By now, we have all heard the rumor that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell laughed out loud when President Obama’s Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner laid out his proposal for “solving” the issue of the fiscal cliff. From what I can gather about the proposal, it is certainly laughable. $50 billion in new spending, $1.6 trillion in tax hikes, and only promises of addressing spending in the future. And don’t forget, Obama also wants to tie this all to an increase of the debt ceiling, as well as taking that authority from Congress and into his own hands. Oh, they would be able to override his decision, but only with a two-thirds majority. Surely, he is jesting.
Some observers believe a deal has already been struck. Read Sentry Journal for more on that. I’m not sure I agree, but one can not help but wonder at the ridiculous proposal put forward by the Obama administration. I realize some Republicans have signaled they are ready to break ranks and abandon their pledge to not raise taxes, if the right deal is offered, but surely the Obama administration does not believe the Republicans would not be stupid enough to agree to something this silly. It would be the equivalent of going to the negotiating table and giving our opponent everything they asked for and expecting nothing in return. I don’t care if the media does castigate the GOP for causing untold suffering and giving the middle class a lump of coal for Christmas, they should not agree to anything that remotely resembles this proposal.
To the question at hand, should we Republicans take President Obama seriously on the fiscal cliff? I would be interested in hearing what you think about that. Should we call his bluff and force his hand? I have read varying opinions on that. They range from Obama not wanting a real compromise because he has every intention of driving America off the fiscal cliff, to how careful we need to be to make sure we negate the blame that will be assuredly thrown in our direction. Personally, considering Obama’s first proposal (I know I keep coming back to that, but it’s just so obviously overboard), we should break out our poker face and see just how far he is willing to push the mandate he thinks he gained from the election.
Let me put it this way. I am tired of the political games Obama is playing and the campaign of rhetoric he is using to push the idea that raising $1.6 trillion in taxes is the only possible solution to solving our financial issues. I am coming to the opinion that it would not be an entirely bad idea to refuse to even negotiate with Obama until he comes up with a credible proposal to cut spending. Any deal that may be struck between now and the end of 2012 has to include spending cuts that are in the here and now, not years in the future. Unless that happens, I’m not willing to take Obama seriously when he talks about solving America’s fiscal problems.