Taxes

Club for Growth on Ron Paul

Just like in 2008, the Club for Growth is putting together a series of white papers on candidates running for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. We’ve already covered their reports on the records of Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman. We missed the report on Michele Bachmann, but you can read that here.

Last week, the Club for Growth released the white paper on Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX),who fares well against President Barack Obama in a hypothetical matchup and is making Iowa and the Ames Straw poll priorities for his campaign.

The Club notes that Paul has received better than average ratings on their own scorecard, and they’ve gradually increased over the last five years. And while his record on spending is “impressive,” including votes against Medicare Part D, raising his own pay, TARP, the stimulus and other wasteful spending.

They also point out that Paul was once a stalwart in voting for amendments to strip wasteful earmarks out of spending bills; however, he has changed his tune recently:

No debt agreement over the weekend

Most of the weekend went by without word of anything resembling a deal on raising the debt ceiling. House Republicans kicked around a short-term hike, but Senate Democrats and the Obama Administration threw cold water on the idea.

The desire to come to an agreement has been expressed on both sides. Speaker John Boehner, who has earned kudos for his performance during these tense last few weeks, was very straight-forward with his caucus yesterday on the need for something that can pass both chambers, especially as markets begin to react to the stalemate. According to The Hill, Boehner wants an agreement today.

Debt ceiling talks between Obama and Boehner collapse

News broke not too long ago that talks between the White House and Speaker John Boehner have apparently collapsed:

House Speaker John Boehner abruptly broke off talks with President Barack Obama Friday night on a deal to make major cuts in federal spending and avert a threatened government default, sending already uncertain compromise efforts into instant crisis.

Within minutes, an obviously peeved Obama virtually ordered congressional leaders to the White House Saturday morning for fresh negotiations on raising the nation’s debt limit. “We’ve got to get it done. It is not an option not to do it,” he declared.

For the first time since talks began, he declined to offer assurances, when asked, that default would be avoided. Moments later, however, he said he was confident of that outcome.

My wife and I were out to dinner while the press conferences were going on (obviously, I didn’t watch them), so I’m still catching up on what exactly happened. As noted above, Obama came across angry and chastized Republicans, asking if they could agree on anything. Here is the video (you can read his comments here):

Rumors of a debt ceiling deal heat up

There were signs of movement yesterday a deal that would raise the nation’s debt ceiling. According to a report from The New York Times on Thursday afternoon, President Barack Obama and Speaker John Boehner were close to a $3 trillion deficit reduction deal:

Congressional and administration officials said that the two men, who had abandoned their earlier talks toward a deal when leaks provoked Republicans’ protests at Mr. Boehner, were now closing in on a significant package calling for as much as $3 trillion in savings that would be obtained through substantial spending cuts and future revenues produced through an overhaul of the tax code. If it could be sold to Congress, the plan could clear the way for a vote to increase the federal debt ceiling before an Aug. 2 deadline.

What does each side want? Here is an idea:

[T]he president and Mr. Boehner were moving ahead with their plan, aides said, trying to agree on matters like how much new revenue would be raised, how much would go to deficit reduction, how much to lower tax rates and, perhaps most critical, how to enforce the requirement for new tax revenue through painful consequences for both parties should they be unable to overhaul the tax code in 2012.

The White House wants a trigger that would raise taxes on the wealthy; Mr. Boehner wants the potential penalty for inaction to include repeal of the Obama health care law’s mandate that all individuals purchase health insurance after 2014.

Debt limit debate is a leadership failure

The debt limit will be raised, if it’s not already up by the time this piece hits the net.  It seems like the pieces are aligning and the debt limit will increase, avoiding the alleged apocalypse that we’ve been hearing about for some time.  Lost is that someone once called the need to raise the debt limit a “leadership failure.”  That person argued that raising the debt limit put the burden for today’s choices on “backs of our children and grandchildren.  America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better”  I couldn’t agree more.

What’s so humorous is that those words come from then Senator Barack Obama.

In 2006, Obama argued quite eloquently against raising the debt ceiling.  He wasn’t wrong about what he said, there is a serious problem at work.  The fact that we need to keep raising the debt ceiling is a sign of a leadership failure.  It’s a sign that the national leadership won’t make the hard choices and recognize that if we can’t pay for more programs, then we need to start saying no to some thing that may sound like a good idea but we just can’t afford.

Throughout this country, there are families looking at their checkbooks, trying to figure out how to pay for electricity, rent, and food while still putting gas in their car.  They juggle money to make sure nothing gets cut off.  In many cases, they’ve already cut off their cable bill, and possibly toned back their phone bills as much as possible.  They’ve looked at what comes in and cut what goes out to match it as best they can.  It sucks.  I’ve lived like that more than once, so I know exactly how it goes.  But they do it.

Gang of Six gains some steam, but agreement far off

The Gang of Six spent most of Wednesday making the case for their deficit reducation plan to members of both parties and the media, but it seems that they’ve hit a snag as liberals in both chambers expressed opposition, not to mention that conservatives are less than thrilled over the revenue increases that the proposal would bring.

Others are expressing concern with the lack of details in the proposal. Chris Edwards, an economist with the Cato Institute, highlights this compared to the detail oriented plan separately put forward by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK):

The “Gang of Six” senators has released an outline of budget reforms that would supposedly reduce deficits by $3.7 trillion over 10 years. Revenues would rise by at least $1 trillion, while spending would be theoretically trimmed by various procedural mechanisms. The plan promises to “strengthen the safety net,” “maintain investments,” and “maintain the basic structure” of Medicare and Medicaid, which doesn’t sound very reform-minded to me.

The Gang of Six plan is a grander version of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s recent debt-limit proposal, which was aimed at putting off any spending cuts. The Gang outline has a few specific cuts, but the document mainly consists of promises to restrain spending and raise taxes in the future.

Gang of Six plan gets nod from Obama

There was a breakthrough of sorts yesterday with the Gang of Six, a bipartisan group of Senators, that agreed to $3.7 trillion deficit reduction plan that they believe can break a filibuster in the chamber. The proposal was viewed favorably by President Barack Obama. Even Larry Kudlow, host of CNBC’s The Kudlow Report, had nice things to say about it.

No budget deal reached over the weekend

There was little news on the budget and debt ceiling front over the weekend. In fact, Republicans didn’t pay much attention to President Barack Obama’s demand for a solution to the stalemate by this past Saturday. Of course, the only solution the White House wants is one that involves tax hikes, which Republican have rejected; as Dan Mitchell says, Obama is only “flexible” is he gets what he wants.

The questionable McConnell plan, which has upset conservatives, still may be part of the deal that is worked out between the White House and Republicans. However, that deal isn’t going to prevent agencies from downgrading the nation’s credit rating.

The call for tax hikes has become all too frequent of a rallying point for the Left during this public debate. And while Obama would have us believe that 80% of Americans support such a move to solve the debt problem, such a claim is blatantly false:

Cartoon of the Day: Debt ceiling and drunk driving

I caught this on Twitter late last night (can’t remember who posted it, sorry), but it just about sums the debt ceiling debate.

debt ceiling and drunk driving

From each according to their ability…

President Obama wants your money.  Not exactly a groundbreaking revelation, I’m sure.  However, in recent comments, he seems to feel that if you have more money than you need, and someone else has a perceived “need”, then he should be just fine taking that money and giving it to that person.  Mike Brownfield, like myself, seems to not be in complete agreement with the President on this one:

Over the past several weeks, America has seen on grand display in Washington a singular mindset emanating from the White House: We must raise taxes so that we can keep on spending. This week, though, America was treated to something different—a glimpse inside President Barack Obama’s mind, a roadmap of his economic worldview. And what was revealed was a philosophy that is fundamentally at odds with America’s job creators.

That insight came during the President’s press conference on Monday in which he broached the subject of raising taxes as part of the debt limit deal:

And I do not want, and I will not accept, a deal in which I am asked to do nothing, in fact, I’m able to keep hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional income that I don’t need, while a parent out there who is struggling to figure out how to send their kid to college suddenly finds that they’ve got a couple thousand dollars less in grants or student loans.


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