Last Updated:November 26 @ 07:29 am

Kudlow: Herbert Hoover Obama?

By Lawrence Kudlow

Once again, President Obama dodged the key fiscal-cliff issues at a campaign rally/press conference Wednesday morning. Campaign-style, he argued that the middle-class tax cuts (below $250,000) must be renewed in order to prevent a $2,200 average tax hike from hitting middle-class folks. He added that a middle-class tax hike would cost consumers $200 billion in spending power.

OK, fine. But no one wants to raise middle-class taxes. That's not the issue. And even if those numbers are right, they dodge one of the key points in the dialogue between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner -- namely, what to do about top income-tax rates, which include capital gains, dividends and inheritance taxes.

The president once again avoided the term "tax rate" in his latest round of fiscal-cliff comments. He basically said: Let's get this done before Christmas in a fair and balanced way. But what is balance?

Speaker Boehner, in a Republican concession, is willing to cap upper-end deductions, a move that would produce several hundred billion dollars in new revenues while preserving marginal-tax-rate growth incentives, including those for successful small-business owners.

Obama  did  refer to a Senate Democratic bill that would raise top tax rates while leaving everything else in place. Question is: Is Obama rebuffing the Boehner offer? That's key to a fiscal-cliff deal. Higher tax rates? Or revenue-producing tax-deduction caps?

Another key point: Mr. Obama never mentioned spending cuts.  Never.  Not once. Yet Boehner has argued that the Republican revenue concession depends on some entitlement cuts as well as other spending reductions that would make up the trillion dollars or so in the across-the-board sequestration plan that appears to have been junked by both parties.

Even The Washington Post is criticizing Obama for failing to deliver a specific plan regarding entitlement and non-entitlement spending cuts. And Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin has added that taxing rich people will not overcome the gargantuan entitlement deficit, which some estimate to be $68 trillion over the decades ahead.

Unfortunately, Durbin doesn't want entitlement changes this year. He wants to put them off until 2013. Why does everybody want to put spending cuts off until next year? It doesn't work. It won't persuade the financial markets or the credit-rating agencies. Small, money-saving entitlement reforms, like cost-of-living adjustments and raising the eligibility age, would be a useful down-payment within  this  year's fiscal-cliff deficit deal.

And herein resides the GOP leverage, if they choose to use it. Republicans should not sign a tax deal that doesn't have a sizeable spending component. And they should argue that a smaller spending share of gross domestic product is actually a tax cut  stimulant  for the economy, and that it would give confidence to the business and financial worlds as well as the rating agencies that Washington is on the right track. And the GOP should use this leverage to press on with the idea of capping deductions, rather than raising top rates on successful earners, small businesses and investors.

Now, some people argue that Senate Democrats, and perhaps the president, should just let all the tax cuts expire this year. That, of course, would bring on a recession, or at least an even more anemic economy. Just blame the Republicans, it is said.

But I don't buy this. Why? Because the president does not want a second recession during his watch. Herbert Hoover Obama is not the legacy he's after.

And that's why Republicans should hold firm to their principles on spending and tax rates. Then, next year, new efforts for deeper tax and entitlement reforms can proceed in an orderly way.

But no deal will happen until the president unveils his entitlement and spending ideas. It's good that both Obama and Boehner are trying to keep an optimistic tone to this discussion. But so far, the key issues have not been resolved.



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  1. Jota_Comment by Jota_
    November 29, 2012 @ 9:09 am

    I am going to say what I know will sound like heresy

    What causes an economy to be weak is deficit spending

    So it does not matter how a deficit is closed, tax increase, spending cut, or both, it will strengthen the economy. ( boo, hiss)

    The true problem is why there is a deficit in the first place

    Too many people wanting some thing for nothing

    And since the dollar is backed by goods and service it can only have the value the people give it, nothing

    And this is what most are going to hate hearing. 60 percent of the deficit is from Medicare/Medicaid, and when the interest on the debt is added from past years from this under-funded entitlement it jumps to nearly 80 percent

    The tax which MUST be increased is the payroll tax for Medicare/Medicaid and nearly a 50 percent cut in spending on it. This will dramatically reduce the deficit, give value back to the dollar, which will strengthen the economy putting more people to work which will increase revenue to the program

    Of course, with Obamacare coming to the rescue it will mask the underlying problem with the program for a few more years, but will do nothing to change what causes deficits, people wanting some thing for nothing

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    • inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
      November 29, 2012 @ 9:37 am

      Deficit spending just causes inflation and higher taxes down the road. The infaltion part is taxation without representation and should be cause for rebellion among true American minds and votes.

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    • NY GrahamComment by NY Graham
      November 29, 2012 @ 12:13 pm

      Jota, you fall victim to the classic liberal assumption that raising tax rates will increase revenues. It doesn’t. Raising tax rates harms the economy and reduces revenues.

      The only way we could have balanced the budget would be to embrace pro-growth policies such as tax reform, corporate tax reductions, spending cuts, energy independence and regulatory relief. With Obama’s re-election, none of these will happen. Best case scenario we will spend the next few years living in the Obama Depression.

      However, I agree that cutting the Payroll tax, the only funding mechanism for Social Security and Medicare, was folly that had no positive effect on the economy. These taxes must be returned to their proper rate. The Payroll tax cut was simply a way to lower the amount of tax paid by lower income workers, all part of redistributionist scheme.

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    • Jota_Comment by Jota_
      November 29, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

      “you fall victim to the classic liberal assumption that raising tax rates will increase revenues” – NY Graham


      Let’s see

      Social Security is 20 percent of the Federal budget and collects a combined 13.6 percent in the form of a payroll tax

      Medicare/Medicaid is 23 percent of the Federal budget and collects a combined 3.6 percent in the form of a payroll tax

      Now I am old school but when demand for a service is sold below cost, one needs to raise the price to cover it, cut cost and/or curtail the service

      So this is not a classic liberal assumption but market based capitalism

      Am shocked you did not know

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    • inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
      November 29, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

      Cutting the Payroll taxes was another government ruse. All payroll taxes go into the general fund, so it is the general fund that is depleted and is the real albatross around our neck. Let the fiscal cliff occur and show people just how much government they can really afford when forced to pay as you go. Maybe then they would not vote so Liberally when forced to face the consequences of the spending these liberal fools have ot offer. Pleasure today,,,pain tomorrow,,,,the problem is that tomorrow has arrived today and the weasel politicians have run out of people to push the accountability on to and time in which to kick the can down the road. We have met the fiscal cliff and fell off it years ago but nobody has the honestly or integrity to tell anybody so long as the smoke and mirrors are working and the emperor wears his new cloths.

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    • allinnomoreComment by allinnomore
      December 1, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

      How can anyone lump these to together Medicare/Medicaid! Medicare Money is taken out each paycheck as a worker and after the age of 65 then each months check the Government sends they take out money for medicare! Taxpayer pay 100% Medicaid! It like saying Apples/Bananas are the same! The only thing alike is Medicare / medicaid are for health care
      and Apples / Bananas both are fruit! Politicians love to mix our mind up!
      They say over the cliff we are already over the cliff!
      Over the cliff really means they will have to work harder to be able to give all the perks they want to hand out! Its just a word game with politicians!

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  2. inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
    November 29, 2012 @ 9:35 am

    Every individual has a right and is entitled to personal property and the rights to the return on the investment of that personal property, he is entitled to enough personal property to care for himself, his loved ones, to give them security for the future as well as an education. All that is over and above that in the truest sense of the term, wealth that is superfluous, he owes to the poor of society ( Not the lazy, unmotivated or socially irresponsible. ) He cannot say the personal pronoun MINE in the same way he speaks of the food he eats and the home he lives in or the bed on which he sleeps, as he can say MINE to his second Yacht or SUV. His right diminishes, as it gets to superfluity, and social needs begin to emphasize itself. I as a Christian am not entitled to that superfluity. If God has given me a gift, the gift of proclaiming his truth, I may not use those God given rights just in order that I might increase wealth. I owe that to someone else, and if I use that for myself, God would take away those gifts.

    Suppose a man is the head of an industry. He is entitled to all that makes him and his family secure, as well as maintaining his station in life. What about his profit and superfluity,,,,yes he may use that superfluity to plow it back into his business to grow it and create and grow jobs and wealth for the benefits of others in his Company and under his employment and care to the social good of society. That man is then doing the work of munificence and liberality and is to be praised for it, not socially condemned as the secular Liberals would promote.

    Many corporations today are made up of real and token property. These giant corporations, these tremendous industrial organizations are part of our modern life and we should not wish to see them destroyed, but harnessed for the good of mankind in a socially acceptable way. Any man who has stock in these corporations is entitled to returns on the investment in that stock. It is rightfully and lawfully his, unless you owned stock in GM or Chrysler in 2008 when Obama came in and redistributed that right away to the unions, hurting enumerable 401Ks and aged investors who saw their retirements be robbed to secure the retirements of the unions whom Obama protected. How about the worker? The worker does not give any cash but something more, his life. Not just this day’s work for which he receives a wage, but the sum of all of the days, the rearing of his family, the beginning of the end of his physical existence, the investment of the very finite amount of blood sweat and tears allotted to him in the finite time he spends upon this earth. He also is entitled to some part of the social wealth which he helps to create, just as the stockholder is entitled. That is why in all corporations there should be some form of CO-ownership (Not Government Co-Ownership) in which a worker would receive some part of the profits. ( or receive some part of the losses in bad years?) which he has helped to produce. The stockholder as well as the worker are entitled to share some form of the wealth.(And Risk),,,some form of co-ownership so that the relationship will deepen to those within the industry that he works, so he also can feel some form of stability where he will be not so much working FOR someone but WITH someone. No one class is entitled to take all of the profits (OR all of the Losses) The Liberals however are first in line for the profits when things are good, but last in line for the Losses when things go bad. Sorry folks, but in the age of equality and equal justice under the law ALL,,, not just the rich must take a haircut or the concept of equality is a Chimera. Either everyone’s taxes go up, or nobody’s taxes go up. We are ALL in this TOGETHER.

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    • newrepublicanComment by newrepublican
      November 29, 2012 @ 11:40 am

      To illuminato,

      I think you may have a rail loose and are about to jump the tracks today … :)

      There are many instances of employee owned positions where the business voluntarily establishes itself as such. There is no room in a free market for your philosophical position. Most “workers ” have no interest in taking finaancial risks as do investors and entrepranuers. The reward goes to the successfull risk takers … period. And if they wish to buy a yacht or diamond necklaces then those workers employed in those industries will be able to put food on the table for their families. As for your (and my) Christian Ethic and Ethos, we are called to be responsible stewards for the Gifts of God’s creation. That may materialize in many social forms but never should one be forced into such giving … if one cannot say “no” to charity (in order to be an irresponsible steward) then what good is our “yes” (to do God’s will)??

      We are blessed with a free will and a free market is an expression of our will. We choose low risk lives or high risk live. We choose moral or immoral paths. We do not need rules forcing these decisions as long as they do not violate the rights of others. Our blessing is our Liberty … cherish it.

      On your other comment in another string, I think you needed to state that your analysis maintains both sexes have EQUAL DIGNITY even though we are wired differently while social pressures are driving emasculation of the males. Our Christian Ethos requires us to recognize our DIGNITY! Shamefully we have lost that imperitive but alas we are not utterly deprived. Christ did not come to condem us he came to redeem us. The world is driving around on flat tires and we think that is normal. Christ came to inflate our tires, not give us more rules to follow. With inflated tires we are FREE to obey the law because our hearts will become aligned with the law and we will have no desire to break the law.

      What do you think? I would like to hear your opinion.

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    • inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
      November 29, 2012 @ 3:19 pm

      When THE LAW is founded on the laws of God and nature as our founding fathers used to create our Christian based Constitution, we ususally come out OK when we obey that law. However the liberal seculars have made our laws useless in their refusal to enforce them and in essence have rewritten our laws to their own unnatural satisfaction throug judicial nullification. What matters it to them, whether or not these new laws which refute the laws of nature work or not, so long as they can play God and sit in the catbird seat. All we like sheep have gone astray, each and everyone to his own way,,,,as Ecclesiates stated, there is nothing new under the sun, vanity of vanity all is vanity and a striving after the wind when carbon copy fallible men attempt to re-write the laws of nature and providence, and attempt to become the infallible real deal.

      As far as Most workers having no interest in taking financial risks, then they have no business claiming the financial rewards unless they are willing in times of crisis to give up their portion of those rewards to save the greater organization. Enter Hostess cupcake brains where the DIng Dong Union parasites devoured the very thing that fed it. All Mankind longs to belong to something or someone greater than himself. Those who now join Government or Union organizations soon become dismayed by the corruption and greed, and realize that which they now join is something lesser than themselves, thanks to the Secular Socialist redefiners of morality and manipulators of life outcomes for Liberal Democrat persons and businesses who succeed in artificially favored outcomes that the laws of nature would cull out in a heartbeat. This is what the Liberal Progressive Democrat Party has blessed America with. They fail to realize that mother nature will always get her revenge,,,pay a little now of pay a lot later,,,,later is Now. The pain of the delayed correction will soon become extrapolated by quantum leaps over what it could have been have we tended our economic gardens each day,and fertilzed the soil instead of sucking it dry to party and consume today when we should have been planting for tomrrow. Tomorrow always comes,,,but the sun also rises.

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  3. powertothepeopleComment by powertothepeople
    November 29, 2012 @ 10:16 am

    I agree with your points especially when it comes to when times are good and when times are bad. One of my previous partners in business was a died in the wool liberal and always wanted others to pay the “fair share” but when the conversation turned to it coming out of his born into privilege pocket he had a totally different view.

    In summation, there are too many pols in America who want things and feel they are due…be it SS, Medicare, food stamps, corporate welfare ans so on…and then we have the prostitutes better known as politicians who will promise anything for votes. It is a ever growing vicious cycle that has grown out of control while demographic changes….an aging population and millions of illegals getting benefits over loads the system. Add to this political hacks with no morals and no backbone and the soup is now cooked!

    Until some politicians show there are some among them with a backbone, can tell the truth to the people that the day of reckoning is here, the can will continue to be kicked down the road until we collapse in a heap of ashes.

    Which way do you think the political pols will tilt?

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    • inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
      November 29, 2012 @ 10:23 am

      The Demographics tilt toward the rise of the elderly who traditionally have voted Conservative. But our educational systems have raised a new class of entitlement who will abandon the elderly and their obligations to support their Social Security when enough of the elderly die off and the ripped off young gain the voting majority. The parasite politicians will go with the power and abandon the elderly just as fast when given the opportunity to protect their power bases and Self-Interest. There is nothing new under the sun.

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  4. brems1976Comment by brems1976
    November 29, 2012 @ 10:26 am

    Where is the Republican leadership when we need them? Remember Obama offering $10 in spending cuts for every additional tax dollar? I was amazed during the debates that neither candidate was asked about the extension of the Social Security tax holiday of 2%. The leaked stories seemed to indicate that everyone was against extending it, but now it is in play again. We are harming Social Security while giving working families with salaries over over $100,000 an extra $4,000 to spend while our deficit continues to be out of control.

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    • inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
      November 29, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

      In order to exist and thrive on a socialist ideology based only on redistributing that which others produce because your non-productive ideology produces nothing of value, you must be creative in ways to bleed your host dry without him noticing. Robbing the social security funding with free stuff today does the job quite well as the pain is not felt today. Just one more Liberal narcotic to ease the pain of putting your hand into the fire of Socialist Progressive stew they cook you in while your knuckles glow red, you don’t feel a thing until it is too late and you are bled out. Enter the fiscal cliff and Obama’s Kettle of fetit economic fish. You the taxpayers are the catch of the day having been hooked on the free stuff that just land you more into the socailist fryng pan where Obama and his mimions feed off your economic flesh.

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  5. thomasjeffersonComment by thomasjefferson
    November 29, 2012 @ 10:38 am

    Hoover was an angel compared to obama.

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  6. westinComment by westin
    November 29, 2012 @ 10:55 am

    The payroll tax is the only tax that must be increased. Every one who expects to collect Social Security needs to contribute to keep it solvent. Get the freeloaders off of the disability. Social Security. Disability claims to SS is like the San Diego Trolly system. The tax payers built it. tickets are on the honor system, and the freeloaders ride for free.

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  7. NY GrahamComment by NY Graham
    November 29, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

    My Predictions for the Obama Second Term (I’ve posted this before, but it seems to fit well here):

    1. Companies will freeze hiring (except seasonal). Some businesses may lay off workers ahead of January, others will reduce hours. Greedy CEOs will be blamed.

    2.“Fiscal cliff” will be avoided via a compromise including marginal reduction in spending increases (aka “cuts”) and significant tax increases. Politicians will pat themselves on the back and media will celebrate bipartisanship.

    3. Economy will contract, leading to a recession. Recession will be blamed on everything (including the GOP house and Hurricane Sandy) except the true cause, which is Obama’s re-election. Companies will leave the US as corporate taxes increase and worker benefits are too burdensome.

    4. Fed will print more money to “fight recession, spur growth”. This will be known as QE3. Or 4. I’ve lost count.

    5. Debt ceiling will be reached, but debt limit will be increased with no significant cuts following some political posturing.

    6. Another credit agency will downgrade treasuries. Treasury sales will fail, resulting in Fed purchasing them (i.e. printing more money). Interest rates will be kept around zero.

    7. House will pass a budget. Senate will not vote on it. Obama budget will be defeated (not one single vote again?). No budget will be passed for a fifth straight year.

    8. World will lose confidence in the dollar. Dollar will fall against other currencies.

    9. Energy and food prices will increase. Economy will get even worse.

    10. Following various municipalities, actual States will declare bankruptcy. Federal government will attempt to bail them out. Obama will push through a bill to add 100 000 teachers, as promised.

    11. National debt will soar towards $20 trillion. The rest of the world will finally raise a stink. IMF will create a “basket currency” as the World’s Reserve Currency. The dollar will lose value precipitously. The “Dollar Crisis” will begin.

    12. Society will break down as people can’t afford basic needs (energy, food). Government checks will be printed in worthless dollars, resulting in rioting in the cities. Alternate currencies will spring up. Small town and rural areas will switch to bartering and alternate currencies and will get by. Cities will become dangerous and desolate.

    13. Republican form of government will break down. Some form of dictatorship will be imposed “during the crisis” (i.e. indefinitely). The government’s MO will be to turn groups of citizens against one another and rule through fear. America as we know it will be gone.

    Best case scenario: 1930′s USA
    Likely scenario: 1930′s Germany
    Worst case scenario: see the last few chapters of Atlas Shrugged

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    • powertothepeopleComment by powertothepeople
      November 29, 2012 @ 12:30 pm

      I must say I feel like we have met before and discussed these revelations together. I pray this will not be the case, but my logical side can’t ignore the obvious no matter how much the media and the positive spinners around me preach a brighter day.

      Obozo is the tip of the spear to our downfall. He has done everything he said he would do if elected in 2008 and in his books to bring America down to her knees. Bill Clinton tried to warn us we he said at the Demorats convention that Obozo would remake America from the ground up! Too many did nor hear…or choose not to listen!

      If you all are not prepared for coming events, then you better get going at it now. See the real world folks…remove the vail of smoke that has been put on us for the past four years and open your eyes to what is coming!

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  8. oldsoldier33Comment by oldsoldier33
    November 29, 2012 @ 2:32 pm

    I guess I listen to too much Rush Limbaugh and have studied and considered Barack Obama’s background and record as president too much. Is there any indication at all that Pres. Obama is open to real compromise? Apparently, Washington Republicans and other “experts” seem to think he is. Is there any indication that he wants to avoid the “Hoover Legacy”? No. That’s not what he seeks. What motivates him are two things: Transforming our racist, exploitative, militaristic society and destroying his opposition, in this case gullible Republicans. Most citizens are tuned-out. They got theirs. President Obama is only a partly successful president, as he himself has admitted. He said “there is more work to do”. The crowd applauded not understanding what he meant. He needs the next four years to complete or at least mostly complete his goal. Go over “the cliff”? He gets much of what he wants and Republicans get blamed. Scenario #2: Republicans “compromise”. He still gets most of what he wants and he and his fellow travelers use the compromise to further weaken the GOP, that already is at war with itself. Next up: Your retirement accounts. I heard that one during the Clinton Administration. The American people voted for this stuff twice, but they didn’t know it, since no one, including John McCain or Mitt Romney or the GOP told them.

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  9. diamondjimComment by diamondjim
    November 29, 2012 @ 6:21 pm

    All Obama knows how to do is campaign. He has not a clue how to govern. So, it is no surprise to see him back on the campaign trail, the “Post-partisan” President who was going to bring us all together, preaching his class warfare “gospel” (some do equate him with Jesus, dontcha know) of fear, envy, and victimization that served him so well in the campaign; seeking not to unite, but rather to drive a deeper wedge between the “haves” and “have-nots.” (I think a better characterization would be “givers and takers”) It never seems to have occurred to him that people can actually attain wealth through hard work and sacrifice; rather, they must have lied, cheated, and stolen their way to success, or made it on the backs of us poor indolent rednecks out here in the cotton patch. He is so intent on raising taxes on “millionaires and billionaires” (5th grade math check: $250K income does not equal $1 million, much less a billion!) that it has become an obsession with him.

    Sooo, he runs around like a modern-day Chicken Little. “The sky is falling, the sky is falling! Enact my tax increase scheme (or bailout plan, or stimulus plan) NOW or we are all doomed!” “Break out the lanterns and pitchforks and storm RNC headquarters! We’ll raise taxes now and talk spending cuts after the first of the year.” No one with an IQ larger than his or her collar size believes THAT will happen! That lie has been told too many times before. Obama wants more income for one reason: TO SPEND IT! He has no interest in reducing spending, period!

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  • "Made me damn near puke just reading this! Are people REALLY this frigged up?" Comment by taxed2deth
    Posted in Media Bias That Makes You Sick
  • "WE can only hope and pray he eventually gets arrested for treason.. He sure as hell deserves it!" Comment by ltuser
    Posted in Governors: Not in My State!
  • "Too true. Obama has long since stopped giving a flying sphincter what US the citizens think or care about." Comment by ltuser
    Posted in Governors: Not in My State!

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