Thursday, January 3, 2013

Temporary Fiscal Cliff Compromise Full of Pork, Tax Hikes and Spending Increases

Congressional Republicans caved in to the Democrats this week, surrendering their principles in order to pass a bill that merely delays the looming fiscal cliff by two months. This is the first time Republicans have voted for a tax increase in 20 years. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) strong-armed Republican members of the House into supporting it, no doubt by threatening them with loss of their committee positions should they dare to oppose it. The Wall Street Journal described the massive sellout in an editorial, “The Senate-White House compromise grudgingly passed by the House is a Beltway classic: the biggest tax increase in 20 years in return for spending increases, and all spun for political purposes as a ‘tax cut for the middle class.’"
Members of the Senate received the 154-page bill only three minutes before voting on it, not enough time to actually read it. The bill is full of pork unrelated to fixing the fiscal cliff. It contains $59 million for algae growers, in order to encourage the production of environmentally correct biofuel. Electric motorcycle manufacturers are given a $4 million green energy tax credit, and there is a wind tax credit for $12.1 billion. $430 million is awarded to Hollywood producers to expense up to $15 million of their project costs. Another $70 million in pork is designated for NASCAR, and a rum tax subsidy for Puerto Rican rum makers.
Only eight Senators voted no on the Senate's fiscal cliff plan. The five principled Republicans who stood up to the Democrats were Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rand Paul (R-KY), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Richard Shelby (R-AL). The House voted to pass it by 257-167. Some of the House Republicans deceitfully only voted against the bill when they knew it would safely pass without their yes votes, including Majority leader Eric Cantor and Whip Kevin McCarthy.

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