If you were a Senator, would you be willing to plunge the American economy into a depression just to try to save the welfare state? The Democrats in U.S. Congress are apparently willing to do just that. From the Washington Post:
Democrats are making increasingly explicit threats about their willingness to let nearly $600 billion worth of tax hikes and spending cuts take effect in January unless Republicans drop their opposition to higher taxes for the nation’s wealthiest households. Emboldened by signs that GOP resistance to new taxes may be weakening, senior Democrats say they are prepared to weather a fiscal event that could plunge the nation back into recession if the new year arrives without an acceptable compromise.
So the Democrats want $494 billion in tax increases and $100 billion in cuts to our national defense. Taking $600 billion out of the economy at this point is of course complete madness: the tax hikes alone are big enough to send us spiraling into a depression. (See this article for an analysis of its effects on just one state, Oregon.) Apparently, as the Washington Post reports, the Democrats are willing to let that happen unless they get to raise taxes on America’s small business owners:
In a speech Monday, Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), the Senate’s No. 4 Democrat and the leader of the caucus’s campaign arm, plans to make the clearest case yet for going over what some have called the “fiscal cliff.” “If we can’t get a good deal, a balanced deal that calls on the wealthy to pay their fair share, then I will absolutely continue this debate into 2013,” Murray plans to say, according to excerpts of the speech provided to The Washington Post. If the tax cuts from the George W. Bush era expire and taxes go up for everyone, the debate will be reset, Murray is expected to say.
All of this, and a severely crippled military, just to protect – what? Well, let’s go back to the Democrat counter-proposal to the Paul Ryan budget earlier this year. Back then the Democrats in the House had this to say:
This budget firmly rejects the Republican budget’s proposal to end the Medicare guarantee and strengthens the program instead of dismantling it. It also ensures that the social safety net remains intact. The growing costs of health care and retirement programs pose long-term challenges that need to be addressed in a way that puts the budget on a sustainable path, reduces the cost of health care for families, and improves our competitiveness. This budget supports the goal of making Medicare sustainable by making the health care system more efficient overall.
Medicare is just one of a myriad of entitlement programs that Congress has created over the decades. The Democrat attitude toward it – save at all cost – is telling of how they approach all parts of the welfare state. There is not a single entitlement program that the Democrats would like to dismantle: on the contrary, they want to go in the opposite direction. In their budget they adamantly defend the Affordable Care Act which obviously is the latest pile-on to the already fiscally obese stack of government-run schemes to redistribute income and wealth between Americans.
Back to the Washington Post story:
[Senator Murray’s] speech comes less than a week after Obama assured Hill Democrats during a White House meeting that he would veto any attempt to maintain the Bush tax cuts on income over $250,000 a year, according to several people present. It also echoes the dismissive response by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) to Republicans seeking to undo scheduled reductions in Pentagon spending that even Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has said would be “devastating” to national security.
In other words, the Democrats would rather devastate our military and our economy than give up a single entitlement program.
But even if they get their tax increases on higher incomes, this would only add $96.8 billion per year to the federal coffers. And that is from a generously slanted estimate. That would barely pay for the extra funds to the states that the National Governors Association called for when they began to see the end of the Stimulus Bill gravy train. Since Democrats only know how to create and grow entitlement programs, and nothing about shrinking, let alone terminating them, they would dispose of this extra revenue in a heartbeat.
The budget deficit would still be at least as big as it is today – and that is if the Democrats “only” get to raise taxes on high income earners.
But far more ominous is the Democrats’ determination to plunge the economy into the dungeon dug out for us by Taxmageddon and the Pentagon spending cuts. If they do this, it will make every aspect of our already urgent fiscal crisis far more urgent and a far bigger crisis. Consumer spending would tailspin, business investments – already disturbingly low – would plummet, unemployment would rise dramatically, and tax revenues for the federal budget would fall significantly. As a direct consequence, the budget deficit would explode to fiscally cataclysmic proportions.
The only thing that could emerge from such a disaster would be a new America, reduced to nothing more than a bleak version of austerity-ridden Europe, stuck in permanent industrial poverty.
It is unconscionable that anyone elected to U.S. Congress would ever consider doing this to our country. Most of the Democrats who would cast votes or otherwise act to make Taxmageddon happen probably would do so only because their leadership tells them to. But that does not liberate them of their legislative responsibility.
As a direct consequence of what Congressional Democrats are willing to do to the American economy, I would like them and their supporters across the country to answer two questions:
1. Is the welfare state more important to you than America?
2. When is government big enough for you?