Sunday, December 30, 2012

Let's Go Cliff Diving!

I have tried to ignore this story as part of my post-election funk, but now it can no longer be avoided. So here's my take.

I don't care if we go over the so-called Fiscal Cliff. In fact, I think it is preferable to many of the alternatives being kicked around.

Republicans need to hold fast to the first principle that raising taxes on anyone will hurt the economy
This is particularly true when the taxpayer is also an employer.

If taxes are to go up, they should go up on everyone.  Yes, even those making less than $250k.  While  we are at it, let's get rid of income tax credits that allow a large chunk of the population to pay nothing whatsoever.  Let the working poor pay some nominal amount so that they have some skin in the game.

This is the only way that Americans can internalize or even comprehend the true cost of the behemoth government that at present, somebody else is paying for.  Once big government is no longer free, smaller government will look better and better to more of the electorate.  This is the only way Republicans can win.

Going over the Fiscal Cliff, of course, has other consequences, but they are not insurmountable,

You don't like the price of milk doubling? Welcome to the world of government interfering with free markets.

Unemployment benefits would end.  That is certainly a frightening prospect for many.  But truth be told, unemployment is designed to be temporary; these benefits have been extended so many times that they have morphed into welfare. We need to be honest about this fact.

The military will face cuts. Republicans need to acknowledge that there is plenty of fat in the Department of Defense budget.  Our focus should not be on protecting the Pentagon from cuts but rather to make the cuts in the right places.

While we are at it, i like Sen. Rand Paul's idea of cutting aid to countries who want to destroy us. And it's time to resurrect Ronald Reagan's idea that whole federal departments need to be cut, from the cabinet level on down; just abolish them.  Reagan singled out the Departments of Energy and Education; we should look critically at each department to make sure that it serves a function that only the federal government can do.

This will hurt the booming housing market in the District of Columbia -- as with the Hunger Games, things are different in the Capitol --but for most of America, the absence of these bureaucracies will make little difference.

Will going over the Fiscal Cliff hurt?  Yes, it will be brutal.  So is having one's wisdom teeth removed. The pain we will experience if allow taxes to go up on everyone is nothing compared to the pain we can forestall by finally reducing the size of government.

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