Former Congressman Pete Hoekstra tells Newsmax that Democrats have no incentive to reach a compromise over the fiscal cliff looming at the end of the year — and says it would be a “terrible idea” for Republicans to agree to lower taxes only on lower-income Americans.
Sen. Orrin Hatch recently told Newsmax that Democrats are willing to go over the fiscal cliff, and a CNN poll shows that most American will blame the Republicans if we do go over the cliff.
Asked what strategy Republicans should adopt to deal with the issue, Hoekstra says: “As we found out going through the last election, with high unemployment nationally, in an election that really should have been won by those of us that are arguing for economic freedom, that are arguing for economic liberty, we couldn’t make our case.
“Republicans and conservatives need to go back and retool that message. Whether they can do that through these negotiations and get it done over the next couple of months is pretty unlikely — which means that especially House Republicans are going to be in a very, very difficult position.
“The other thing is, we are already over the cliff. Businesses and individuals are already making decisions based on the uncertainly of what is going to happen over the next 45 days. The only question now is whether there is going to be a parachute that pops up that makes it a soft landing, or is it going to be a hard landing that moves us into economic trouble.
“Democrats are calculating that going through the fiscal cliff is going to help them. It’s going to help them increase the size of government, increase taxes, move their agenda in the direction that they want to go. I don’t think at this point in time they have any incentive at all to negotiate or reach a compromise unless it’s very, very much weighted in their favor.”
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As for Republican calls for cuts in entitlements, the Michigan Republican observes: “The terrible thing here is that Republicans and conservatives haven’t been effective enough. Just think about the message – we are going to cut entitlements. That’s a terrible message to take out to the American people.
“What Republicans have to talk about is the impact that unrestrained spending, that trillion-dollar deficits, that sixteen trillion of accumulated debt, is going to do to our economy. Talk about the bigger picture, and talk about getting back to sound economic philosophy, getting back closer to balanced budgets and [dealing with] these entitlement programs so that future generations are going to be able to benefit from them.
“We never got that message to younger workers in that last election. They voted for this president, they voted for policies that are dooming their future. It makes no sense.
“It’s like you are going to be paying all this money into entitlements and you are never going to benefit from it, plus the Obama administration is saddling you with debt that you are going to pay back. Plus, you have unemployment rates of 20 to 25 percent for younger people and they still voted for this administration and their policies. Clearly, Republicans need to retool and they need to go back to the drawing board.”
GOP Congressman Tom Cole said Republicans should go ahead and pass the tax cuts for everyone making less than $250,000.
“All by itself, it’s a terrible idea,” Hoekstra says.
“Republicans don’t want to be labeled as being folks who are in favor of tax increases. They need to be the party that is for economic freedom, that is defined by restrained government and allowing entrepreneurs, small businesses, and businesses to thrive in this economy or to create an economy where they can grow and put America back to work.
“That’s what this debate has to be. There are so many Americans that are hurting. You are going to see more and more people get angry and frustrated because you are going to see more and more people who are feeling the pressure from these insane policies coming out of Washington.”
Editor's Note: See the full interview and excerpts with former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra here:
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