GEORGETOWN, SC — In the wake of an uninspired and cowardly climax to the self-inflicted drama of the “fiscal cliff,” Washington is poised for its sequel: raising the debt ceiling. This is yet another phony crisis in a series created, and then magnanimously solved, by an increasingly inept Washington.
It’s another case where I wonder if it is more detrimental to taxpayers if Congress tries to do something ¬— or fails to.
I have heard Congressional Democrats’ addiction to debt compared to calling the plumber who supposedly fixed your toilet after it backed up and flooded your home. The same plumber (a.k.a. Congress) is called back out again to fix the problem. He decides to raise the ceiling on your house to accommodate the sewage he created, and then he bills you for it again.
The complexity and uncertainty of our lobbyist-written tax system continues to stifle economic growth. We have the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world, and we are on a trajectory of spending and dependency similar to that of Greece. Nothing in the fiscal cliff debacle addressed our real problem — spending.
In what passes for frugality in Washington, Obama flew on Air Force One back from vacation in Hawaii, and members of Congress flew back to D.C. at the last minute (always cheap around the holidays), to “do the nation’s business.” Then Obama returned to Hawaii for more vacation and had the fiscal cliff bill shipped to him for signature. It was right out of the Obama/Pelosi “I Have a Dream Speech,” raising taxes on Americans while enjoying a tropical vacation at our expense.
Obama wanted to hurry up and tax the “rich” in America while we still had a few. “Rich” is now bandied around by Democrats as a derisive term. I am not sure what “rich” is in America — maybe people with one or more flat-screen TVs — but Democrats now effectively go the podium, point their fingers at anyone successful and say, “There he is, let’s get him.”
After saying during the debates they would not accept $1 of tax increase for even $10 of budget cuts, Republicans got $41 of tax increases for $1 of dubious spending cuts jammed down their throats.
It has been a tough few years for Republicans. I thought John Boehner was going to lose his Speaker of the House position, maybe even to a Democrat. It is just that bad.
The tone in the country continues to bode ill for Republicans. Hollywood continued to do the bidding of the Democrats and was rewarded with a $430 million gift written into the fiscal cliff bill in the way of a handout.
Meanwhile, the most popular movies are “Les Miserables,” which celebrates mob rule and the uprising of peasants who kill the rich in France, and “Django Unchained,” in which a freed slave comes back to kill Southern slave owners. The bad news is that one of these films will win an Oscar for Best Futuristic Documentary.
The only bright spot for the Republicans is that “Downton Abbey” resumed its broadcast season this week.
I am hopeful the Republicans, reasoning they cannot be disliked any more than they already are, will summon up enough backbone to cut up the credit card of Washington by not raising the debt ceiling. That way we can prioritize our spending and get our fiscal house in order.
Republicans have to get past thinking the budget for our military, which spends six times more than the next biggest in the world (China) and more than the other top 10 military powers in the world combined, cannot be cut. Republicans might have to settle for invading smaller countries in the future, preferably ones with inexpensive airline service on Southwest Airlines routes so we can save money.
Obama and the Democrats are the real problem. Obama cannot stop campaigning, and neither can stop spending. These are the only two modes they know.
No matter what happens with our budget, Washington politicians are assured of getting paid under the “Americans with Absolutely No Abilities Act.”
A syndicated op-ed humorist, award winning author and TV/radio commentator, you can reach him at Ron@RonaldHart.com, Twitter @RonaldHart or visit RonaldHart.com