as GOP whip in 1990 where he helped round up votes to raise taxes for George H.W. Bush’s budget bill that broke the 41st President’s “Read my lips. No new taxes” pledge.
In other words, both Bowles and Simpson are of government and from government and any solutions their commission reaches will benefit government. As Bowles said after being appointed, “the president looked Senator Simpson and me in the eye and he said, ‘Everything is on the table.’ So we are going to look at every single way to right this fiscal ship.”
That includes cutting “sacred cows” and raising revenue, Bowles said. Everything is on the table, including a value-added tax (VAT), letting the Bush tax cuts expire (which it appears Democrats intend to do), raising other taxes (elitists call them revenue enhancements), plundering the retirement funds of individuals and cutting entitlements (though the prospect of this, on the heals of the rammed-through passage of Obamacare, is laughable).
And what exactly are some of the solutions being bandied about to solve the debt crisis? Instituting a VAT is one key component being considered. A VAT adds a tax to a product on all levels of production. It would reap billions for the government but would devastate the economy and increase the cost of all goods and services and disproportionally affect the poor.
It would also break Obama’s pledge not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000; er, $225,000; er, $200,000; or whatever the Obama truth happens to be today. Of course, what’s one more broken Obama pledge? For Democrats, history starts today.
Raising taxes on corporations is another solution under consideration. Those who don’t understand the way the world works, who fail to understand that businesses don’t really pay taxes, love the idea of corporations paying higher taxes.
But in the end, corporations don’t pay taxes. Their taxes are figured into the costs of doing business and are passed along to the consumer in the form of higher prices. No matter what, businesses must maintain a certain profit margin or they will eventually fail.
But regardless of whether the taxes are paid by businesses or people, raising taxes in a depressed economy is a bad idea. More and more economists are already predicting a double-dip recession, and some are forecasting a drop in the Dow of 40 percent to 50 percent within the next year—a prospect that seems more and more likely by the day.
Coincidentally, the commission is supposed to have its report on Obama’s desk by Dec. 1. That would give Congress a few weeks to ram the commission’s recommendations through before the new Congress takes over in January—during a lame duck session.
And that prospect is on the agenda, according to Senator Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), president of the Senate Budget Committee.
In fact, as The Wall Street Journal’s John Fund wrote July 9, Democrat party leaders are acknowledging they are poised to lose the House of Representatives and realize their hold on the Senate will be tenuous at best. So they are holding off passing some major legislation before the election that they think they can ram through in a lame duck session after the Nov. 6 election.
“I’ve got a lot of things I want to do” in a lame duck session, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) told reporters in June. And all of them are bad for Americans.
Among them are card check (which would change how unions are allowed to organize workers and effectively end private voting on unionization), a Cap and Trade energy bill or something similar to provide a sop for the environmentalists (more taxes and higher energy bills), ratification of a New Start nuclear treaty, a Federally mandated universal voter registration system and a budget resolution to lock in increased agency spending.
And, Fund writes, then there is pork. Senate aides say that with some of the biggest porkers of all leaving office—Senators Arlen Spector (R to D-Pa.) and Robert Bennett (R-Utah) among them—it would be their last chance to feed at the trough.
In other words, the Democrats are planning a “stick-it-to-the-little-people” session to get back at the Tea Partiers and others who have decided they’ve had enough and are ready to vote the fascist elitists out of office. They’re saying, essentially, “I don’t care what you want (smaller government, less spending, lower taxes). It’s what we want (more money and power) that counts.”
But isn’t that what they said last spring when they passed Obamacare over the objections of as much as 60 percent of the electorate?
Many voters have been saying that the people will be able to right the ship of state come November. But if that happens, Democrats have made it clear they plan to poke the electorate in the eye with a sharp stick, and then pass legislation mandating you thank them for the poke.