Just before midnight on Thursday the House voted on the massive new legislation that will extend the infamous Bush Tax Cuts for another two years and extend unemployment benefits for many of the jobless across the country. The vote, among other things, forced me to re-write my weekly column. No sooner had the ink dried on my column, which took to task the many elected officials who were still supporting a ridiculous litany of earmarks, a vote was passed with much more favorable terms.
Republicans are giddy, and with some reason, although I don't think there is anything to get too euphoric over here. The bill's cost is $858 billion and it will all be borrowed and piled onto the steaming heap we all refer to fondly as our "National Debt". More accurately, it is the debt of our children and grandchildren, a transgression we will all have to reckon with on our own terms at some future date.
Still, it was a bi-partisan effort and it includes many terms favorable to finally stabilizing our economy. Changes to Capital Gains that will aid working families and small businesses. Changes to the Estate Tax, a financial resource that liberals practically drool over. It bridles the governments natural desire to come in after a death and clean out the check book. These are all good things.
Moreover, the message sent across the country at the polls in November seems to have actually, possibly, resonated in Washington. I believe we can thank the Tea Party movement for this. In my deleted column I had complained that many of the new comers, though not yet yielding votes, had been rather quiet about the incredible load of earmarks tucked into this legislation. Two hundred grand to "study" maple syrup in Vermont. Three million for a Polynesian Rowing Museum in Hawaii. No...I'm not making it up. It is exactly this kind of insipid spending that has millions of Americans foaming at the mouth. I was happy to receive an email from Kelly Ayotte's headquarters late last night that she, along with eleven other GOP Senate-elects, had sent a letter to President Obama excoriating the pork barrel spending. Good stuff. Finally. Could the line-item veto actually be a possibility in 2012?
None of it is coincidence and every American who attended a Tea Party gathering or voted for a Tea Party-supported candidate should be proud. Your voice was heard. Politicians are finally being held accountable and the November blood-bath is the sole reason. Ensconced politicians were thrown to the curb. That gets some attention on The Hill. Imperative now that we stay focused and be sure the trend continues.
Democrats are largely split on this bill and Obama is losing some supporters, but even he realized he was boxed in here. Not since Herbert Hoover have taxes been raised during a deep recession and we need look no further than the history books to see how that worked for us. Businesses across the country are looking for some sign of stability. This may give them a ray of hope.
I know I'm relieved, just a little, to know that there will not be a tax increase on January 1st. More important, at least for me, is that it is accompanied by a serious effort to reduce spending. The earmarks are a good place to start. But as incoming House Speaker "Weepy John Boehner" pointed out, there is still a long way to go if we want to pull this economy out of the hole, and that means much more significant cuts in spending. We need to go through the ledger the way a new CEO does when he comes in to turn a business around. You don't cut with a scalpel, you cut with a chainsaw.
It's a step in the right direction...a nod to the rising tide of disenchantment with bloated government, and reason enough to have hope. Don't forget, though...it's another trillion bucks on the Chinese Credit Card. Merry Christmas.
Posted in entirety with permission from the author