Written by Marian Tupy, a policy analyst, Center for the Global Liberty and Prosperity at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
It has been said of the neo-cons that they are often wrong but never in doubt. Well, Bill Kristol was at it again, predicting the future with his usual sense of supreme confidence. According to the neo-conservative editor of the Weekly Standard, “It won’t kill the country if Republicans raise taxes a little bit on millionaires… .The Republican Party is gonna fall on its sword to defend a bunch of millionaires, half of whom voted Democratic, and half of whom live in Hollywood and are hostile to Republicans.”
The left has jumped on Kristol’s words. As Andrew Rosenthal wrote in the New York Times, “When even Bill Kristol, the severely conservative Weekly Standard editor, says Republicans should agree to raise taxes on the richest Americans, you have to wonder if the G.O.P. has thought through its post-election, hold-the-line strategy.”
To start with, Kristol misunderstands the opponents of the tax increases on the rich, whose main goal is not to ensure that the rich get to keep more of their money. Their main goal is to prevent the federal government from obtaining a new source of revenue. Why might that be?
Yesterday, I criticized House Speaker John Boehner for openly discussing the idea of raising tax revenue are part of the “fiscal cliff” talks. This caused some of my conservative friends to come back at me on Twitter because they noted that pro-growth tax policies raise revenue, but it’s not a tax hike.
Look, I don’t disagree at all on that. What I was trying to say, and I probably didn’t explain it well enough, was that Boehner is negoiating from a point of weakness because of the election and is more likely to make a bad deal. During the debt ceiling debate, Boehner was willing to close loopholes that would have raised some $800 billion in additional tax revenue. President Obama wanted more in revenue, which caused Boehner to back down.
Boehner wants a pro-growth tax policy. That’s great, so do I. Let’s close all the loopholes — no more tax breaks or tax credits — and use that revenue to lower overall tax rates. That’s exactly what I want. Unfortunately, we’re not going to get it right now, and I think that’s the point my conservative friends are missing. Obama and Senate Democrats aren’t interested in economic growth. They’re interested in class warfare, which they think helped them win the election.
House Republicans have stood firm on their opposition to President Barack Obama’s proposed tax hikes, which would come at a time when the economy is growing at an anemic pace. Back in August, the House passed a one-year extension of all current tax rates, hoping that Obama and Senate Democrats would come to their senses, reach a compromise with Republicans and avoid the economic troubles raising taxes would bring in these tough economic times.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened. What’s worse was a Washington Post report from September noting House Republicans were preparing to retreat on taxes should President Barack Obama win re-election.
While Republicans are still urging Obama to compromise since raising taxes would hamper an already tepid economic recovery — if not make it worse, House Speaker John Boehner said yesterday that he expects some sort of a deal to be reached during lame-duck session, which will be defined by the outcome of the election:
House Speaker John Boehner doesn’t expect a grand bargain avoiding the fiscal cliff to materialize in a lame duck session of Congress, but that doesn’t mean the country is headed over the edge. Instead, Boehner said Sunday, he thinks Congress and the White House will find a way to punt the looming deadlines on the debt ceiling, the Bush tax cuts and the budget sequester into 2013.
On Friday, we took a look at the battle for control of the United States Senate, noting that Republicans, who once had high-hopes to gain a majority in that chamber, are very likely to fall short at the polls tomorrow. Their struggles to take control of the Senate can really be highlighted by races in Indiana and Missouri, where the Republican nominees have struggled after making controversial comments about abortion and rape.
Todd Akin’s misstep in Missouri, where he is likely to lose to Sen. Claire McCaskill, who was thought to be the most vulnerable Democrat in the Senate, has been well documented. More recently, however, are Richard Mourdock’s troubles in Indiana.
On Friday, the Commerce Department released economic growth statistics for the third quarter of this year. Anyone hoping that the United States was seeing movement towards a quicker economic recover was no doubt disappointed at the tepid 2% growth reported:
Growth in the July-September quarter climbed slightly but was still too weak to stir significantly more hiring. The pace of expansion rose to a 2 percent annual rate from 1.3 percent in the April-June quarter, led by more consumer and government spending.
Consumer spending rose at an annual rate of 2 percent in the July-September quarter, up from 1.5 percent in the previous quarter. And a survey by the University of Michigan released Friday found consumer confidence increased to its highest level in five years this month. That suggests spending may keep growing.
Americans spent more on cars, adding nearly 0.2 percentage point to growth. Housing added to growth for the sixth straight quarter.
Sure, it’s better than the dismal numbers from the second quarter, but the economy generally sees much more substantial growth in a period of recovery. Take, for example, the recovery under Ronald Reagan. The economy was coming out of a deep recession, but grew at an annual pace of 5.7% and created millions of private-sector jobs.
With the presidential race tightening in a couple of key swing states this week and the unlikelihood that either campaign will pull away from contested electoral votes anytime soon, President Barack Obama’s campaign has finally decided to put forward an economic agenda for the next four years:
Faced with persistent calls for more detail about what a second term would look like, President Barack Obama on Tuesday released a glossy, 20-page repackaging of the plans he has announced on subjects from energy to education.
Obama planned to unveil the booklet, “The New Economic Patriotism: A PLAN FOR JOBS & MIDDLE-CLASS SECURITY,” at an event in Delray Tennis Center in Delray, Fla.
The campaign says 3.5 million copies are being printed, with 1.5 million of those being sent to field offices.
“We’re launching a full-scale, multiplatform organizational effort,” a campaign official said, “that will include direct mail, advertisements and distribution at field offices to ensure every voter knows what a second term of an Obama presidency would mean for middle-class Americans.
Obama’s campaign has unveiled an ad with the themes that can be found in this booklet, which is being released with just two weeks left before the election. That’s kind of a telling sign in and of itself that criticisms from Mitt Romney and Republicans that Obama hasn’t laid out an agenda is hurting him.
With President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney set to square off in a debate on foreign policy tomorrow evening, The New York Times reports that the administration may begin negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program:
The United States and Iran’s nuclear program, according to Obama administration officials, setting the stage for what could be a last-ditch diplomatic effort to avert a military strike on Iran.have agreed in principle for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over
News of the agreement — a result of intense, secret exchanges between American and Iranian officials that date almost to the beginning of President Obama’s term — comes at a critical moment in the presidential contest, just two weeks before Election Day and the weekend before the final debate, which is to focus on national security and foreign policy.
It has the potential to help Mr. Obama make the case that he is nearing a diplomatic breakthrough in the decade-long effort by the world’s major powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, but it could pose a risk if Iran is seen as using the prospect of the direct talks to buy time.
With the election now under three weeks away, outside groups are pouring money into swing states that could tip the presidential election. American Crossroads, a “super PAC” co-founded by Karl Rove which has already spent millions in toss-up Senate races, has launched an $11 million ad buy in eight swing states — including Colorado, Florida, Ohio, and Virginia, hoping to help defeat President Barack Obama’s bid for re-election.
The ad kicks off with President Obama, shown on a television inside a kitchen, talking, but quickly fades into a larger shot of a woman who begins asking questions about the lack of jobs, more national debt, and diminished family income under his administration:
Last night, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney went toe-to-toe over issues concerning undecided voters at the second presidential debate at Hofstra University. After a dismal performance in the first debate nearly two weeks ago, Obama needed to get his campaign back on track by shifting the momentum gained by Romney.
While he may not have had a blowout last night, Obama did score a win on style. He was better prepared and clearly more comfortable in this setting than in the previous debate. Romney started strong, hitting points on Obama’s failed economic record and turning a question about energy and gas prices into a contentious back and forth that probably scored him some points. Romney was convincing and passionate when it came to the economy, and polls reflected that he won on that issue.
That’s not to say that he didn’t overstep on some of his rhetoric; particularly when it came to China and saying Obama doubled the national debt (he’s certainly increased it rapidly and significantly, but not doubled it).
Obama repeated frequently used familiar class warfare themes frequently during the debate, once again saying that a so-called “balanced approach” was needed to deal with the debt. However, Obama’s balanced approach isn’t so balanced when one looks at the math. Obama also quipped that “Governor Romney doesn’t have a five-point plan; he has a one-point plan. And that plan is to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules.” That sort of rhetoric may play well at times, even though it’s annoyingly wrong, but it didn’t seem to work all that well last night.
President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will tonight square off for the second time. This debate, hosted by Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York and moderated by CNN’s Candy Crowley, who has been a source of concern for both campaigns, will be a townhall setting, where theoretically on-the-fence voters will be able to ask Obama and Romney questions about domestic and foreign policy.
Since the last debate, Obama has seen his numbers drop. Romney has managed to show momentum in some swing states, but he hasn’t been able to best Obama in Ohio or Virginia, two essential states to the GOP ticket. As of this morning, the Electoral College shows Obama up, 294-244.