The bill features $41 in tax increases for every $1 in spending cuts. It adds $4 trillion to the national debt. In a country that faces a national debt of $16.423 trillion, it is an outrage that more radical spending cuts and entitlement reform was not included in the legislation.
In the midst of a horrible economy, the bill increased income taxes on Americans making over $400,000 per year, while raising payroll taxes on all working Americans. According to former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum, “President Obama got practically everything he wanted - a massive tax hike on over 70% of Americans and billions more in government spending --- as part of a deal negotiated in total secrecy.”
Overall, the bill will force the average American to pay $1,257 more in taxes each year. In an obscene twist, the bill included expensive giveaways for Hollywood, Puerto Rico rum producers, NASCAR and the alternative energy industry.
The bill included a total of 50 tax breaks for favored industries worth $76 billion. According to U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), “It’s hard to think of anything that could feed the cynicism of the American people more than larding up the must-pass emergency legislation with giveaways to special interests and campaign contributors.”
The problem is that McCain and dozens of other “conservative” Republicans in Congress voted for the bill. To compound their error, House Republicans gave John Boehner another term as Speaker of the House. Unfortunately, Boehner has been a disaster as Speaker, serving as a poor negotiating partner versus President Obama. He has been a very ineffective advocate for conservative principles and has purged Tea Party conservatives from key House committees.
After a year in which the GOP lost the presidency once again, it is clear the Republicans are headed for extinction. In the 2012 presidential race, the GOP has abandoned Tea Party conservatives to nominate the moderate flip flopper Mitt Romney. Although touted as the strongest potential GOP presidential candidate, Romney was handily defeated by Obama, who won an electoral vote landslide.
Romney refused to take the fight to Obama and was not an articulate advocate of conservative principles. He ran away from the party’s platform and tried to make the race about just the economy.
However, in the view of many voters, there is not much difference between the parties and both are contributing to our problem. Santorum admits that “we have to rally conservatives across America and demand that both Republicans and Democrats slash the federal budget.”
The problem is that both Democrats and Republicans in Congress are tone deaf to the demands of real Americans and continue to pass legislation that adds to the national debt and postpones a real discussion of our fiscal crisis.
Santorum believes that “Obama is risking the nation's credit rating with his reckless government spending.” Sadly, Republicans are partners in this fiscal crime. A prime example is the fiscal cliff legislation that was approved by Republican leadership in both houses of Congress.
As Santorum noted, “the Republican strategy of ‘playing nice’ and negotiating with Barack Obama behind closed doors doesn't work. We have to try a new, more aggressive strategy.”
A new strategy is better suited for a new political party. The Republicans have displayed no appetite for the type of change this country really needs.
After the mid-term election of 2010, the GOP did not institute the type of conservative changes the voters demanded. Instead, it was business as usual. The typical two-party structure gives us more of the same, deficit spending and out of control government growth.
Today, unemployment is 7.8% with over 47 million Americans on food stamps. Historic numbers of Americans have stopped looking for work, frustrated by the horrible job market.
To move our country forward, Congress needs to institute real reform like term limits, but the current members will not make the tough decisions that our country desperately needs.
Only a third party can force the type of change that we need.
As a former Executive Director of the Louisiana Republican party, it is disturbing to conclude that the GOP is most probably beyond repair and is not the right vehicle to solve our country’s problems.
The sooner a viable third party is formed, the better our chances to change the disastrous status quo in Washington D.C.
Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m.weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at www.ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at [email protected].
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