Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
By guest blogger Donna Cole
Since the election, the media has turned it's focus to the fiscal cliff debate and what, if any, kind of deal can be made to avoid it. I think most folks understand the basics of what is going on with this situation, if you are reading this blog you certainly do. So, MediaPolitical wants to use this post not to talk about the nuts and bolts of some deal, but to make the case why I fully believe we will go over the cliff and why President Obama is going to allow it to happen.
"On the morning of November 7, a reelected President Obama will do … nothing. For the next 53 days, nothing. And then, on January 1, 2013, we will all awake to a different, substantially more liberal country. The Bush tax cuts will have disappeared, restoring Clinton-era tax rates and flooding government coffers with revenue to fund its current operations for years to come. The military will be facing dire budget cuts that shake the military-industrial complex to its core. It will be a real-world approximation of the old liberal bumper-sticker fantasy in which schools have all the money they require and the Pentagon needs to hold a bake sale."
That was Jonathan Chait writing in New York Magazine back on October 14th about how he believes President Obama will handle the fiscal cliff negotiations. Chait's reasoning is that only once the cliff has been gone over will the Republicans be willing to make a deal that is acceptable to the President because then they will do anything to avoid what he describes. This is where Chait gets it wrong, the President has no intention of making any deal after we go over the cliff because he wants that country, and not later, but now. Some would argue that President Obama understands he cannot raise taxes this way given the state of the economy. Here is American Prospect's Jamelle Bouie writing on The Plum Line blog November 14th;
"To set the fiscal cliff aside for a moment, it should be said that, in the medium-term, it’s not enough to raise taxes on the wealthy. For the kind of government liberals want, a middle-class tax hike is inevitable. At the moment, the fragile recovery makes that a bad idea. But at sometime in the near future, ordinary Americans will have to start paying more as well."
Like Chait, Bouie got some things right, and some wrong. He is right about a middle class tax hike to afford the kind of government liberals want, but Bouie is wrong in thinking President Obama will not make that middle class tax hike right now. Obama is a socialist ideologue, he doesn't care about the state of the economy, to him the faltering economy is a product of capitalism not government. Obama believes that government is the solution, so he will not let this opportunity pass him by because he only sees these tax hikes as short term pain for long term gain. That gain being the redistributionist government of liberal dreams.
Another thing that Chait got wrong is that the President will sit around and do nothing between now and January 1st. He is doing plenty, though it is all for political cover and his deal ideas are just pretend stuff for the media to suck up and spew out. Earlier this week Mr. Obama laid out his plan to avert going over the cliff that called for $1.6 trillion dollars in tax hikes on business and the so called rich. This amount is twice as much as anyone, including the President himself, talked about before the election. President Obama knows this proposal is absurd because it is totally unacceptable to Republicans, it is not even a starting point for negotiations. It is a joke, but only Democrats are laughing.
Here is where we get to why Obama will go over the cliff. As I have previously established, the left believes all these new revenues will flood into government to fund their welfare state. They understand that only taxing the so called rich is not enough, the middle class will have to pay too. So, after the nation goes over the cliff, they will have all the money they want and they will be taxing all those needed to get it, but they will still be missing one thing. A Congress willing to pass a budget to spend all that money and the Republicans are standing in the way of that.
After the election, the Washington Post with The Pew Research Center conducted a poll on people's opinions about the fiscal cliff (and going over it). The poll showed a slim majority of Americans, 51%, didn't think a deal will be made to avoid going over the cliff, and 58% say if that happens it will be the Republicans fault, while only 29% would lay blame on the President. The same poll showed that barely half of Democrats think going over the cliff will be bad for them personally or for the larger economy, over 40% seem to think those effects will only be minor, and 31% actually believe going over will be good for the overall economy.
To sum those numbers up, the Democrat base is behind the President in going over the cliff because most either believe it will have minor effects, no effect, or be a good thing. However, the most important number there is that a month and a half away from the cliff a clear majority of Americans already blame Republicans for going over it.
One other thing to take into account here is that when we go over the cliff, on the non defense side of the budget, the President has the ability to shift around already allocated funds from future projects to fill holes created by the automatic cuts. As an example, he can take the funds from a highway project that has been approved to begin say in the fall of 2013 and simply apply them to any hole the automatic cuts make. When we get to the start date of that highway project that now has no funding, Obama can just postpone it. Most estimates I have read say he can continue funding the non-defense part of government this way through 2013, thus avoiding cuts (for a year) to any social programs that liberals hold dear. They will just have to tough it out for one year after that, but remember, pain for gain. Also, none of the automatic cuts go to Social Security or Medicare, those remain as is and untouched.
So, let's say we go over the cliff, the economy falls apart, unemployment shoots back to 10% (perhaps higher), and the nation quickly slides back into recession. The President, with the help of the Democrat's propaganda department, A.K.A. the main stream media, will spend the next two years blaming Congressional Republicans for all the nation's woes.
Now imagine going into the 2014 midterm elections with Democrat candidates not only blaming Republicans for the economic mess, but also for raising taxes on the middle class. Those Democrats could run against Republicans claiming they will cut taxes. Another thing is that by then the government will be sitting on a big pile of tax money, the Democrats will have no interest in using it pay down the debt, so they will call for using it for another stimulus to rescue the economy. Only this time much larger than before.
Here are a few other facts that bolster my case for this scenario happening. Before the election, AFL-CIO goon in chief, Richard Trumka, said the Democrats shouldn't agree to any deal with Republicans and implied going over the cliff would not be a bad thing. After the election, who did President Obama first meet with to discuss the fiscal cliff negotiations? Trumka and his other Big Labor allies. Two days after that meeting Trumka said, "There is no fiscal cliff. What we're facing is an obstacle course within a manufactured crisis that was hastily thrown together in response to inflated rhetoric about our federal deficit."
That does not sound to me like anyone looking to make any deal, and it certainly makes one wonder what was discussed at that meeting with the President. I think Trumka's statements do give one some insight into how Obama is thinking about this.
The last piece of my case is the fact Nancy Pelosi stayed on as the House minority leader. As was reported by The Fix, most political watchers thought Pelosi would step aside as leader for two main reasons. First is that she would move aside allowing others to move up in leadership and opening up the #4 leadership spot for Debbie Wasserman Shultz. Second is that the only reason for Pelosi to stay would be if she thought she had a chance to become Speaker again. The guys at The Fix reckoned this is unlikely due to Republican redistricting, thus no reason for her to stay. Pelosi staying means she thinks the Democrats have a good chance of retaking the majority. This also means she has good reason to think that. Those reasons are the ones I described before.
I hate to be the bringer of really bad news, but this is the way MediaPolitical sees it. President Obama has shown time and again he is no Bill Clinton type dealmaker, and the Democrat Party is much further to the left than they were in Clinton's era. These folks are agenda driven ideologues who don't care about the economy, hate capitalism, and are willing to cause a lot of destruction to advance progressive government. Remember, passing Obamacare was a suicide mission for many Democrats and they knew it, but they did it anyway.
In a situation like this, going over the cliff, there is good reason for Democrats to believe they can take back Congress and they only need five Senate seats to have a sixty vote filibuster proof majority. That good reason is an angry public, fueled by the liberal media, with nobody but Republicans to take that anger out on. From Obama's standpoint, he has nothing to lose going over the cliff when it is weighed against what he stands to gain. That would be two final years to go far beyond Obamacare expanding the welfare state and leaving behind a behemoth centralized government that will rule over a socialist America.
Donna Cole lives in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and writes the blog MediaPolitical. Follow her on Facebook at Donna Cole's MediaPolitical and on Twitter @MediaPolitical.