Tuesday, December 25, 2012
A Failed Congress
By Alan Caruba
This is for all those who voted to reelect Obama or those who stayed home on Election Day 2012 because they found Republican candidates who talked about unemployment and the need for more jobs unappealing.
The blame falls on the Democratic Party that controls the Senate and the White House. The blame falls on the Republican Party that needs to grow a new backbone instead of looking for ways to compromise with an administration bent on the destruction of the nation.
What awaits Americans in 2013 is the largest tax increase in the history of the nation and it is not because the Republicans in the House of Representatives did not propose and pass one plan after another to avoid it.
What awaits Americans in 2013 is the result of the failure and refusal of Congress to reform a huge and horrible tax code that even Certified Public Accountants and IRS bureaucrats cannot fathom and, unless an alternative minimum tax "fix" is quickly approved, the IRS has notified Congress that up to 100 million taxpayers will have to wait to file while it overhauls its computers.
Failing to act on the recommendations of the Simpson-Bowes Commission to reduce government spending, reform the tax code, and save the “entitlement” programs, and ignored by the President, resulted in a “sequestration” program of automatic, draconian reductions that will cut the defense budget at a time when it is our primary deterrent to attacks on the homeland and the protection of our interests around the world.
Across the board cuts will impact all aspects of life in America; reductions in government spending that should have been introduced in a sensible, reasoned manner.
Remember George W. Bush who Obama insisted was to blame for the economy he “inherited”? The roll-back of the Bush-era tax cuts will impose increased taxes on families making between $50,000 and $75,000 that are estimated to take $2,400 from them according to one non-partisan study.
Investment taxes will increase as well. The capital gains rate will increase from 15% to 20% for investors. Dividends would be taxed like regular income, affecting decisions to purchase stocks that aid the growth and expansion of corporations large and small.
An estate tax will impact families seeking to pass on their properties and savings to the next generation.
The Congressional Budget Office predicts the nation could lose 3.4 million jobs in 2013. Meanwhile, jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed are set to expire next year. The maximum 73 weeks in state and federal benefits will fall to 26 weeks, affecting two million jobless Americans now receiving them.
The U.S. has functioned without a budget for the past three years and one that was submitted by the President was soundly rejected by Congress.
Millions of Americans who saved for retirement and those on fixed incomes will suffer as these tax increases occur.
Millions of employers will put their workers on a “part-time” status to avoid Obamacare mandates, reducing their income.
Obamacare was judged to be a tax by a Supreme Court that failed to give weight to the requirement that Americans must now purchase health insurance whether they want to or need to. This directly contravenes the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. Some twenty states have refused to set up the insurance “exchanges” required by the law. Others struggle under the current Medicaid mandates.
This is misfeasance—the improper and unlawful execution of an act that in itself is lawful—by a Congress charged with the governance of the nation.
Politics has always been understood as reasoned compromise between those elected to office, but as we have seen in the weeks leading up to the so-called “fiscal cliff”, the President has refused to negotiate in good faith or to compromise. No doubt he plans to blame the Republicans for the ills of the nation.
As a result, Americans will keep or spend less of their earnings and millions more will be thrown into unemployment.
Most are unaware of these realities. While all this occurs, the nation’s debt of $16 trillion continues to grow in a nation whose Gross Domestic Product—the earnings from all its goods and services—stands around $14 trillion. This is unsustainable and it threatens the future of the nation whose credit rating is likely to be reduced.
It is a perfect storm.
© Alan Caruba, 2012