Steve's Blog

Why I Voted Against the Fiscal Cliff Deal

Late New Year’s Eve, the United States Senate passed the fiscal cliff deal.  About 20 hours later, late New Year’s Day, the House of Representatives passed it.  I voted NO.  Here’s why.

First of all, it’s important to recognize that President Obama had a strong hand to play because taxes on all Americans were scheduled to go up on January 1st.  Why?  Because when the so-called Bush tax cuts were passed 10 years ago, Democrats in the Senate, who opposed cutting taxes at all, insisted on these tax cuts expiring in 10 years.  Without that provision, there would have been no tax cuts at all.  And on January 1st, yesterday, the 10 years was up.

In addition, approximately $1 trillion in spending cuts (sequestration), half in defense and half in domestic programs, was scheduled to kick in beginning January 1st.  These supposedly automatic cuts were Congress’s attempt to at least begin to address our $16.5 trillion debt.

When President Obama refused to negotiate in a serious manner, and Speaker John Boehner’s attempt at a “Plan B” failed, and the January 1st deadline rapidly approached, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden got together in a final ditch effort to come to some agreement.  They did reach an agreement which passed the Senate, then the House last night, and President Obama is expected to sign it into law shortly.

I couldn’t, in good faith, support the deal for many reasons.  After the Senate passed the deal, the White House issued a statement saying “For the first time in 20 years, Congress will have acted on a bipartisan basis to vote for significant new revenue.”  “Revenue” is the word politicians now use when they mean “taxes,” but don’t want to say it or admit it.  New “revenue” means new taxes.  As I’ve said over and over again, we aren’t under taxed, the government over spends.  So in my view, we shouldn’t be raising taxes on anyone, period.  We should be cutting spending.

Does this deal actually raise taxes?  Here’s what Heritage Action, a leading conservative group, had to say on that point.  “To be clear, this is a tax increase.  In 2013, the top marginal rate, death tax, and taxes on long-term capital gains and dividends will all be higher than in 2012.”

So it’s a tax increase.  And I wasn’t sent to Washington to raise taxes.

Next, the spending.  Despite the fact that Washington spending is out-of-control, this deal does virtually nothing to even begin to rein in spending.  In fact, it spends even more.

Remember when the Republican Presidential candidates said in response to a question at one of the debates, that even $10 of spending cuts for $1 of tax increases wouldn’t be good enough?  (They were roundly criticized by the media intelligentsia for this “extreme” position.)  Well, the fiscal cliff deal went in the opposite direction.  According to one analysis, for every $1 in spending cuts, there are $41 in tax increases!

In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the $25 billion in supposed spending cuts, are actually far outweighed by $330 billion in new spending, or $4 trillion in new spending over 10 years, which would take our $16.5 trillion National Debt to well over $20 trillion.

The bottom line is, this deal raises taxes now, with a promise to maybe cut spending down the road.  And just the other day, President Obama said he intends to raise taxes even more.  And this is all on top of a trillion dollars in new Obamacare taxes, which are already scheduled to kick in this year.

So for all the above reasons, I voted against the fiscal cliff deal.  Unfortunately, I was in the minority, and when President Obama signs the bill, it will become law.  The American people deserved much better than this.

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