The Republican Surrender |
January 7, 2013
Party has capitulated to President Obama’s redistributionist tax agenda. Mr.
Obama has won a significant victory. He has broken Republican ranks and
effectively co-opted much of the
Party, especially House Speaker
John A. Boehner
and Senate Minority Leader
will rue the day.
Many House and Senate Republicans voted to pass the “fiscal cliff” legislation.
Mr. Obama got almost everything he wanted: a massive tax increase on households
earning more than $450,000 a year as well as major increases on capital gains,
dividends and estate taxes. It is the largest tax increase in more than 20
years. Its primary victims will be small businesses, investors and job creators.
The deal amounts to a
surrender. The Republicans violated their core principle of not raising taxes —
especially during a sluggish economic recovery. Moreover, the deal does nothing
to promote deficit reduction. In fact, it increases spending by more than $30
billion, with much of the money going to extend long-term unemployment benefits.
Hence, the GOP
caved on taxes while getting no real spending cuts. The result is that the
legislation will add another $4 trillion to our ballooning national debt.
The Republicans should be ashamed. They betrayed their fundamental principles
and their constituents in exchange for a hollow public relations victory.
may have saved his speakership, but the
GOP is a
fractured, demoralized party. He was elected as House speaker because of the
efforts of Tea Party
Republicans in the 2010 midterms. Their agenda was clear: hold the line on
taxes, spending and deficits. Instead, the
become complicit in passing Mr. Obama’s soak-the-rich, anti-business policies.
For Republicans, the deal is both bad policy and bad politics. The Obama tax
increases will cripple growth, undermine business investment and probably push
the sputtering economy into a double-dip recession. This will lead to higher
unemployment, economic sclerosis and even bigger deficits. Yet Mr. Obama and the
Democrats will not own the disastrous economic downturn. Republicans will be
blamed as well. Their fingerprints are all over the legislation. Rather than
running against the Obama recession and thereby setting up a potential huge
victory in 2014, the
lost its credibility as a low-tax, small-government party. No wonder
Republicans are enraged. Mr. Obama outmaneuvered both
deserves to retain his post.
The huge tax increase marks a watershed moment for the Obama presidency. The
president has achieved what he’s always wanted: the higher revenue stream needed
to fund his European-style entitlement state. In fact, he vows that more tax
hikes are coming. The reason is simple: European-level spending requires
European-level taxes. Mr. Obama’s welfare liberalism cannot be sustained without
deluded himself into believing he could craft a “grand bargain” with the
president. The House speaker has fundamentally misjudged Mr. Obama.
falsely thinks the president is a traditional Democrat. He isn’t. Mr. Obama is a
radical progressive who seeks to transform America into a secular social
democracy. He is not interested in slashing spending, balancing the budget or
reforming government. Instead, Mr. Obama wants only one thing: to expand the
federal Leviathan. According to his leftist view, soaring deficits are necessary
to dramatically boost spending and eventually compel higher taxes.
was wrong to think he could negotiate spending cuts or meaningful deficit
reduction with Mr. Obama.
Not every Republican voted for the deal. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Sen.
Mike Lee of Utah and
Sen. Marco Rubio
of Florida voted against it. One
Republican stood out in opposition to the bill: Kentucky
Sen. Rand Paul.
He vocally predicted the deal would add trillions to the debt, soak the rich and
entrench Mr. Obama’s class-warfare policies. Furthermore,
Mr. Paul warned
Republicans that breaking their pledge to not raise taxes would alienate the
conservative base. He is right.
Both Mr. Paul and
Mr. Rubio are
positioned to lead the
Rubio has consolidated his status as the Republican front-runner for the
2016 presidential nomination.
Mr. Paul is
emerging as the voice of the conservative opposition in Congress. He is the
modern equivalent of
Sen. Robert A. Taft,
the principled Ohio Republican who waged a frontal assault on the New Deal. Like
Mr. Paul believes
in limited government and restoring our constitutional republic. He is the
intellectual leader of the
Party is in tatters. It has been crushed by Mr. Obama’s ruthless political
machine. It is up to the
Tea Party to pick
up the pieces. Otherwise, nothing else stands in the way of Mr. Obama.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist and editorial writer at The Washington
Times. He also is the host of “The Kuhner Report” from 6 to 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
to noon on WRKO AM-680 (www.wrko.com) in Boston.