Ronald Kessler reporting from Washington, D.C.
— After his party suffered what he called a “shellacking” in the 2010 congressional election, a pensive and introspective President Obama said he took responsibility for failing to make good on his promise to change the way Washington works.
In fact, just after the GOP won back six Senate seats and 63 seats and the majority in the House of Representatives, Obama promised to search for common ground with the GOP on tax cuts.
Now we are hearing the same thing from Obama, and House Speaker John Boehner is drawing a line in the sand. In a press conference, Boehner said he will not support raising the top two income tax brackets, as Obama has proposed.
Instead, Boehner is willing to tame the soaring national debt and avert a bruising battle over the approaching “fiscal cliff” by closing tax loopholes to raise government revenue and by cutting government spending and reforming entitlement programs. That is the way to help grow the economy and make the tax code fairer, Boehner said.
No doubt those who decry gridlock in Washington and yearn for compromise will say Boehner is failing to seek common ground. But if you look at the consequences of what Obama wants, you see why Republicans will be unyielding when it comes to raising rates at the upper income tax brackets.
Hiking taxes on the so-called wealthy would help send us into a recession because so many small businesses report their income on individual tax returns. If taxes are raised, they will be less likely to be able to hire new workers and make new capital investments.
At the same time, spending is so out of control that reductions must be included. As noted in my story The Real Problem With Government Spending, federal workers often themselves agree that one in two government employees could be cut without losing any output.
That’s because, lacking a profit motive, government workers by and large have a different work ethic from those in private industry. With some exceptions, when they could make one call, federal workers call a meeting. When they could find an answer on the Internet, they form a study committee. Instead of appointing one supervisor, they appoint five.
Besides claiming he wants to reach out to Republicans, Obama said in his victory speech that he plans to meet with Mitt Romney to discuss how they can work together. Count on that to happen. But just as Obama held a “beer summit” with a Cambridge, Mass. police officer and the Harvard professor he arrested, nothing will come of it except photos.
“Mr. President, this is your moment,” Boehner told reporters. “We want you to lead.”
At the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va., new agents are taught that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. As with Obama’s promise after the 2010 election to seek common ground, his claim that he wants to reach across the aisle will turn out to be more hot air. Nor will he suddenly turn out to be a leader.
According to my sources, you can count on this: When Boehner says the Republican-dominated House will not raise taxes on the wealthy, he means it.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. He is the New York Times bestselling author of books on the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA. Read more reports from Ronald Kessler — Click Here Now.
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