The Taxes Two-Step
November 26, 2012 - Monday
This time of year, everyone is shopping for a deal--including the U.S. Congress. With just five weeks to go before America tumbles off the fiscal cliff, most leaders hit the ground today with a single goal in mind: finding a solution to avoid the coming crisis. Starting tomorrow, members will dive into a series of pressure-packed talks on a potential compromise in hopes of derailing the massive tax hikes and sequestration cuts.
Over the Thanksgiving break, a handful of Republicans hinted that they're ready to put everything--including "new revenue"--on the table. And while that may show the GOP's willingness to bargain, it fails to address our most fundamental problem: runaway spending. When Republicans say they're prepared to raise taxes, voters are right to ask: for what? To underwrite more ineffective programs? Or to waste another $18 billion on astronaut tasting menus and Prom Week video games? Let's face it. This isn't a "revenue problem," it's a spending problem. If Congress wants to put the onus on taxpayers, then we need a starting point of fiscal responsibility. And by that, I don't mean tinkering at the edge of entitlement spending, which is what some in the GOP are proposing. I mean going back to pre-stimulus spending levels--and then dealing with revenue.
As Michael Medved points out in his new column, "[E]ven if we went back to the good old days of Clinton taxation levels but maintained our current rates of spending, we'd suffer from devastating deficits of close to $1 trillion each year... [F]ederal spending went up from 18.2% of the economy in the last year of the Clinton administration, to 20.8% in the last full year of the Bush administration, to 24.3% of the just-completed fiscal year." Congress is full of compulsive spenders who will see an influx of cash as an excuse to live even larger. At the very least, taxpayers deserve some sort of assurance that this pattern of mismanagement is being addressed. "If it's appropriate to consider reinstating Clinton-era rates of taxation," Medved asks, "why should it be unthinkable to restore Clinton era patterns of spending?"
For that to happen, Republicans would need to draw a bright line of distinction between what they are proposing as a solution to America's financial crisis and the failed economic plans of the Left. The fact that the Democratic Party (which sees government as the almighty provider) won the White House is no justification for the GOP to jettison the principles of limited government and personal responsibility.
As Americans are about to realize, this debate is about a lot more than American tax policy. This is about our fundamental view of government, and whether Republicans have the stomach--not just to slow our nation's demise--but to stop it. "What it takes is political courage," said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). And the next few weeks ought to tell us who has it.
During Revival, Media Still Atone Deaf
While America grows increasingly hostile to faith, Uganda is showing the world what can be accomplished when leaders embrace it. During the 50th anniversary of his country's independence, President Yoweri Museveni stood before the world and publicly led Uganda in a prayer of personal and national repentance. " I stand here on my own behalf and on behalf of my predecessors to repent. We ask for your forgiveness," he said. "We confess [our] sins, which have greatly hampered our national cohesion and delayed our political, social and economic transformation." After a lengthy confession that included everything from sexual immorality to pride, bitterness and rebellion, Museveni took the very powerful step of dedicating Uganda to God. "We want Uganda to be known as a nation that fears God and as a nation whose foundations are firmly rooted in righteousness and justice to fulfill what the Bible says in Psalm 33:12: Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. A people you have chosen as your own."
It was an inspirational moment for the nation, which has stood--often alone--for traditional values, abstinence, and families despite tremendous pressure from the West. "The Museveni prayer is a model for all Christian leaders in the world," Rev. Scott Lively believes. Unfortunately, the media is so threatened by religion that it refuses to leave another country alone to pursue its own views on sexuality and faith. Since Museveni's speech, the press has ridiculed Uganda for bending its knee to a higher power--the same higher power that Americans have to thank for our great nation. In times like these, President Musevni's humility should be emulated, not criticized. It is faithfulness like his that will raise Uganda's status as a new power in Africa.
** Last week, we were saddened to hear that Frank Pastore, a good friend, former major league pitcher, and Christian radio host, was involved in a serious motorcycle accident in Southern California. The crash happened days before Thanksgiving, and Frank, who has been in a coma, is still in critical condition. As many of you know, he's been the popular voice of the "Frank Pastore Show" on KKLA for years. Please join us in praying for Frank's healing and his family's comfort during this difficult time.
*** During the Thanksgiving break, FRC's Ken Klukowski managed to spare some time between turkey sandwiches to write a few columns. Don't miss "Federal Courts Split on Religious Liberty and ObamaCare," as well as his newest, "SCOTUS Reinstates ObamaCare Case: Will It Ever End?"