Tax Hikes are Off the Table? Really?
January 07, 2013
RUSH: Let's go to Mitch McConnell, sound bite number one. This is yesterday on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, who said, "Look, the deadlines are approaching. I think the president has said he's willing to engage in more discussions over the sequester and the government shutdown, but that would also include new revenue. You say the tax debate's over."
MCCONNELL: Oh, yeah, the tax -- the revenue -- the tax issue is finished, over, completed. That's behind us. Now the question is what are we gonna do about the biggest problem confronting our country and our future, and that's our spending addiction. It's time to confront it. The president surely knows that. I mean, he has mentioned it both publicly and privately.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you saying that any discussion of revenue is completely off the table going forward? You will not accept any new revenues in any new deal?
MCCONNELL: Yeah, absolutely. The tax issue is behind us.
RUSH: Now, is this not loaded? Let's take this in order. Here McConnell says, "Okay, the tax deal's done." Now, this is what the Republicans think, folks. We talked about this last week. Give up a core issue, go along with tax increases, takes it off the table, now that focuses everybody on spending. The media's gonna go after Obama on spending, "Okay, Barack, the Republicans gave in, now it's time for you to." They think that's what's gonna happen. It's not gonna happen. We're not through with tax increases. The Democrats are promising more. They're salivating for more. Now, where does this notion that taxes are off the table come from? Listen to George Will during the roundtable yesterday with George Stephanopoulos.
WILL: People will look back on this deal as where liberalism passed an apogee and went into decline for the following reason: 172 House Democrats voted to make the Bush rates permanent for all but 1/2 of 1% of American taxpayers. What that means is -- is that they can no longer tax the middle class. You cannot fund the state that liberals want, the entitlement state, without taxing the middle class at least, and now you've given up that with the locking in as permanent law the Bush tax rates. That's off the table.
RUSH: Okay, so that's the prevailing wisdom. But the reason why the Republicans think that new "revenues" are finished is for this very reason: The Bush tax rates, which were set to expire, are now locked in, in perpetuity. And those are tax rates on the middle class. And they didn't go up. They didn't go down, but they stayed the same. Now, it is true that you can't fund a welfare state without taxing the middle class. You just can't do it. We're proving it.
We've been proving it the last four years and we're gonna prove it for as long as this circumstance survives. You just can't fund it. The tax increases are the rich are gonna raise about $60 billion a year, and Obama already gave away ten billion of that for Sandy relief, Hurricane Sandy. So we're down to $50 billion this year from the tax increase on the rich. That can't pay for the welfare state. So they're thinking, "Well, we got the Democrats to agree: No tax increase on the middle class. That wasn't a toughie."
The Democrats are all for the notion they're not going to raise taxes on the middle class. But if the Democrats ever get the House of Representatives back, this is all out the window, and everybody should understand this. Just because this year they locked in tax rates for the middle class and made them so-called permanent... They're "permanent" until they're changed. And what'll change them is a Democrat House with a Democrat president. Everybody ought to know that that is what's gonna happen if the Democrats win the House in 2014 or any other time.
But plenty of other taxes are gonna go up. Payroll tax, Medicare tax, Obamacare. There are gonna be plenty of taxes go up on the middle class. However, Stephen Moore is writing for the Wall Street Journal. He's part of the editorial board there. He did a sit-down with Boehner, and this is quite illuminating. Boehner told Stephen Moore that he was shell-shocked in there talking to Obama. Because every time Boehner... This is what he said. Every time he told Obama (paraphrased), "We got a spending problem," Obama would reject it.
He'd say, "No, we don't. Our deficit's not because of spending. Our deficit is because of out-of-control health care in this country, and I fixed that." Boehner was insistent that Obama was insistent that we don't have a spending problem and we never have had one. The only reason we're running deficits, and the only reason we have a national debt, is because of our health care being out of whack -- which Obama has now fixed. And that's it. And Boehner said he was stunned and he didn't know what to do. He didn't know how to react to that.
Which proves my point.
These guys don't know what they're up against with Obama. They still don't know who he is. They still don't know what he's about, and they still make the mistake of assuming he's telling them the truth. Does anybody really believe that Obama really believes we don't have spending problem? He knows we got a spending problem. It's a problem he enjoys. It's a problem he wants. He wants to spend more! I don't believe Obama's sitting around in the cover of darkness telling himself that he's a big spender. Democrats spend big on the big welfare state. That's how they empire themselves.
You know the drill. But Boehner made it clear that Obama would not ever admit even one time that we have a spending problem, which also illustrates my theory (espoused numerous times in recent months) that there's nothing in common with these two. The Democrats and Republicans have no common ground. There's no way to fashion a bipartisan agreement because there's nothing we have in common. Boehner says, and the Republicans say, that our problems are spending. Obama says: "No, we don't have a spending problem. It's health care and I fixed that."
So there simply is no common ground. Now, this idea settled in that the tax rates on the middle class are locked in. They were temporary -- and they were. They were temporary under Bush but now they've been made permanent, and it is true: The middle class still is, in an aggregate sense, where all the money in the country is. That's where all the money is in the economy. The rich do not hold all the money. Now, low-information voters don't believe me when I say this if they're listening, and they certainly don't understand it.
Most people in this country who vote, a majority of them, believe the rich have all the money. The middle class think they all used to be rich at some point, and when they weren't looking the rich stole all their money. They believe this. I mean, it's what they've been told. It's just like African-Americans today can be convinced that they are still slaves. Jamie Foxx does it every day. Samuel L. Jackson, the Reverend Jackson, try to make the case that there's sill slavery in this country. Well, the middle class is made to believe every day that one point they were rich, but the rich came along and screwed them out of everything and the rich have all the money.
They don't. The middle class still the greatest contention of wealth on an aggregate basis, and if you're not going to raise taxes on them then you're not gonna be able to pay for the welfare state, and we're not gonna have a welfare state that's growing. We have one now. If it's gonna continue to expand, it's gonna be unfunded. But this idea that there aren't gonna be any new taxes, that they're off the table? I think the Republicans really believe that this. I said last week, "How many core beliefs are we going to throw away in hopes that we'll get down to what's really important?"
And that was one of the things that inspired or motivated the Republicans to agree with Obama on the fiscal cliff deal. "Okay, let's just give them the tax hikes. Let's get the taxes off the table!" Bill Kristol said, "Get the taxes off the table. Get the taxes off the table." They did it, and they think the taxes are off the table. And now all we got to look at is spending. He says it's a big problem. The president doesn't think that's a problem. There is not a spending problem. He told Boehner that. The idea of Boehner... Boehner also said he didn't know what to do. I'm paraphrasing.
Boehner said he was shell-shocked; he didn't know how to react. That is itself quite illustrating.
RUSH: Yesterday on the Meet the Press... Cookie you don't need to go get the bite. I don't need the bite.) David Gregory, the host on Meet the Press, asked somebody... They were talking about the fiscal cliff deal, and David Gregory said to somebody (summarized), "Well, look, could we have really spared ourselves a lot of trouble in the economy if the Republicans would have just agreed a year ago to raise taxes on the rich?
"If they were gonna do it, could we have helped ourselves by raising taxes on the rich a year ago?" And you'd have to say so. Using the thinking that the Republicans engaged in to go along with raising taxes on the rich, you got to say so. If raising taxes on the rich is good, if it's something that's gonna help, they should have done it sooner, right? They should have done it sooner and maybe should have done it bigger.
See, this is the problem the Republicans have created for themselves.
And now taxes are "off the table." (chuckling) Wait 'til you hear Democrat sound bites on that.