Dec 11 2012
I was able to catch a bit of Rush Limbaugh yesterday and the short section I heard resonated with me. It also kicked off some thoughts on how the GOP is mishandling the fiscal cliff, and how to do it right.
What the GOP is doing wrong is pretending they can get something out of any negotiations. They cannot. The cliff represents the best they could achieve in terms of spending cuts – so PROTECT THESE.
As Rush said, taxes are going to rise on ‘the rich’ (and everyone else) after Obama won the election. Assuming otherwise is foolish. And the GOP has wasted their time trying to avoid the tax hikes on ‘the rich’. The rich will survive and the small businesses will hunker down. Stop trying to halt this from happening. It is a lose-lose approach. I for one will not trade lower taxes for more spending. That is lose-lose fiscally.
Worse, there will be no real spending cuts in any negotiation with the Dems. We saw this in 2011 after the GOP landslide mid term (and what more than anything else killed their 2012 hopes). No real cuts. All that will occur through negotiation is the spending cuts now pending under sequestration will be made impotent through delay and promises to spend wiser later (same thing we have seen for decades).
So how should the GOP approach the fiscal cliff under this kind of reality?
You apply political jujitsu and you embrace the cliff!
Obama and the dems are leaning forward – way forward – on their tax & spend madness at the moment.
Jujitsu is the art of using your opponents momentum against them. Now is a perfect time for the GOP to pivot and do two key things:
- Accept all the tax increases as necessary medicine for the debt situation (don’t protect Wall Street). Let the private sector adjust. DO NOT discuss phasing the cuts in, because it only adds to the debt. Play it as though the ‘the rich’ must pay their fair share, as should everyone else. The country will adapt – it has through much worse.
- Accept the Defense cuts as another aspect of everyone must have skin in the game. The DoD actually can propose balancing the cuts across their entire domain so as to protect some areas and sacrifice others. Let them prioritize inside the DoD. This way, the cuts to domestic programs must also be retained. Again, DO NOT negotiate delays. That only invites wasting time and more deficit spending.
The GOP is supposed to be the party of fiscal sanity, including the near term pain that comes with ensuring any long term health of the country. Stop trying to avoid the medicine. Embrace the cliff that you resisted in the past, so as not to be seen as being against the little guy but on their side. Exploit this new found progressiveness. Just don’t negotiate.
Let the Dems deal with the pain on the middle class and entitlements. The GOP will be doing the right thing by not attempting to save ‘the rich’ and the DoD.
Besides, its not like there won’t be tax hikes – there will. And the only thing you can negotiate away are spending cuts – which are now wired into the cliff! Don’t lose what we have.