With America’s current polarized political situation, with both sides digging in their heels and not understanding each other and often misrepresenting each other to stay in power, it’s time to seek third option solutions that take the conflict off the table and give each group something of what they want. Or at least expose the hypocrisy if the stonewalling continues.
President Obama narrowly won re-election (<51% of the popular vote), and his party controls the Senate. Conservatives failed to overcome the media bias, which certainly swung public opinion a few points with low information voters. Many high information voters already had their minds made up and listened to their own sets of facts, ignoring the past failures of socialism in distant and recent history.
Conservatives did not make their case effectively enough for the country’s economic future, so there will be some sort of a tax increase on high achieving Americans.
Obama Holds the Trump Cards
The President continues to do what he knows best: divide and conquer, with endless campaigning at taxpayer expense. Class warfare works, as people of all income levels aspire to earn just a little bit more; some are jealous of those who earn more.
Others aspire to create wealth themselves or at least admire those who do, understanding that when “rich” people spend money on yachts, it provides jobs for working people who build them. Those who work with their minds are also working people.
Two Options for Republicans, or is there a third?
Agree to the tax increases, which even are larger than what Obama proposed last summer, or go over the fiscal cliff and be blamed for the economic chaos that ensues, with the assistance of the media. Hardly what conservatives who were elected to Congress desire to do. This is economic blackmail.
If conservatives agree to the tax increases, their constituents will be angry with them for selling out to anemic economic growth for decades to come. Once tax increases are installed on one segment of society, it will be hard to reform it.
If America goes over the fiscal cliff, the Democrats can always be the heroes and introduce bills to rescue middle and lower income Americans from the evil obstructionist Republicans. What Republican will be able to resist voting for a tax cut in today’s sound bite world where votes will be loudly replayed in the next election cycle?
Option C – Tax Credits for Designated Donations
A similar idea was proposed by Marvin Olasky of WORLD magazine several months ago. The House of Representatives should quickly pass a bill that takes some of these issues off the table. Allow an income tax rate increase for upper income Americans and small business owners who file as individuals, with the following as requirements.
- The entire tax increase can be offset by tax credits that allow people to designate charities for the funds to go to. Americans are a generous people and rise to the occasion whenever there is a need. This would allow growth of non-profit organizations, which are much more efficient at helping those in need than the government.
- Immediately defund Planned Parenthood and all other controversial federal domestic expenditures. It’s time the abortion industry was funded by ongoing operations and donations from those who support its objectives instead of all Americans by its supporters lobbying for tax funding.
- Direct the Justice Department to drop its lawsuits against those objecting to Obamacare on religious grounds.
- Justice should begin enforcing federal laws it disagrees with (federal marijuana laws, election laws, immigration laws, Defense of Marriage Act and the list goes on.) We are supposed to be a nation of laws, not of men. If Congress doesn’t repeal the laws, no administration has the right to ignore those it disputes.
Perhaps the last three items are too much to ask for in today’s Living Constitution environment. No doubt the Senate will strip them out in conference committee if Harry Reid even considers the bill, but at least the Democratic Party hypocrisy will be exposed.
America’s Social Compact is Coming Unraveled
North Korean Christians must sing silently for fear of being discovered, Chinese lawyers are jailed for defending house church Christians and other minorities like the Falun Gong, and Islamic countries persecute anyone for changing their religion (blasphemy against Islam, punishable by death in Islamic countries).
While religious freedom is not so egregiously violated here, America is facing a more subtle attack, a lessening of respect for those with minority views. Consider the following:
A Catholic friend told me he heard someone say “You can’t have any fun in Grand Rapids; there are too many Christians there.” Others at the table nodded in agreement. He no longer attends this discussion group, feeling that his values are being disrespected.
Freedom of religion or Freedom from religion?
The town of Frankenmuth is being sued by a secularist group (see “friendly atheist” link for details) for having its bicentennial cross (there since 1976) on public property.
Defended by the Thomas More Law Center (former Oakland County prosecutor Richard Thompson, who prosecuted assisted suicide "doctor" Jack Kevorkian), Frankenmuth rejected the demand October 8.
The costly battle to maintain an open forum for all religions (including atheism) continues. I'm glad the 5% "friendly (but militant) atheists" aren't intimidating the rest of us.
In God We Trust or in .gov we trust?
Callers to talk radio shows regularly dis people who object to Obamacare on religious grounds, saying they are just trying to avoid chipping in to what will benefit everyone. These callers don’t have a clue.
Yes, there really are some people who have moral objections to contraception, and many more to abortifacient drugs like RU-486 (Plan B) and the week after pill Ella. Many, many more object to forcing others to pay for things that go against their sincerely held moral or religious beliefs.
This week Hobby Lobby lost its appeal to the Supreme Court for an injunction against the Obamacare mandate while their case and more than forty others are under appeal. It could be forced to pay $1.5 million per day in fines for its 15,000 employees.
Negotiating Space for Conservatives
Contrary to what the left would have people believe, religious conservatives (who include Jews, Christians and people of other faiths) do not want a theocracy. When was the last time anyone was forced to go to church in America? We do not want the forced Islam of Iran or Saudi Arabia, nor the forced atheism of North Korea.
We just want to maintain the open forum for all religions (including atheism) America has always enjoyed. No religion should receive favor or suppression from the government.
Directing the inevitable tax hike towards designated tax credits will grow non-profits, not government, which is inherently less efficient and more removed from the people it tries to help.
Conservatives in Congress have one more ace they can play in the fiscal cliff negotiations. They should play it.