American Elephants

Ignore the Hyenas and the Wildebeest too. by The Elephant's Child

Economist Dan Mitchell is an excellent explainer, and that’s why I so often post his videos. The Republicans are trying to save the country from the fiscal cliff, the people don’t know what a fiscal cliff is, and Obama thinks he can use the issue to force Republicans into raising taxes, which will destroy that issue for them forever, since Republicans don’t have any other issues, or so Obama believes.

Dan Mitchell believes that Republicans efforts to be “bipartisan” look like weakness to Obama, and have emboldened him.  Dan Mitchell says” Don’t surrender!”

  1. We don’t need a tax increase. We can balance the budget simply by limiting spending so that it grows by “only” 2.5 percent annually. As I say to Cavuto, the White House is pushing higher taxes in order to enable a bigger burden of government spending.
  2. It’s important to define austerity correctly. To provide an analogy, we have to drink liquid to survive, but that doesn’t mean it would be a good idea to guzzle paint thinner. Likewise, we need austerity, but that shouldn’t mean higher taxes. We need to be like Estonia and tighten the belts of the public sector, not the private sector.

“It’s not my  job,” Mitchell says, “to give Republicans political advice, but I also want to expand on arguments I made a couple of days ago, when I gave five policy reasons why the GOP shouldn’t surrender on tax increases.”

If Republicans put tax increases on the table, however, the politics get turned upside down. Instead of being united against all tax increases, voters realize somebody is going to get mugged and they have an incentive to make sure they’re not the ones who get victimized. That’s when soak-the-rich taxes become very appealing.

Democrats, for all intents and purposes, can appeal to average voters by targeting the so-called rich. And even though voters will be skeptical about what Democrats really want, they don’t want to be the primary target of the political predators in Washington.

Think of it this way. You’re a wildebeest running away from a pack of hyenas, but you know one member of your herd will get caught and killed. You despise hyenas, but at that critical moment, you’re main goal is wanting another member of the herd to bite the dust.

This is why surrendering to tax increases put Republicans in a no-win situation. They oppose class-warfare taxes because they understand the disproportionately damaging impact of higher top income tax rates and increased double taxation of dividends and capital gains. So when GOPers get bullied into agreeing to raise taxes, they want to target less destructive sources of revenue. But that usually means…taxes that are more likely to hit the middle class. Needless to say, Democrats almost always win if there is a fight on whether to tax the middle class or to tax the rich.


President Obama is Caught In Another Flip-Flop. by The Elephant's Child

If you go to the White House website, the big banner is filled with

“What Does $2000 Mean to You?”
If Congress fails to act before the end of the year,
every American family’s taxes will automatically go up
and people from all over America are writing in to say
what $2000 means to middle class families.

This is followed with a changing series of statements from people supposedly all over the country, writing in to say what raising taxes by $2000 would mean to them. Or perhaps it just written in the White House speechwriter’s office, who knows?

The president was at the Daimler Detroit Diesel Plant in Redford MI today to campaign for people to get involved in keeping taxes for the middle class right where they are, and also to get union members stirred up to battle against the right-to-work law just passed in Michigan.

He hit all his favorite campaign themes: balanced, responsible way; I saved the auto industry; it has added a quarter million new jobs; American industry is back; the usual plant in the audience called out “I love you”, and Obama loved him back.

Took an article in The American, AEI’s magazine, to point out that Obama is doing a one-eighty here, the much scorned real life flip-flop. The Bush Tax Cuts, excoriated by every Democrat ever since 2003, derided as “tax cuts for the rich,” now suddenly must not be allowed to expire. If the “tax cuts for the rich” were so terrible, then how could the expiration of the “tax cuts for the rich” hurt anyone but the rich? If those tax cuts were just for the rich, their expiration couldn’t hurt the middle class.

Suddenly almost everyone agrees that the Bush tax cuts were beneficial to everyone at all income levels — not just the small number of taxpayers at the very top. Just what Republicans have been explaining all along. But a remarkable number of campaign statements have expiration dates.

Obama emphasizes “a balanced approach” and talks about everyone paying “their fair share.” Most everyone agrees that is a good thing, but when you start talking specifics, they’re not so sure they do agree. The top tax rate was cut by 13% under President Bush, and revenue increased by $84 billion. The lowest rate was cut by 33%, and the bottom half of income earners pay only 2.4% of all taxes. If Obama gets his way, top earners will pay 70.6% of all taxes. This is balanced?

What is unbalanced in our country’s fiscal life is the spending. Democrats simply cannot find anything to cut. It’s all way too important, even the many duplicate job-training courses offered by many different departments, all equally ineffective.

A new poll from Politico/GWU/Battleground finds that 76% of Americans favor “Cutting government spending across the board.” Well, well.

Obama To Have a ‘Private’ Oath of Office, Closed to the Press? by The Elephant's Child

How long can President Obama continue to slight the press before the media has, um, an awakening? The latest fuss is about the inaugural committee’s indication to reporters that the president’s official swearing-in ceremony on January 20, could potentially be closed to the press. Well, few things get the press aroused more than being shut out.

Since January 20 falls on a Sunday in 2013, Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the official oath of office in a private ceremony that day. The public inauguration on the Capitol Building’s West Front — at which Roberts will administer a second, symbolic oath of office — will take place the next day. White House photographer Pete Souza would supply “official” photographs to the press. Past Sunday inaugurations have been open to the press.

Both the White House and the inaugural committee note that “private” simply means the event is not open to the public and that press arrangements have not been formalized.

The president will accept unlimited corporate donations for his inauguration in January. There are no legal limits for inauguration donations, but four years ago, the president capped all contributions at $50,000 and barred companies from contributing any money. But the president and his team just wrapped up the most expensive campaign in history—with costs topping $1 billion —and their donors are simply tapped out.

Once again, Obama has not exactly followed through on his vow to run a more transparent administration. It is far past the time when the press should start to call him out on it. There is little indication that the media will finally start to do its job and report critically on his presidency.

The inaugural ceremony is not a private thing for the president and his friends. It is a public affirmation for the American people, evidencing the oath the president takes: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”



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