Forbes' olive branch

If government raises taxes, will it slash regulations in kind?

  • Follow Editorials

We appreciate and respect magazine magnate Steve Forbes and his announced acquiescence to higher tax rates on the wealthy.

Coming from Mr. Forbes, a clear-headed fiscal hawk, the concession may encourage leaders in Washington to arrive at a consensus to avoid the infamous “fiscal cliff” the country is headed for at the end of the year: massive tax increases on everyone, as well as blunt, inartful cuts to the federal budget that no one seems to favor.

What may get lost in his unexpected peace offering is what he is asking for in return – which is that, if we’re going to return to 1990s-style tax rates on the wealthiest Americans, let’s at least reduce government regulations to comparable levels as well.

Democrats, including President Obama, are nearly as nostalgic for the Bill Clinton years as Republicans are for the Reagan years. But are Democrats willing to really go there – complete with a more business-friendly regulatory environment?

The ’90s also were quite contrary to today in the way we approached dependency on government. Bill Clinton liked to talk about “ending welfare as we know it.” Today, record numbers of Americans are on government assistance – and the Obama administration has been advertising to put more people on food stamps, and recently even put up a “welcome package” on a federal website directing recent immigrants (illegal too?) directly to public assistance programs.

A return to fewer regulations, Forbes notes, also would include the repeal of Obamacare.

In summation, Forbes wrote just before Thanksgiving that a return to a Clinton-era economy must include more than just a return to similar tax rates; it must also include a freer economy, similar federal spending levels and a strong and stable dollar.

If Mr. Obama is serious about getting the economy moving again, Forbes wrote, “he has to combine Clinton tax rates with the former president’s wise management of the economy that encouraged free enterprise and a true recovery. If not, we will see a return to recession in 2013 and continue on our current path toward European-style malaise and stagnation.”

Forbes is right.

We hope Democrats in Washington will acknowledge it, just as Forbes and others are beginning to acquiesce to higher tax rates for some. We wish they would accept that there’s simply not enough wealth in America, much less in a few hands, to support the kind of suicidal spending the federal government is engaging in. Our leaders also need to deal with entitlement spending, which, alone, will bankrupt America in just a few years.

People like Steve Forbes have spread the seeds of compromise. Pray they grow.

Prayer may be the key. And we appreciate the sentiments of the Rev. Franklin Graham, son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, who – about the same time Forbes was extending his olive branch – issued a call to prayer for unity and humility and cohesion in the country:

“Having just come through a divisive national election, I am urging pastors across this country to lead their congregations in praying daily for our president, Barack Obama, and all of our elected leaders – for wisdom, Divine guidance, and that God would accomplish His will and purposes.

“While politics is noticeably partisan, prayer must never be partisan. Americans need to come together, and people of faith should lead the way, by praying diligently for our leaders whether or not they agree with them or their policies. God’s Word commands us to pray for ‘kings and all who are in high positions’ (I Timothy 2:2).

“When we look at the moral and economic decline of our nation and the international threats before us, it should be clear that we cannot solve these monumental problems without the help of Almighty God.”

Amen.

Comments (35) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
burninater
9799
Points
burninater 11/30/12 - 10:36 am
2
2
A defining difference between

A defining difference between today's spending and Clinton-era spending is that in the Clinton era, we were not paying for two wars that had been kept off budget. It is important that we keep in mind the impact of expenses with a fixed timeline when considering cuts in ongoing programs.

justthefacts
24076
Points
justthefacts 11/30/12 - 10:47 am
4
2
CBO

I believe when the CBO analyzes these on going programs, they do it stand alone without the impact of fixed timeline expenses.

Little Lamb
48032
Points
Little Lamb 11/30/12 - 10:48 am
4
2
Excellent 10:16 post from

Excellent 10:16 post from Dichotomy. You should read the whole thing. Here is an exerpt:

Obama just released his budget. Believe me, the fiscal cliff looks like a better choice. Nothing but spending increases and tax increase from Obama.

I've been thinking the same thing for a couple of weeks. (Dichotomy and I often think alike.) If John Boehner adjourns Congress next week and they all go home for Christmas to be with their families, what will happen on January 1? Well, not much. Like RA says each day, "the sky has not fallen yet." The IRS will have to start withholding a small amount extra from employee paychecks. Self-employed people will have to set aside a little more for their quarterly tax payment due in March. Nothing will change for those who pay no income taxes (the 47%).

Federal bureaucrats will have to start scratching their heads on how to implement the automatic cuts from the sequestration law. That will be a good thing. The whole budget cuts "cliff" will be managed by professional Civil Service employees and not by Congress. It will actually be better.

The Cliff — bring it on.

Without the pressure of a stupid, self-imposed deadline (that leads to bad decisions in haste), the Congress can deliberate next year, take their time, leave Obama out of the loop, and tweak the tax code and tweak the cuts in a thoughtful manner, not in a panic.

allhans
24553
Points
allhans 11/30/12 - 11:42 am
5
2
The social security deduction

The social security deduction aka "payroll tax" will end Dec 31...
According to Harry Reid. (This too, will not affect the 47%, only the poor working stiffs.)
Ole Harry says they have already made cuts, they cut Medicare by 718 billion not including 300 billion more that is a part of the plan. They shouldn't be expected to cut anything else, he says. (this is known as talking down to the dumb masses, those who believe his b.s.

It just keeps coming.

Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 11/30/12 - 12:12 pm
5
2
e e liberal's comment @10:31

Sooooooo, are you saying that America C

Soooooooooo, are you saying that America cannot, and will NOT collapse, under the level of public spending coming out of Washington if it continues? Hint: if you ran your home as Washington has ran this country, what would become of e e liberal and all that he/she has? Dichotomy and alhans, very good comments!

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 11/30/12 - 12:20 pm
6
2
"in the Clinton era, we were
Unpublished

"in the Clinton era, we were not paying for two wars that had been kept off budget. "

They are still off budget....everything is off budget, because Obama has NEVER signed a budget.

faithson
5456
Points
faithson 11/30/12 - 12:27 pm
2
6
Reagan era

always interesting to remember when the republican mantra was 'deficits don't matter'. a definite precursor to the rising debt over the last 30 years. a debt that has increased during republican administrations by leaps and bounds over democratic administrations.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 11/30/12 - 12:31 pm
5
2
EEL.... The US has NEVER had
Unpublished

EEL.... The US has NEVER had to sustain the level of public spending we have now....NEVER....EVER....at any time in history. The "sky is falling schtick" is much older than comparing Greece to the US....which is approaching the same unsustainable spending levels.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 11/30/12 - 12:32 pm
6
2
"a debt that has increased
Unpublished

"a debt that has increased during republican administrations by leaps and bounds over democratic administrations."

Faithson...where have you been the last 4 years?

Little Lamb
48032
Points
Little Lamb 11/30/12 - 01:30 pm
4
2
Thanks for nothing, Mr. President

Today's Chronicle print edition has an Associated Press story about the meetings between Geithner and Boehner. In it is this analysis of the administration's offer to get the negotiations started:

Under the proposal, the White House is seeking passage by year's end of tax increases totaling $1.6 trillion over a decade, including the rate increases sought by Obama. Obama also asked for year-end approval for an unspecified amount of new spending to renew expiring jobless benefits, help homeowners hit by the real estate collapse and prevent a looming Jan 1 cut in fees for doctors who treat Medicare patients. The White House also wants a new stimulus package to aid the economy, with a price tag for the first year of $50 billion, as well as an extension of the Social Security payroll tax cut that is due to expire Dec. 31, or some way to offset it.

It's the status quo from the past four years on steroids, plus a tax increase on top of that. It's disaster; it's insanity.

The fiscal cliff, as Dichotomy pointed out, is better than Obama's proposal.

Riverman1
90830
Points
Riverman1 11/30/12 - 04:10 pm
4
2
Let's Be Honest

Honestly, Democrats have no idea how to balance a checkbook. Serious as a heart attack.

KSL
140576
Points
KSL 11/30/12 - 05:43 pm
3
2
They don't want to balance

They don't want to balance the budget.

prov227
3349
Points
prov227 11/30/12 - 06:43 pm
3
1
Democrat, snemocrat ...

Republican, bepublican, whether the party in power is Dem or Rep, the debt machine will not change. Reagan began a trip toward greater deficits while espousing smaller government. It doesn't matter which party is nominally in charge. What matters is the Federal Reserve inflation machine system that creates money out of thin air - no standards and in secrecy - and requires that the government (collaterized by on the backs of its income earners) pay the loans back at interest. This requires that more money (debt) be created to pay the loans due and renewing the loans with new money to keep the debt system working. End the Federal Reserve central bank and begin returning to a gold and silver standard in our money and liberty and prosperity can return slowly but surely. Otherwise continue on the long road to socialistic democracy and economic slavery followed by dictatorship and empire.

WalterBradfordCannon
1492
Points
WalterBradfordCannon 11/30/12 - 06:48 pm
2
1
Is it TOO much to ask for

Is it TOO much to ask for people to educate themselves on what could be done and what it would take?
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/11/13/weekinreview/deficits-grap...

After going through this, I reinstated 90s era tax rates and capital gains tax and inheritance tax. Raised SS and Medicare eligibility to 70. Raised SS ceiling on pay-ins. Cut defense, a lot (no reason to spend more than the next 12 nations COMBINED on defense - not when 11 of them are clear allies). And made it work. It needs more taxes, and cuts to defense and entitlement programs. ALL OF THE ABOVE. It is pretty dern hard to make headway without doing this. Try it. Your answer will not be the same as mine, but I guarantee that you will learn about the scope of the problem this way.

KSL
140576
Points
KSL 11/30/12 - 08:05 pm
1
2
While we are at it, let's

While we are at it, let's reinstate food and energy prices from the 90's. And prices for other goods and services. How about wage and salary amounts. Let's take medical levels back to that era. Heck, I lost 3 grandparents in the mid 80's all but one in their mid to upper 80's. The third one was a week shy of 96. She died in the hospital of complications from a respiratory condition. Footnote, it was the first time she had ever been in a hospital.

KSL
140576
Points
KSL 11/30/12 - 08:24 pm
1
2
Sorry about mentioning

Sorry about mentioning accomplishments of my family. I have to live another 20 or 25 years to attain those. What do you want to bet medicare will not treat me so well?

allhans
24553
Points
allhans 11/30/12 - 10:53 pm
1
2
One would think with the

One would think with the ending of the two "unfunded" wars, we would have a reduction in the debt...Not so, although the Dems would have you believe it did.
The taxpayers cannot, and never will, pay enough taxes to offset the spending of liberal leaders.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs