The road to the Republican Tax Debacle of 2011 was paved with good intentions. No, a two-month tax holiday does not stimulate economic growth or lower unemployment. No, a one-year extension doesn’t either. Yes, temporary tax policies do undermine economic recovery and principled long-term tax reform.
The policy motives for Republican opposition to the payroll tax extension all make sense. But they don’t make sense politically.
The political reality is that comprehensive tax and entitlement reform was never going to get done in the last two weeks of the year and won’t next year under President Obama, either. Long-term and pro-growth tax and entitlement reform has no chance of occurring till at least 2013. Republicans should be readying themselves to be in the strongest possible position when that time comes. Opposing tax cuts that put more money in the pocket of more than 130 million Americans is not the way to do that.
Furthermore, as we argued a month ago, Republicans should allow Democrats to expose the fraud that is the Social Security Trust Fund as often as possible. National Review’s Jonah Goldberg wrote yesterday:
As I understand it, the president and the Democrats have conceded a core principle. By supporting a payroll-tax holiday that will be partly paid for out of general revenues, they’ve undermined the fiction that Social Security is a pay-as-you-go program. Some liberals, such as Bernie Sanders, are very upset about this. Oddly, some conservatives acknowledge this point but make it sound like that is a bad thing … It seems to me Sanders is right to be miffed, given his ideological commitments. But I’m at a loss as to why conservatives shouldn’t be quietly celebrating this strategic blunder by the Democrats — very quietly.
We are about to head into 2012, an election year, and an important one at that. If Republicans want to maximize their gains, they must realize good short-term policy decisions are sometimes long-term political mistakes.
Around the Bigs
Human Events, Paul Ryan is Conservative of the Year: “The editors of HUMAN EVENTS are proud to name Rep. Paul Ryan as “Conservative of the Year” for 2011. The Wisconsin Republican was a favorite from the very beginning of the nomination process, not only with our editorial board but with our readers as well, for his relentless commitment to proposing bold, free-market reforms to rein in an out-of-control, ever-expanding government that is destroying the American economy. Despite the left’s vicious and unfounded attacks, Paul Ryan has pursued an agenda of limiting Washington’s control over our private property and the decisions we make, while eloquently arguing that true way out of poverty is through the benevolence of capitalist pursuits, not through the confiscatory paws of government bureaucrats.”
CNN, Economy still number-one worry: According to a CNN poll released today, the economy is still the top concern for most Americans, with 57% of the nation saying the economy is the most important issue facing the country now and 70% saying things are going badly in the country today.
The Washington Examiner, Occupiers charged with assaulting police: U.S. Park Police on Thursday arrested two Occupy DC protesters at McPherson Square on charges of assaulting two police officers. Police tazed one occupier who resisted arrest for being drunk in the park. The second protester was arrested when he charged police after the tasing incident.
The Washington Post, Medicare spending growth rising slower but enrollment will rise: Chief Medicare actuary Rick Foster reports that Medicare Part B spending dropped from its normal 4% growth to 2% this year.
Paul: Reuters has obtained a copy of a 1993 newsletter solicitation, signed by Ron Paul, which warns of a “coming race war in our big cities” and of a “federal-homosexual cover-up” to play down the impact of AIDS.
Virginia: Former Sen. Rick Santorum, Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman all failed to file enough signatures by Thursday’s deadline to appear on the March 6th primary ballot. Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich filed only 11,911 and Gingrich’s 11,050, respectively, leaving them barely over the 10,000 signature threshold. The signatures will be checked for duplicate and fraudulent signatures, which will be stricken. Mitt Romney and Ron Paul both filed over 15,000 signatures.
Romney: According to fundraising sources, Mitt Romney will raise $20 million in the fourth quarter of this year. That is almost $6 million more than he raised in the third quarter.
Gingrich: With his poll numbers collapsing nationwide, Newt Gingrich’s campaign announced Thursday he will try to reconnect with voters using “pets and music.” ABC News reports that Gingrich will soon unveil a “Pets With Newt” website aimed at showing voters a “lighter side” of Gingrich.
Christie: In a Fox News interview that aired Thursday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said that, while he never discussed a potential vice presidential role with Mitt Romney, it would still be “presumptuous” for him to turn his back on the possibility.
RedState‘s Erick Erickson says he will do everything he can to defeat Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., if she keeps pushing the Stop Online Piracy Act.
At The Corner, The Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky notes the latest voting fraud convictions in New York.
The Enterprise Blog‘s James Pethokoukis posts “the unemployment chart the Obama White House doesn’t want you to see.”
Slate‘s David Weigel attacks Politifact’s choice for Lie of the Year.