Club for Growth's Chocola: Obama Has 'Perverted Sense of Fairness'

Wednesday, 05 Dec 2012 06:51 PM

By Jim Meyers and Kathleen Walter

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Club for Growth President Chris Chocola tells Newsmax that President Obama has a “perverted sense of fairness” when it comes to negotiations on the fiscal cliff, and may in fact want to drive the nation over that cliff.

Chocola is also critical of House Speaker John Boehner’s fiscal cliff proposal, saying it increases the tax burden without spurring economic growth.

Story continues below video.


And he warns that many people will be “very upset” if Republicans vote for tax increases and those lawmakers could face a primary challenge as a result.

Editor’s Note: Who’s to Blame for the Fiscal Cliff? Vote Here!

Club for Growth is a fiscally conservative political organization that supports a low-tax and limited-government agenda. Chocola became president of the group in 2009. Before that he served two terms as a U.S. congressman from Indiana.

President Obama insists on raising taxes on wealthier Americans, but now says he is willing to consider cuts to entitlement programs. In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV on Wednesday, Chocola was asked if he believes Obama really wants to compromise or is intent on taking the country over the fiscal cliff of tax hikes and mandatory spending cuts.

“The president has a perverted sense of fairness. He wants to raise taxes on the top 2 percent or those earning over $250,000 even though the math doesn’t work,” he says.
“If we do what the president wants us to do, we’d solve less than 8 percent of our annual deficit.

“I’m not convinced that the president doesn’t want to go off the cliff. If he’s wedded to the political point of raising taxes just to say he did, he’s not living up to his responsibility to address the debt and the deficit.

“I hope someone in Washington does and I hope it’s the Republicans that stand firm and not compromise to the point where they’re just simply engaging in a political act rather than a policy position that actually starts to get us down the road to fiscal sanity.”

Speaker Boehner has put forth a fiscal cliff proposal that raises $800 billion in new revenue by closing loopholes and deductions but would not raise tax rates on top earners. The plan has come under fire from not just the White House but also some conservatives. Chocola disapproves of the plan as well.

“From what I understand from the Boehner plan, it’s not pro-growth,” he says.

“At the Club for Growth, we tend to judge things on whether it’s pro-growth or not. We’re fine with additional revenue that is derived from economic growth. If you had true pro-growth tax reform, the economy would grow and that would result in more revenue and that would be fine.

“But Boehner’s proposal so far doesn’t have the pro-growth element of reducing marginal tax rates. It simply closes deductions, loopholes, credits, and that alone is anti-growth.

You’re simply increasing the tax burden on Americans without any offset that would spur economic growth.

Editor’s Note: Who’s to Blame for the Fiscal Cliff? Vote Here!

“So I don’t think that his current proposal is something conservatives should support. But I hope there is a way the president and Congress can find to look at the problem as it exists and start to attack our debt and deficit.”

Chocola was asked if his group would oppose any Republican who signs on to a deal that raises taxes.

“Every race that we look at, we have to have a better alternative,” he responds.

“If we challenge an incumbent, we want to make sure we’re for a stronger challenger and that [candidate] would be better at supporting a pro-growth agenda more consistently and more enthusiastically.

“The reality is that if Republicans vote for tax increases, if they compromise on a solution that does nothing really to solve the fiscal challenges our country faces, then the Club for Growth’s going to be the least of their worries. A lot of Republicans, a lot of conservatives are going to be very disappointed in that. It will probably inspire people to run against those types of Republicans that aren’t willing to stand for the principles that Republicans are supposed to stand for.

“We’ll look at those types of races but it’s going to be a lot more than the Club for Growth that they need to worry about because a lot of people will be very upset.”

President Obama in a speech on Wednesday stressed the need to raise the debt ceiling, and [Treasury Secretary] Tim Geithner recently stated that debt ceiling powers should be taken away from Congress.

Chocola comments: “I’m very worried if [Congress loses] those powers. It’s the responsibility of Congress and I don’t see any scenario in which Congress should give up that power.

“We have to get responsible behavior in return for any increase in the debt ceiling. President Obama very much dislikes having to negotiate with Congress on anything, especially the debt ceiling. We have to get to a point where we don’t have to raise the debt ceiling anymore — in fact, we start to pay off our debt. And the only way you do that is through a pro-growth approach.

“The thing that’s going to kill is our unfunded liabilities. We have over $80 trillion of unfunded liabilities, primarily in things like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. And it doesn’t seem that the president or the administration is all that serious about trying to tackle these things. He’s done nothing serious to do that.

“So we’ve got a lot of challenges and it’s all very concerning because there doesn’t seem to be the political will to do the hard things. And really this fiscal cliff is a little bit of a bump in the road when you consider the bigger problems that we face with entitlements, and any solution to the fiscal cliff that does not start to address our entitlement problems and put reforms in place, then it’s really a very shortsighted approach and does nothing to solve the bigger problems that we all face.”

Editor’s Note: Who’s to Blame for the Fiscal Cliff? Vote Here!

In his exclusive Newsmax interview, Chocola also says it’s a “big mistake” for Speaker Boehner to remove several conservatives from committee seats — although their removal could prove to be “good news” in the end.

And he explains why the Club for Growth does not support the Republican who plans to run in 2014 for the seat held by Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller.

See more from our exclusive interview with Chris Chocola:

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