Republicans are currently losing the battle with Democrats, and especially President Obama, over how to avoid the fiscal cliff.
Analysts have been crunching numbers on limiting tax deductions—one of Mitt Romney’s proposals—and proclaiming it comes up short. So tax rates must go up, they say. And that means that Obama’s plan to raise $1.6 trillion in new taxes on corporations and the wealthy has become the only proposal on the table.
To be clear, Obama and Democrats grew the deficit by $5 trillion over the last four years—more if you add in the two years they controlled Congress but not the White House—with much of it funding wasteful and counterproductive spending that few or no Republicans voted for.
Virtually lost in the debate is that the more the government cuts spending, the less new revenue needs to be raised. Indeed, government spending could be cut so much that no new revenue is needed.
But Republicans, perhaps following Romney’s similar effort to dodge the question in his campaign, have been mostly silent on where and what they would cut. As long as they remain silent, then the debate is about new taxes.
Put some cuts on the table and the narrative shifts.
Need some examples? How about starting with a promise to cut Obama’s recent commitment to provide $6 billion to support “[b]ilateral and multilateral energy and environmental initiatives … in the Asia Pacific, and the United States, in partnership with Brunei and Indonesia.”
Since the U.S. spends nearly every dollar it gets in revenue on U.S. entitlement programs, it will need to borrow that $6 billion from Asia so that we can give it back to … Asia. What a deal!
Or consider the president’s 2009 stimulus bill set aside $80 billion for green energy projects, and apparently about $30 billion has not been spent. In a report earlier this year, the Brookings Institution estimates the administration will spend $150 billion on such projects between 2009 and 2014. Why don’t Republicans cut that spending under the battle cry “No more Solyndras.”
The American people would demand Congress balance the budget through spending cuts if Republicans would make an issue of the rampant waste, fraud and crony green-energy subsidies. And provide specifics.
But as long as the debate is only about how to reach Obama’s revenue increases, Republicans will lose the battle—and the economy.