Misreading the Fiscal Cliff: No one, including Republicans, is focusing on the right issues

Michael Tanner at National Review says what our GOP leaders would say if they had any sense and understood communications:

The fiscal cliff is now less than six weeks away. Negotiators are reportedly locked away behind closed doors working on a grand bargain to avoid the tax hikes and spending cuts that will hit on January 1. Most of the debate so far has centered on how best to raise taxes on the wealthy: whether to increase tax rates, as the president demands, or eliminate deductions and loopholes, as some Republicans seem to be open to considering. Unfortunately, these priorities are almost entirely upside down.

Therefore, let me offer some unsolicited advice for the negotiators:

Here are a few lines put into bullet points by me:

  • You can’t hike taxes on the rich enough to balance the budget.
  • Arguing about what taxes should be raised is a distraction from the real issues.
  • That’s because we have a spending problem.
  • [Obama’s] spending cuts are not real cuts, in the sense of less money being spent, but simply reductions in the baseline rate of increase.
  • The real issue is the size of government.

One more paragraph:

Any grand bargain, therefore, must include significant reductions in government spending. These cuts must be real, actual cuts, not just reductions in the rate of growth, and must occur now, not in the “out years.” They should include structural reforms to deal with the insolvency of Social Security and Medicare.

Read the entire article…