Author: rgrote
VIDEO: Fratto on CNBC – Fed Keeps Foot on QE Gas Pedal
| March 21, 2013 | 10:05 am | Uncategorized | No comments

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VIDEO: Tony Fratto on MSNBC – Sequester Showdown
| March 1, 2013 | 10:24 am | Uncategorized | No comments

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Wehner: Why Upholding ObamaCare Will Badly Damage Obama’s Reelection Chances
| June 29, 2012 | 4:16 pm | Pete Wehner | No comments

Published for www.commentarymagazine.com, June 29th, 2012

Having already written about the majority opinion by Chief Justice Roberts, what about the politics of the decision?

I have argued before that while overturning the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would be a debilitating blow to the president, upholding it would create problems of its own. And that’s certainly the case.

For one thing, as others at ”Contentions” have pointed out, the president is now saddled with a huge middle class tax increase. Anchoring the Affordable Care Act in the Tax Clause is the only way it passed constitutional muster—and Republicans will do everything in their power to tether Obama to his tax increase. It doesn’t help the president that the argument that saved ObamaCare contradicted what Obama himself repeatedly said, which is (a) the individual mandate is “absolutely not a tax increase” and (b) he would never in a thousand years raise taxes on the middle class.

It was, and he has.

In addition, the decision by the Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act has once again thrust to center stage a historically unpopular law (one that is particularly unpopular in swing states).

The Supreme Court, then, has succeeded in once again inflaming the passions of the GOP base while reminding independents why they despise the ACA. The 2012 election may now take on a 2010 feel. And for those who might have forgotten, Democrats—thanks in large part to Obama’s health care law—sustained an epic defeat in that mid-term election.

As it was, so may it be.

Post published here

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Wehner: No to Trump as Host of Debate
| December 6, 2011 | 11:50 am | Pete Wehner, Uncategorized | Comments closed

Published for Contentions at www.commentarymagazine.com on December 6, 2011

I can count on one hand the number of statements with which I agree with GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul. This is one of them:

The selection of a reality television personality to host a presidential debate that voters nationwide will be watching is beneath the office of the presidency and flies in the face of that office’’s history and dignity. Trump’’s participation as moderator will distract from questions and answers concerning important issues such as the national economy, crushing federal government debt, the role of the federal government, foreign policy, and the like. To be sure, Trump’’s participation will contribute to an unwanted circus-like atmosphere.

One need only recall Trump’s flirtation with running for president earlier this year, and his weird obsession with Barack Obama’s birth certificate, to confirm the wisdom of Paul’s comments. A party that identifies itself with clownish figures will soon be seen by the public, and rightly so, as clownish.

Here’s some unsolicited advice to the GOP: a party that featured Herman Cain as a top-tier challenger for the nomination doesn’t need Donald Trump to host a presidential debate.

Can a roundtable discussion with the Kardashian sisters be far behind?

Post published here

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Hennessey: Congressional Republicans’ strategic shift on taxes
| November 28, 2011 | 9:49 am | Keith Hennessey | Comments closed

Published for www.keithhennessey.com on November 22, 2011

For months a common story line in the budget debate has been that a bipartisan deficit reduction deal was impossible as long as Republicans refused to raise taxes. President Obama, Congressional Democrats, and many observers asserted that it would be impossible to solve the deficit problem until and unless Republicans agreed to raise taxes. They further argued that if a deficit reduction deal did not come together, Republican intransigence on this point would be the reason why.

The specific argument was that the deficit could only be reduced through a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. This logic was applied to the Super Committee’s $1.2 – $1.5 T deficit reduction target.

The argument that tax increases are necessary for deficit reduction is not arithmetically true – it is quite possible to completely and permanently reduce, or even eliminate, the budget deficit only by cutting spending. In fact it’s not all that hard to do.

It may, however, be legislatively true that in a politically balanced Washington like we have now, a bipartisan deal with Democrats that does not raise taxes is impossible because Democrats will not agree to deep spending cuts as long as Republicans refuse to raise taxes.

The stalking horse for this argument is Grover Norquist, head of the antitax group Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). ATR’s position is that total federal income tax revenues should not be increased. A deficit reduction package consistent with ATR’s position could increase taxes, it just couldn’t increase income taxes. It could eliminate income tax deductions and credits, but to be consistent with ATR’s view, the higher income tax revenues that result would need to be used in full to cut income tax rates, so that the total income tax burden did not increase. (I use the phrases “total income taxes” and “net income taxes” interchangeably.)

Full post here

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Hennessey: Congressional Republicans’ strategic shift on taxes
| November 28, 2011 | 9:49 am | Keith Hennessey | Comments closed

Published for www.keithhennessey.com on November 22, 2011

For months a common story line in the budget debate has been that a bipartisan deficit reduction deal was impossible as long as Republicans refused to raise taxes. President Obama, Congressional Democrats, and many observers asserted that it would be impossible to solve the deficit problem until and unless Republicans agreed to raise taxes. They further argued that if a deficit reduction deal did not come together, Republican intransigence on this point would be the reason why.

The specific argument was that the deficit could only be reduced through a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. This logic was applied to the Super Committee’s $1.2 – $1.5 T deficit reduction target.

The argument that tax increases are necessary for deficit reduction is not arithmetically true – it is quite possible to completely and permanently reduce, or even eliminate, the budget deficit only by cutting spending. In fact it’s not all that hard to do.

It may, however, be legislatively true that in a politically balanced Washington like we have now, a bipartisan deal with Democrats that does not raise taxes is impossible because Democrats will not agree to deep spending cuts as long as Republicans refuse to raise taxes.

The stalking horse for this argument is Grover Norquist, head of the antitax group Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). ATR’s position is that total federal income tax revenues should not be increased. A deficit reduction package consistent with ATR’s position could increase taxes, it just couldn’t increase income taxes. It could eliminate income tax deductions and credits, but to be consistent with ATR’s view, the higher income tax revenues that result would need to be used in full to cut income tax rates, so that the total income tax burden did not increase. (I use the phrases “total income taxes” and “net income taxes” interchangeably.)

Full post here

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