Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Big Government Meets Big Business

We’re 26 days away from the fiscal cliff. Monday afternoon, the White House rejected a deal offered by the House leadership. Not much happened yesterday. So you would think President Obama would be interested in talking with Speaker Boehner today.

Instead the president took his arguments for higher taxes to the Business Roundtable — the presidents and CEOs of many of the world’s largest multinational corporations. It was a meeting of big government and big business.

I know there is an assumption that big business is conservative, but that is not the case. Nearly half of the corporate sponsors to the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest homosexual rights lobbying group, are members of the Business Roundtable. Several also donate to Planned Parenthood.

The Business Roundtable was supportive of Obamacare. In fact, the big pharmaceutical companies were big cheerleaders for Obamacare. Several Business Roundtable CEOs backed the cap and trade bill. And of course the stimulus bill was a major boon to Business Roundtable companies like General Electric, which landed big government contracts.

While President Obama was meeting with presidents of the biggest multinational corporations, Speaker Boehner and other House leaders were sitting down with small business owners, many of whom file their taxes as individuals, not corporations. They are the real job creators who will bear the brunt of income tax increases.

This is a good opportunity for conservatives to remind the American people that while they care strongly about pro-growth economic policies, they are adamantly opposed to crony capitalism. Nobody voted for the Business Roundtable last month. Its leadership should not sellout Main Street entrepreneurs and the taxpayers in order to feather their nests with future favors from big government.

Taxes And Savings

It is widely agreed that the tax code is inefficient and in desperate need of reform. Conservatives are eager to reform the tax code and would like to make tax reform part of the fiscal cliff deal. Unfortunately, higher tax rates have become a non-negotiable item for the White House. But this insistence on higher rates has not always been Obama’s bottom line.

Consider this excerpt from a New York Times report yesterday:

“But since 2010, Mr. Obama and lawmakers in both parties have promoted … the idea that Washington could overhaul the tax code, strip out deductions, tax credits, exemptions and loopholes and use the resulting revenues to both lower tax rates and reduce annual budget deficits. That idea was the core of recommendations from the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles fiscal commission in 2010 that Mr. Obama created…

“Months later, when Mr. Obama was engaged in ultimately unsuccessful negotiations with Mr. Boehner on a debt-reduction deal in the summer of 2011, he recounted his pitch to Republicans for reporters: ‘What we said was, give us $1.2 trillion in additional revenues, which could be accomplished without hiking taxes — tax rates — but could simply be accomplished by eliminating loopholes, eliminating some deductions and engaging in a tax reform process that could have lowered rates generally while broadening the base.’”

That was essentially the deal that Speaker Boehner offered Monday, and the White House flatly rejected it. Now, don’t get me wrong — I am not advocating for Boehner’s deal. But this is why many conservatives are increasingly convinced that some on the left really don’t want a deal. Even moderate establishment-types like David Gergen can see it.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post Fact Checker is taking issue with the so-called “spending cuts” in White House plan. For example, the Post says that $61 billion in supposed savings really comes from a “financial crisis responsibility fee.” $43.7 billion comes from increased IRS enforcement, meaning more audits.

And then there is $44 billion in “savings” from an “adjustment payment timing.” Any idea what that means? The Post rightly describes it as “especially dubious,” because it is merely delaying a $44 billion payment from one ten-year budget period into the next ten-year budget period and counting that as a “savings.” It would be like delaying your $500 car payment this month until January and claiming you saved $500 in December. Only in liberal Washington!

The War On Christmas

What is wrong with America’s elites? No doubt many of you will recall last year’s spectacle in Rhode Island when Governor Lincoln Chafee caved in to political correctness and decided to call the state’s Christmas tree a “holiday tree.” When it came time for the official lighting of the state’s “holiday tree,” scores of irate citizens showed up and began singing “O Christmas Tree.” Oh, the horror!

In order to avoid a repeat performance of “O Christmas Tree” at this year’s lighting ceremony, Chafee devised a devious plan. His office provided the public just 30 minutes advance notice of the ceremony. What a scrooge!

Lincoln Chafee’s blue-blood New England family no doubt named him after the country’s first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln’s second inaugural address was one of the shortest inaugural addresses in history, yet he included more than a dozen references to God and the Bible.

I wonder what Abraham Lincoln would think about a future namesake who was so committed to stripping religion out of the public square that he tried to light the “holiday tree” without anyone noticing?

I know it’s easy to laugh at this kind of absurdity, but this cultural rot is really quite dangerous. A civilization that is afraid to defend its values will not survive.