I’ve said in previous articles that Republicans are facing an uphill battle. A WSJ article today confirms this fact and paints an even grimmer picture of the situation. The WSJ, reporting on a Washington Post/Pew poll had this to say on the topic:
“A majority of Americans say that if the country goes over the fiscal cliff on Dec. 31, congressional Republicans should bear the brunt of the blame,” reports the Post. “While 53 percent of those surveyed say the GOP would (and should) lose the fiscal cliff blame game, just 27 percent say President Obama would be deserving of more of the blame. Roughly one in 10 (12 percent) volunteer that both sides would be equally to blame.”
Not good. And also not the only poll to show such a trend.
As well, Senator Claire McCaskill spells out the other major advantage for Democrats:
“Here’s the reality. Let’s assume they won’t go for any raising of the rates,” said Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri Sunday on “Meet the Press.” “Then all the Bush tax cuts are going to expire and we would come back in January and, first thing, pass a tax cut for everybody under 250 [thousand]. What, are the Republican going to vote no on that? Of course not. So they’re going to get stuck with a raising of the rates of the top 2%, either in a very painful way or in a way that we can all suffer a little bit.”
Senator McCaskill is, unfortunately, completely correct. And the final factor in the Democrats’ favor is the complete obeisance of the media to President Obama. He says, “these Republicans are bad people,” they nod and write it down and report it as fact. I’m sure some liberals are reading this right now and saying, “well, they are!”
Unfortunately, the public seems to have bought the simplistic slogan of “making the rich pay a little bit more.” Conservatives say they’re already paying too much for too little, but that doesn’t matter because the president has the catchiest slogan and media behind him. Republicans have no chance of winning over the public. They can only lose by degrees in this fight.
So they should do something completely unexpected. Something that the president will not expect and might even make him nervous. They should give him everything he wants.
And Republicans should be very up front about why they are giving the president what he wants. They should state their weak bargaining position, the fact that public opinion clearly indicates they are mistrusted on this issue, and that they cannot get any traction on the idea of tax reform over tax hikes. They should then tell everyone what they believe the consequences should be and they should extract one promise from the president, in writing, that in January he will sit down with them to begin working on tax reform.
The news of Republicans bowing to the president’s wishes would give them a unique opportunity to capture the spotlight. And in that spotlight they should spell out what will happen when the president implements his changes. What are they? Here are just a few:
- Market Decline – The markets are already unsteady with the possibility of tax hikes. Once that becomes certain, there will be a huge selloff as investors take profits before taxes go up and the market will likely see a dramatic decline. In addition, there will be less capital in the future for investments in new businesses.
- Economic Decline – Businesses have already begun to downsize and shift their workforce ahead of the full implementation of ObamaCare. This trend will accelerate and unemployment and partial employment will go up. Perhaps dramatically.
- Recession – The economy has been slowing down for two consecutive years. The president did not raise taxes before because, as he said, you should not when the economy is teetering. Well, the economy is worse now than it was then. Apparently he didn’t mean what he said three years ago. Expect a new recession.
- Drop in Federal Revenue – When he markets sell, the government will get an initial burst of income from the sell-off, then federal revenues in 2013 will see a sharp decline similar to what was experienced in 2009. As the economy stalls and investment declines, federal revenues will take far longer to recover, thus federal debt and deficits will skyrocket.
Of course, when the economy goes south and the public finally sees the fruit of Obama’s presidential policies, he will try to blame Republicans. But that’s going to be so much more difficult after having publicly chided Republicans over and over for trying to “favor the wealthy over the middle class.”
Republicans should give the president what he wants. It may be the only way to open people’s eyes.