“Every Republican officeholder and candidate in the country should have two words tattooed on their hands; growth and opportunity.”
Those are the reasons U.S. Senator Ted Cruz gave for introducing his ‘Restore Growth First – Defund Obamacare’ amendment to the continuing resolution to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year. Cruz seeks to frame the conversation emphasizing that restoring economic growth from the current average of 0.8% to the historical average of 3.3% will go a long way toward solving our unemployment problem, balancing our budget and preserving our military strength. Cruz understands that Obamacare will accentuate our economic difficulties. Attendant issues are forcing employers to cancel coverage as a result of rising premiums and limit employee hours to escape coverage mandates. As such, Cruz proposes to postpone funding Obamacare at least until our economy begins to grow again.
Yet, Cruz is a realist understanding that when there are 55 Democrats in the U.S. Senate “emphatically in favor of Obamacare,” the likelihood of passing such legislation is slim. Nonetheless, Cruz is pressing on as part of a broader effort to turn the conversation to issues that benefit Republicans, and Americans! Cruz wants Obamacare to be part of a broader conversation about tax and regulatory reform and the burdens government is placing on small business. Cruz is offering his amendment in no small part so that an amended continuing resolution will return to the House of Representatives and force Republican leadership to revisit their decision to re-authorize the Obama-Pelosi-Reid budget of 2009 that the federal government is continuing to operate under. Cruz understands that visiting these issues at every availability will shift the topics of conversation from gun control and immigration to those of interest; not only by grassroots activists who have been leading the fight against Obamacare but also unaffiliated less partisan voters.
GOP House “Leadership” caused a stir over the weekend when they suggested they would continue passing legislation without the support of a majority of their caucus. Republicans across the country would do well to follow the advice of the Pied Piper. Republican politicians and political operatives might be pleasantly surprised to discover that when you distinguish yourself from your political opponents by word and by deed, people will follow.
— FreedomWorks (@FreedomWorks) March 11, 2013
Lessons For Republican Politicians and Political Operatives
Like the emperor in the Hans Christian Andersen fable, our modern day emperor parades before his subjects shrouded in a cloak of fantasy. He tells us the economy is “built to last” and yet it does not grow. He tells us HE “created six million new jobs” when the Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms hardly any have been created and nearly 10 million of his subjects have left the workforce.
The emperor sows the seeds of resentment by proclaiming that he wants to raise taxes on “millionaires and billionaires” and forgets to tell everyone earning a paycheck that their payroll taxes will rise. He does this, in part, to offset tax breaks for favored “millionaires and billionaires” and sweeps tax increases on health insurance, medical devices, income, investment, retirement and death under the rug.
The emperor promised that “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan, period.” Apparently, the emperor forgot to tell Universal Orlando, one of many businesses cancelling health insurance coverage for part-time workers or converting full-time staff to part-time staff to avoid the requirement of providing health insurance coverage. The emperor forgot to tell his subjects that many will be forced to ‘trade up’ to more expensive health insurance plans that include many “free” preventative services often omitted from the less expensive catastrophic health insurance plans they are currently enrolled in.
The emperor tells his subjects that “we’ve already agreed to more than $2 trillion in cuts and savings” when he knows that the inclusion of his 2009 “temporary stimulus” in the federal budget baseline is largely the reason the country is running trillion dollar annual deficits. The emperor claims to advocate a “balanced approach” to balancing the budget, yet strains to find $44 billion in spending cuts notwithstanding that his own auditor finds $125 billion in annual waste.
The emperor seeks to distract us by foisting ‘immigration reform’ to the top of the national agenda. He promises to secure our nation’s borders ‘this time’ despite testimony that “the Department of Homeland Security no longer uses control of the actual border as a measure of how well the Border Patrol is doing its job.” In fact, the emperor just busted 2000 criminal illegal aliens out of jail in an effort to “save money.”
Yet, the subjects re-elected their emperor largely because his opposition did not push back forcefully enough and expose these myths. What happens when Republicans in Congress raise taxes in the dead of night? Or when a swing state Republican governor signs the largest tax increase in his state’s history into law? Or even worse, Congressional Republicans and Republican governors across the country agree to fund a dramatic expansion of Medicaid under the emperor’s unpopular health insurance law, and a Republican United States Senator and a self-proclaimed fiscal hawk makes a campaign contribution to a liberal Democrat who supports the emperor’s legislative agenda? Republicans dilute their opposition to the emperor’s message of higher taxes, increased regulation and an ever more expansive federal government. As a result, more voters, especially those in states without clear partisan majorities, become less inclined to support Republican candidates since they do not see them supporting clearly articulated principles.
This brings us to Dr Benjamin Carson. Dr. Carson is a world renown pediatric neurosurgeon. He is not a politician or political operative. Nonetheless, the speech that he delivered to a room full of the country’s political elite received dramatic acclaim including over 500,000 views on YouTube, approximately the same number who viewed the emperor’s recent address to Congress.
In a calm and rational tone with the emperor seated two chairs to his right, Dr. Carson spoke of the dangers of moral relativism and political correctness. While the emperor speaks of throwing good money after bad in failing public school systems, he promotes his charitable foundation which builds libraries in schools that have none. He also describes the virtues of family, hard work and personal responsibility crediting all three for his resultant success. While the emperor promotes the expansion of government to ease the burdens many face in life, Dr. Carson promotes personal responsibility teaching that overcoming such obstacles makes people stronger. While the emperor promotes the dramatic growth of the welfare state through his unpopular health insurance law, He articulates the virtues and the feasibility of free market solutions. Dr. Carson admonishes the emperor for all the debt he has accumulated and reproaches the emperor for the seeds of envy that he sows. Dr. Carson expounds on the biblical origins of the fairest system of taxation, one in which everyone pays at an equal rate.
He does not claim to have all the answers and readily admits that several of his ideas might need “tweaking.” Yet, without imposing ideological rigidity or seeking to craft solutions that protect political interest groups, Dr. Carson has lowered the mask on the carnage the emperor has wreaked over the past four years. The author of a book titled “America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great” presents an optimistic and specific vision about how to restore America’s greatness. He does not seek to tear us down and divide us like the emperor, nor does he craft solutions with an eye toward being able to point fingers and ascribe blame as some political strategists do. Like a scientist and a surgeon, he seeks to solve problems and heal a nation.
Washington politicians denigrate the Tea Party movement as uncouth. Yet, it attracts millions of followers because many do not feel their voices are represented in our nation’s capital. Dr. Carson spoke to half a million of us. Imagine how many more would listen if our nation’s leaders started whistling his tune.
— FreedomWorks (@FreedomWorks) March 5, 2013
A flat tax rate on all income regardless of source will shift the discussion to spending and end the politics of envy
There is a legend that after being knocked around early in his career, Hall of Famer Bill Russell was advised by storied basketball coach Red Auerbach to throw an elbow in a nationally televised game to send a message to his adversaries.
President Obama has thrown the Republican Party off its game. House Republicans passed the first tax increase in the history of Republican controlled Congresses. Rather than respond with substantial sweeping proposals to cut spending, House Republicans passed a “baby step”, attempting to “force” the Senate to pass its first budget in four years, a measure Democrat Senate leader Chuck Schumer gleefully promised would include further tax increases and new spending proposals. When President Obama declared in his inaugural address that “we do not believe that in this country freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few”, he signalled that he continues to view class struggle as the raison d’etre of his administration.
If the Republican Party does not want to be the doormat of President Obama’s second term, they need to throw a metaphorical elbow and stand up to the President. While liberals have suggested President Obama’s mission should be the destruction of the Republican Party, the goal of Republicans should be the elimination of class envy and economic division from our political discourse. Without the ability to fan the flames of class envy and economic division, Democrats will be forced to stoke the embers of a less popular liberal social agenda. By embracing a flat tax regardless of whether Democrats would endorse such a measure, Republicans will signal they no longer wish to play politics by rules set by liberal Democrats.
The economic virtues of the flat tax are well established. Its political virtues are often ignored. The political power of the flat tax is often why Democrats fight it so hard. Political outsider Herman Cain vaulted to the lead in the Republican presidential primary process based on the power of his flat tax proposal. So powerful is the idea that every Republican presidential candidate in 2012 (except the eventual nominee) endorsed a significant flattening of income tax rates and simplifying the tax code. Republican House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan endorses a significant flattening of income tax rates in his Path to Prosperity. While these proposals are a step in the right direction, endorsing a flat income tax rate no matter the source of the income will allow Republicans to claim the mantle of ending the Marxist politics of class envy and economic division.
For years, the mother’s milk of Democrat politics has been to fan the flames of class envy and economic division. In President Obama, Democrats have an ideologue who is more successful at playing this game than any of his predecessors. Americans collecting disability insurance and food stamps are at record levels. Nearly 1 in 6 Americans live in poverty. When Mitt Romney talks about the 47% of Americans who receive government benefits, Americans who receive these benefits worry that Republicans plan to cut their lifeline. Talk of growth and opportunity becomes an abstraction because nearly half of our fellow citizens do not pay our country’s bills. With the growth of public debt skyrocketing to unprecedented levels, conservatives appreciate this course is unsustainable.
Despite such stark economic conditions, Republicans face a political problem. With a record number of Americans having left the workforce and relying on public benefits, President Obama has expanded the base of reliably Democrat voters. Since most of these voters do not pay for the benefits they receive, they have little incentive to change the system.
Republicans face an additional political problem. Democrats have successfully mocked Republican proposals to cut taxes in order to spur economic growth by equating them with eating chicken soup when you feel ill. Even if Mitt Romney had endorsed a flat tax proposal similar to the one suggested by his running mate, Democrats would have continued to fan the flames of class envy and economic division because people who earn capital gains and dividends pay taxes at a preferential rate.
Consequently, if Republicans want to stop being characterized as the party of “the rich” and become the party of “the country”, they need to endorse a flat income tax on all income regardless of source so everyone has equal “skin in the game”. Supporters of President Obama were shocked and appalled when their payroll tax withholding rose as a consequence of the recent ‘fiscal cliff’ law. Perhaps they would have been even more outraged had they learned that the tax increase President Obama’s auto-pen signed into law was used to subsidize tax breaks for Hollywood, NASCAR, Goldman Sachs and Puerto Rican rum distillers to name a few. This is one reason why Democrat pollster Pat Caddell suggests 3/4 of Americans believe their country no longer operates by the consent of the governed. Not only would Republicans be rewarded politically for supporting a ‘we are all in this together approach’ to tax policy, but a flat tax rate would help shift the focus of national debate from taxes to spending.
Republican presidential candidates were chastised for their unwillingness to support a 10:1 ratio of spending cuts to tax increases. Yet, Congress passed a law that arguably cut taxes and increased spending by an inverse 1:10 ratio. If everyone actually paid income tax much less at the same rate, voters’ interest in how Congress spends taxpayer money would increase dramatically. The political conversation would shift from income redistribution through a progressive income tax structure, government subsidies and spending programs to how much do we really want to spend and how much do we need to tax everyone to do it.
President Obama will raise a quarter of a trillion dollars in new taxes in 2013. Each of these new taxes affects a different subset of taxpayers. As a result, President Obama has been able to set taxpayers, Americans, against one another. It is an Alinsky-style strategy of divide and conquer. Unfortunately, it has worked! Republicans need to fight back and propose a system for funding our shared obligations that unites Americans and respects our traditions. Otherwise, who knows where America will be in 2016.
— FreedomWorks (@FreedomWorks) January 29, 2013
Taxes hikes are a distraction. It is all about spending.
Barack Obama is a master magician. The great ones keep your attention focused on their right hand while they pick your pocket with their left. For a lawyer who voluntarily surrendered his law license, Barack Obama has proven an exceptional ability to frame the public debate.
When presenting the administration’s “fiscal cliff” proposal to Congress, Treasury Secretary Geithner asked for three things; taxes, spending and executive authority to unilaterally raise the debt limit. In reply, House GOP “Leadership” acquiesced agreeing to cap deductions including the mortgage interest deduction effectively raising taxes. Barack Obama proposes to raise taxes to cover eight days of government spending. The Republicans countered with four. Both parties claim to be raising “revenue” and not levying taxes.
House “Leadership” claims to promote fiscal restraint while removing fiscal hawks from key leadership positions. The Democrat Senate does not pass a budget for three years while quietly incorporating the 2009 Obama “stimulus” into the spending baseline thereby enacting a permanent stimulus. By claiming that “it’s time to rip the Band-Aid off and reach a deal” or “it won’t kill the country if we raise taxes a little bit on millionaires,” Republicans are validating the virtue of these new spending levels and relinquishing their mantle as the party of low taxes and limited government.
While some have suggested Obama’s objective is to “kill” the Republican Party by forcing it to relinquish its core principles, the “tell” to Obama’s principal goal is Treasury Secretary Geithner’s proposal to “lift the debt limit to infinity.” Obama understands the only leverage fiscal conservatives have at forcing any measure of spending restraint or entitlement reform is through debt limit negotiations. Obama has not presented any spending cuts during “fiscal cliff” “negotiations” because they are not in his political interest. If Republicans agree to raise taxes, Obama forces them to go back on their pledge and achieves a political “win”. If Republicans hold firm on their principles, Obama gets massive tax hikes on everyone to pay for increased spending. Obama is buying ad time to try and force the Republicans’ hands, something conservative talk show host Mark Levin suggested Republicans do to explain the virtue of cutting spending and not raising taxes.
The only way Republicans regain the upper hand is to hold firm to their principals, articulate their position and exert their leverage at the upcoming debt limit negotiations. Capitulation will hurt the country as Obama has demonstrated an unwillingness to cut spending and proposed tax hikes will cover little current spending. Moreover, members who capitulate will pay a heavy political price as they will force conservatives into open revolt.
— FreedomWorks (@FreedomWorks) December 4, 2012
Turn on cable news and you hear Democrats and an ever increasing chorus of Republicans cheer about our need to raise “revenue”. Revenue usually refers to income or earnings, the profit or proceeds from the sale of good or services or one’s labor. It does not often refer to taxes or levies. Yet there go the politicians claiming their entitlement to an ever increasing slice of the proceeds of our work as their reward. Language aside, it seems instructive to ask, what do they really need the money for? Maybe we really do need to pony up for the good of the country. Maybe all we need is a few of those “rich” fellas to kick in a little more.
It turns out that “one time” ‘we have do this since we face the worst economic crisis since the great depression’ “stimulus” is the new federal baseline. In other words, our government has been spending the equivalent of a trillion dollar “stimulus” every year since Barack Obama took office. While it is no surprise our government has been running trillion+ dollar deficits year after year after year, by endorsing the idea that our government needs to collect more “revenue” to pay for this increased spending, politicians are endorsing the belief that we need to continue spending at this increased rate!
Some Republican politicians have suggested that “it’s time to rip the Band-Aid off and reach a deal.” Other Republican pundits have decried that it “won’t kill the country if we raise taxes a little bit on millionaires.” In fact, raising taxes on the “rich” as Obama has suggested would fund the federal government for a grand total of 8 days at current spending levels. While raising taxes on the “rich” may not “kill the country,” it will not help it much either. What it might do however, is “kill” the Republican Party which will lose its mantle as the party of low taxes and limited government. Further, it will immunize President Obama and Congressional Democrats from blame when the 8 days of new government funding does little to balance the budget or improve the economy.
Though promising voters they would not vote to raise their taxes, some Republican politicians have suggested “the world has changed” from the time they signed their pledge. Yet, some have remarked that “if politicians won’t keep their word when they sign their names, what use is what they say when they don’t?” The pledge is not a promise politicians made to some “purist” who runs an advocacy group, the pledge is a promise politicians made to the constituents who elected them. That is the fidelity that is being broken when politicians go back on their word.
Where can we begin making serious spending cuts? I challenge GOP lawmakers to read the House Republican Study Committee’s Spending Reduction Act of 2011. It lays out $2.5 trillion in cuts to federal programs most taxpayers have never heard of. This is without even discussing cuts to so-called entitlement programs which conservatives understand need to be reformed.
Rather than increase income tax rates, some Republicans have proposed curtailing deductions on mortgage interest, state and local taxes, and charitable contributions. Ignoring the semantics that eliminating a deduction on which a taxpayer relies is the functional equivalent of raising his income tax rate, decreasing the deduction taxpayers are allowed for mortgage interest will further depress housing prices in an already depressed housing market. Reducing the ability of taxpayers to deduct state and local taxes will amount to double taxation as some of those taxes are taxes on income. Reducing or eliminating the deduction for charitable contributions will result in considerably less holiday cheer for many charitable institutions.
Throughout the year, Tea Partiers traveled to Wisconsin to help a governor survive a recall election in a state that they do not live in. They traveled to Texas in the sweltering summer sun helping to ensure we “extremists” had representation in DC. Many more traveled to Ohio and Virginia because we appreciate that all elections are important as the votes of every politician effect us all. We know who is up for re-election in two years. We are watching and we are coming!
A former teacher and fellow blogger started a tradition in her classroom called Thankful Thursday. She did this because “gratitude is a gift.” She wrote, in part,
We need to talk about gratitude more in this country – in our families, in our schools, in our political discussions, in general. The more we recognize how lucky we are for the simple gift of individual liberty or to live under the Constitution, the more opportunities we have to spread the message that it is our job, as citizens and voters, to protect what we are so grateful for.
I was reminded of this the other day when I received an email from a fellow activist. This activist organized fellow patriots from Texas and Tennessee to write personal letters to voters in Virginia and to travel to that state to knock on doors in an effort to persuade voters. In fact, the activist and her 300 fellow volunteers wrote 53,000 such letters and spent nine weekends on the ground in Virginia, on their own dime! As she wrote,
We didn’t have millions of dollars or a Washington office full of highly-paid consultants. We saw a need to help save Virginia and we did everything in our power to do that.
This is what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving and what inspires me for the future. Over the past few years, activists like this woman have seen what is happening and have stepped forward to save our country. We are a growing movement that will not be deterred. As she concluded,
Because of what we accomplished with such few resources, I have hope for America. I have hope that sometime in the future that you will answer the call again. And that next time, more will join us in the fight and we will be victorious! They will be encouraged by our commitment and unwillingness to give up. We can take comfort that only 25% of the American colonists were committed to freedom and single-handedly changed the course of human history.
I have hope too! Happy Thanksgiving!
— FreedomWorks (@FreedomWorks) November 21, 2012
Like you, I was deeply disappointed by the results of last week’s election. It’s taken me a few days to write this message to you. However, you’ve not been far from my thoughts.
As soon as the outcome of the election was apparent, every red-blooded conservative in the country asked, “How did that happen? How could we have lost?”
Most all of us have a fairly long list of what should have happened or what should have been executed better and even what needs to happen next time. And those are all important discussions. However, I wanted all of you to take solace in the fact that you made an important contribution. You Answered The Call. There are continually reasons to not participate in this fight for our nation. You ignored all those obstacles and participated at a greater level than most conservatives in America.
Do you realize what we accomplished together? You wrote more personal postcards than had ever been written in a single effort….ever! Over 53,000! You traveled to Virginia to tirelessly canvass the homes of undecided voters for 9 weekends. Over 300 conservatives from Texas and Tennessee! This was the largest, independent Get-Out-The-Vote effort of red-state activists travelling to a battleground state…..ever! Can you believe that we did that together? We didn’t have Millions of Dollars or have a Washington office full of highly-paid consultants. We saw a need to help save Virginia and we did everything in our power to do that. You Answered The Call.
Because of what we accomplished on so little resources, I have hope for America. I have hope that sometime in the future that you will answer the call again. And that next time, more will join us in the fight and we will be victorious! They will be encouraged by our commitment and unwillingness to give up. We can take comfort that only 25% of the American colonists were committed to freedom and single-handedly changed the course of human history. We know in the Bible, God mostly chose a small contingent to accomplish His work. We don’t need an overwhelming army for God to do His mighty work in America. We just need patriots that will answer the call.
Thank you for answering the call in Virginia. I pray that you will be ready to fight for freedom again.
I can’t thank each of you enough for your efforts. And, thank you for being such an encouragement to me.
God Bless You and May God Bless America.
Volunteers for Virginia – Co-Organizer