Charles Krauthammer advocates real compromise when it comes to avoiding the fiscal cliff, saying Republicans should concede to tax increases only as accompanied by cuts to discretionary and entitlement spending along with tax code reform. In his weekly Washington Post column, Krauthammer writes that Speaker Boehner and his House Republican majority shouldn’t deal as if they come to the table without a card to play. They’ll take a hit, but President Obama will suffer lasting damage to his legacy if the American economy gets hit with across-the-board tax hikes in January.
There’s been a scuffle within the GOP family about the best way to proceed here. The reality is that we have a massive and growing national debt that must be addressed. The fiscal cliff does just that – but so suddenly and substantially that it seems untenable. The better way is with a deal that steadily reduces debt but also promotes prosperity and growth.
Real cuts to discretionary spending is probably the easiest place to start politically, and the need for them should be self-evident. Some of the fiscal cliff cuts are actually a decent place to start, but a new deal could contain a smaller package of cuts and one that no longer requires the military to take on the largest proportional share of spending reductions.
Entitlement reform will be incredibly difficult to agree (especially in such a short period of time) but really it must be included – even if it is a modest, incremental change, such as the gradual raising of the age of social security eligibility, say, by one or two years over the next decade. Something that will at least begin to change the liability curve over time and prevent these programs from not only consuming an ever-greater share of the budget annually but eventually drowning us in red ink entirely. We have got to start somewhere.
In exchange for these cuts, Republicans should go along with the removal of certain exemptions from the tax code. Everything should be looked at. All things being equal, you avoid popular programs like the home mortgage interest deduction to the degree possible. You also bring to the table cuts to corporate welfare; most obviously cases like Solyndra, where economically dubious pet projects are being promoted, but handouts for other business interests as well. Scaling back exemptions and subsidies not only relieves deficits but also flattens the tax code, which should be a perennial goal for the Republican Party.
All of that is easier said than done of course, but it could be a good road map for the next month as lawmakers try to avoid walking us off this cliff we have created for ourselves.
I’m not traveling by plane this week, but if I was, I would consider taking part in Wednesday’s nation-wide resistance to the new, intrusive airport security measures now in place. The plan is to “opt-out” of the full body scans and clog the system by requiring screeners to perform the more time-consuming “enhanced pat-down.” Such plans have the flavor of civil disobedience.
Here’s video of the TSA performing at least a partial strip-search on a little boy, a scene that would surely upset many reasonable citizen bystanders. One man heard on camera observes that what is happening is “ridiculous” and “unbelievable.” While the video clip does not make clear the full set of circumstances surrounding the event, it is certainly disconcerting at first glance.
And in case you haven’t seen it already, here’s the famous footage of one John Tyner, who warned a TSA agent not to “touch my junk.” Charles Krauthammer celebrates Junk Man in his latest column for the Washington Post. Happy Thanksgiving.
P.S. Food for thought: what do you think the reaction – in the media and from partisans on either side of the aisle – would be if the previous presidential administration had instituted these new security measures?
We all need to read Krauthammer, all the time. From his latest column:
“There’s a final reason the administration’s cowardice about identifying those trying to kill us cannot be allowed to pass. It is demoralizing. It trivializes the war between jihadi barbarism and Western decency, and diminishes the memory of those (including thousands of brave Muslims — Iraqi, Pakistani, Afghan and Western) who have died fighting it.”
You don’t make friends of your enemies by making enemies of your friends. President Obama has not yet reached that point, but he seems incapable or unwilling to distinguish between ally and adversary. Here’s Charles Krauthammer‘s take on the matter, in his weekly column for the Washington Post. Unfortunately – and unsurprisingly – we’ve not heard much of this in the mainstream press.
Self-assured intellectual and moral superiority is blinding liberals to the reality of public discontent with President Obama and congressional Democrats. Why else would the president forge ahead with a stubbornly ideological and adversarial State of the Union address? How else could the party resist acknowledging the implications of Scott Brown‘s historic special election victory in Massachusetts?
Charles Krauthammer dissects the matter in Friday’s column for the Washington Post. He notes how Democrats portrayed their own opposition to President Bush as “dissent…one of the truest forms of patriotism,” while Republican resistance to the current majority is labeled “obstruction” arising from “nihlistic malice.” How true….
This week, Charles Krauthammer delivered a lecture reviewing President Barack Obama‘s first year in office. His remarks focused on the administration’s foreign policy strategy (in its generalities and particulars) and its results.
If you watch any political programming on tv, this is something you should watch. As always, the speaker’s thoughts are substantial and devastatingly poignant. So carve out half an hour of your weekend, and check it out.
The event is the Heritage Foundation’s annual Margaret Thatcher Freedom Lecture. Krauthammer’s speech: The Age of Obama, Anno Domini 2.
Charles Krauthammer comments today on the latest developments in the nation’s fight against Islamic terrorism (or, “the war on terror” if you prefer). Obama continues to make mistakes, but Krauthammer commends two decisions the president made in the wake of the Christmas Day attack:
“To be sure, after a few initial misguided statements, Obama did get somewhat serious about the Christmas Day attack. First, he instituted high-level special screening for passengers from 14 countries, the vast majority of which are Muslim with significant Islamist elements. This is the first rational step away from today’s idiotic random screening and toward, yes, a measure of profiling — i.e., focusing on the population most overwhelmingly likely to be harboring a suicide bomber.
Obama also sensibly suspended all transfers of Yemenis from Guantanamo. Nonetheless, Obama insisted on repeating his determination to close the prison, invoking his usual rationale of eliminating a rallying cry and recruiting tool for al-Qaeda.” (Emphasis added).
Well said, as usual.
The terrorist threat is not going away anytime soon. But if we take it seriously – more seriously than we do our own pious, aggrandized notions of what it means to be liberal and pluralist – then we can and will defend ourselves with great success and continue to diminish the enemy over time.