Several news outlets are reporting on the President’s so-called “Grand Bargain” offered to Congressional Republicans. Forbes notes: “the President would be willing to reduce corporate tax rates if the additional tax revenue were used to create jobs for the middle class.”
If you noticed something fishy about sentence, then you’re smarter than the average Kenyan president thinks you are. Right. How do you get “additional tax revenue” out of “reduced taxes.” Hmm.
Well, technically, there could be arguments based on the Laffer curve, but that’s not really the issue here. What’s going on?
Simply put, the Grand Bargain isn’t grand, and it isn’t a bargain.
In reverse order, first, it isn’t a bargain: Forbes (and everyone else in the world who paid attention) knows how Obama plans to get the blood of the reduced-tax turnip: “along with the promised tax rate reduction, President Obama would broaden the tax base by eliminating many of the deductions and preferences available under today’s law. The net effect of these two changes would result in an increase in total tax revenue collections; in other words, the reduction in rates would be more than offset by the lost deductions.”
I can appreciate the columnist’s straight talk: “let’s call it what it is: a tax increase to fund additional governmental spending.”
And the non-bargain isn’t even “grand” as billed. It’s a muted version of a prior plan concocted by Obama, and it will only fund select favorites of leftist corporatists. Paul Ryan predictably blasted the effort (despite its being similar to the plan he and Romney championed last fall) as Obama playing favorites: “He wants to funnel money to his green-energy cronies. . . . He wants to give big banks a backstop — and a leg up on community banks. The president claims his economic agenda is for the middle class. But it’s actually for the well-connected.”
Romney and Ryan actually proposed even bigger corporate tax cuts, but without closing loop holes, and with matching tax cuts for individuals as well. From a Republican perspective, that plan was far grander than Obama’s piddly offer. Nevertheless, all such plans are thoroughly socialistic, and none touch the real problem, which is spending, in any significant way.
It’s discussions like these that show just how ridiculous national politics is. A ball-under-the-shell game involving a trifling tax reform more than offset by backdoor tax increases to fund socialistic public works programs is called “grand.” You know what, if Obama actually pulled that one off, I would call it grand, too.
For now I’ll just call it the “Grand Swindle.” But of course that describes most of national politics.
The only half-way sensible talk in Congress right now is coming in the form of Ted Cruz’s demand to “defund” Obamacare, and even that seems like capitulation in the face of Republicans’ cowardliness to mention fully repealing it.
We may also give props, too, to everything Rand Paul does that gets under John McCain’s skin, which may expose McCain enough that he finally switches parties. Asked this week about a hypothetical choice between Rand Paul and Hillary Clinton in 2016, he indicated he may actually vote for Hillary.
Nevertheless, real reform—tax or otherwise—will not, and will never, come out of Washington. Forget it. It absolutely must start at the individual, family, and grass roots level. It must be widespread. Such reform will create the necessary base that is strong enough, morally, ethically, intellectually, and physically, to demand and implement resistance to centralized solutions.
There never will be any grand bargain in civil government. It is an agency of coercion and force. It does not bargain. It takes. It must be reined in for freedom to reign. Until then, it’s just one great grand swindle on one great grand plantation.