Had I been a member of Congress, I would have voted against the fiscal cliff deal that passed the House earlier today. Given the current political environment, I could accept the higher taxes on the “wealthiest Americans”, had Democrats finally agreed to real spending cuts.
But, they haven’t; they’ve just kicked the can down the road. Democrats just aren’t willing to face the fiscal crisis facing our country, a fiscal crisis largely of their own creation. (Until the election of a Democratic Congress in 2006, deficits had been declining for three successive years–a fact of which many Americans, including a good number of Republicans, remain ignorant.)
I haven’t been following the debate as closely as I normally follow political issues because, well, I’m on vacation and would rather spend time with my family or read a book on Hawai’ian mythology than follow politics, especially given the media coverage of this issue.
President Barack Obama effectively took us to the cliff and many in the media are giving him a free pass. We are here because he and his Democrats ramped up spending in the first two years of his term when his party had large majorities in both houses of Congress and now are effectively asking Republicans to join them in paying for his spending spree.
And as they ramped up spending, Obama Democrats, to borrow an expression, gave us a vast expansion of the federal government they didn’t pay for.
Their fiscal irresponsibility notwithstanding, thanks in large part to the slanted coverage of the fiscal cliff negotiations — and to Speaker John Boehner’s reluctance to make the Republican case to the public — Democrats won this thing. And not just legislatively.
But, should Republicans play their cards right, it could well prove to be a Pyrrhic victory. In the 2012 election, Obama really only had one big issue which seemed to resonate with voters, that of raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. He no longer has that issue and he hasn’t even begun his second term.
In a great piece on the left and the cliff, Yuval Levin concludes with the crucial questions, “Now they have gotten their tax increase, and what has it gained them but the prospect of an even slower economy? What’s their game plan?”
Exactly. What is their plan? (more…)