Grab Your Parachute

Matthew Vadum is an award-winning investigative reporter and the author of the book, "Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers."


Thanks largely to President Obama’s intransigence, America is poised to fall over the potentially treacherous “fiscal cliff” tomorrow. Top policymakers in Washington appear no closer to reaching a deal than before they left town for the Christmas break.

The outgoing 112th Congress is meeting in a high-stakes lame duck session to decide whether Bush-era tax rates should be extended and if $1.2 trillion in scheduled spending cuts –falling largely on the Pentagon– will be avoided. If current tax rates are not renewed, the already fragile economy will suffer.

President Obama’s critics say he wants America to go over the cliff so he can blame the consequences on Republicans — and he’s given those critics plenty of ammunition.

Instead of trying to deal with the problem, President Obama has been busy framing Republicans as the villains, arguing that they are being unreasonable because they want to cut spending and maintain current tax rates.

With bags under his eyes an exhausted-looking Obama disingenuously claimed on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that his offers to Republicans “have been so fair that a lot of Democrats get mad at me.”

Obama has been acting genuinely amazed that Republican negotiators have failed so far to be suckered by his worthless proposal to cut government spending in exchange for tax rate increases. The president said Republicans have “had trouble saying yes to a number of repeated offers.”

Of course anyone who has followed Congress in recent decades knows that when political dealmakers couple tax rate increases with less-than-specific promises to cut spending at some indefinite point in the future, those spending cuts never actually happen.

Commentator Charles Krauthammer said yesterday that Obama could have done much more to resolve the current situation. “The president has never gone to the nation and made a serious speech about debt,” he said.

“He ignored it the first two years. He appoints a commission that he studiously ignores for the next two years. That’s why we’re at the cliff now. He’s not serious about the debt — none of his proposals. You raise the taxes on the rich, it’s eight cents on the dollar on the deficit. It reduces it a trivial amount of money and he’s never put any political capital in entitlement reform or tax reform. Oh, we’ll talk about it here and there — never invested any capital in it.”

The national debt now stands at $16.39 trillion, up from $10.6 trillion on Inauguration Day 2009. But that $16.39 trillion figure is misleading. Government accounting tricks keep another $86.8 trillion in unfunded liabilities related to Medicare, Social Security, and federal employees’ future retirement benefits off the books and out of the public eye. Add the two figures together and you arrive at the more accurate, unimaginably large sum of $103.1 trillion.

As intense negotiations took place Sunday on Capitol Hill, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) moved from cautious optimism to hopelessness in a matter of hours. On his Twitter account the senator said bluntly, “I think we’re going over the cliff.”

Earlier in the day Graham said on “Fox News Sunday” that he was optimistic some kind of deal could be reached at the eleventh hour. “I think people don’t want to go over the cliff, if we can avoid it,” he said.

“Whatever we accomplish, [it's a] political victory for the president, hats off to the president,” Graham said grudgingly on TV. “He stood his ground. He’s going to get tax rate increases, maybe not at [$250,000 in annual income] but on upper income Americans.”

But in parts of official Washington hope springs eternal.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) introduced legislation Sunday that he said would “soften the landing” if the country goes over the figurative cliff.

His new bill, the Cliff Alleviation at the Last Minute Act (CALM Act), would gradually phase in tax rate hikes and allow the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to recommend changes to the spending cuts scheduled to take effect.

Even if the Democratic-controlled Senate signs off on a last-minute deal with the president, it is far from clear whether the GOP-controlled House would go along with it — even if it bore the imprimatur of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

Many Republican House members, especially those associated with the Tea Party, don’t trust Boehner to do what they consider to be the right thing. Earlier this month he tried to push through a measure that would have raised taxes on those earning more than $1 million a year. Conservatives rebelled, reasoning that Republicans shouldn’t go along with President Obama’s class warfare-driven “soak the rich” policies. Groups like American Majority Action are pressing GOP lawmakers not to reelect Boehner as Speaker when the new Congress convenes on January 3. It is not yet clear if that movement will gain traction.

Regardless of whether the fiscal cliff is averted, tomorrow Americans will be hit with $1 trillion in new taxes to support the perennially unpopular Obamacare. The taxes will be fully phased in from 2013 through 2022, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The five major Obamacare-related levies taking effect on January 1 are: a new 2.3 percent excise tax on gross sales by medical device manufacturers;a new cap of $2,500 on currently uncapped pre-tax Flexible Spending Accounts; a new 3.8 percentage point surtax on investment income for those households making at least $250,000 (or $200,000 for unmarried individuals); the raising of the threshold for medical itemized deductions from those expenses exceeding 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income to 10 percent of AGI; and an increase in the Medicare payroll tax from 2.9 percent to 3.8 percent for all wages and profits above $200,000 ($250,000 for married couples).

Meanwhile, if the nation tumbles over the proverbial cliff at midnight, markets will be disrupted. Workers who hadn’t been paying attention to the fiscal cliff debate will get a rude shock when a greater portion of their paychecks is suddenly withheld. Public pressure could force lawmakers to make some kind of a deal, perhaps retroactively extending current tax rates from January 1.

Lawmakers could also vote to maintain the status quo and kick the can down the road for another few months or more.

Or they could do nothing — which would be fine by President Obama.

With the assistance of the mainstream media, Obama reckons he will continue winning the public relations war against his Republican opposition indefinitely.

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  • harrylies

    If Obamas' health care plan is unpopular, why did Romney lose? He said he would repeal most of it. Keeping parts like parents can cover their children till they turn twenty-six. Americans like Obamas' health care plan. The only poll that mattered showed that.

    • D-Boy

      You really don't believe BO didn't win because of voter fraud? there is no other way he could have won. Americans are not this stupid. When he gets impeached for treason we can all check "the facts"

      • Jim_C

        I know the fact that he got re-elected by a significant margin despite republican gerrymandering and efforts to "hold back the vote," and the fact that world class TEA party-favorite a-holes like Joe Walsh and Allen West got voted out of office is very inconvenient for your, um, "theory," but when Obama fails to be impeached for treason, you'll come back here and say "The 'D' in my name stands for 'dumb,'" right?

        • RedWhiteAndJew

          In spite of Romney handily winning the independent vote, a metric which usually means victory for a national candidate, Hussein bagged the leach vote through a massive voter drive staffed by paid "volunteers."

          I supposed some (D)ummies will use the fact that not every Tea Party favorite gets elected, but for a movement as young as ours, having the MSM acknowledge Tea Party candidates' influence in the fiscal cliff negotiations is a rather impressive feat.

          As far as Allen West goes, the race gerrymandered mentality of the dims demands that the full force of its voter base of the dead, illegals, and multiple personality types be turned out. The only articulate and clean black politicians the (D)umbs want, are the ones on the plantation. Of course, judging by some of the black (D)umbs that have passed through DC in the past decade, articulate and clean are not pre-reqs.

          • Jim_C

            What's wrong with voter drives, other than that they tend to bring in voters that don't vote Republican?

            West and Walsh are great examples because they were very high profile and they attracted boatloads of outside money. Their only problem: not having the requisite of character for the job. The difference between them and Michelle Bachmann, another high profile TEA party favorite? Bachmann's not a complete a-hole. Unlike West and Walsh, there's a decent human being there.

            Incidentally, I'm not knee-jerk against the TEA party. To the extent that it has brought everyday people into the process it's been a big plus for our country.

          • RedWhiteAndJew

            The problem is when the voters in question, are the ones with no skin in the game, who are so lazy, that they practically need to be wheeled onto buses.

            Paid volunteers, BTW.

            Their only problem: not having the requisite of character for the job.

            Yeah. They don't have the character for business-as-usual kick-the-can politics. They aren't stokers of the status quo. Regarding the rest of your character assessments, I'll take them with a grain of salt, and a cup of TEA. You lose all credibility when you characterize West as anything other than a decent human being.

            Not the being a decent human being is a pre-req either, judging by many of the (D)ummies in Washington.

            When you blather about fictional Republican vote suppression, and a lack of good character from the likes of Allen West (actually laughed out loud over that one), you just show yourself to be a jerk. The knee is optional.

          • Jim_C

            Republican voter suppression efforts are a fact Republicans are on record about trying to achieve–not a little story I read on someone's blog.

            I don't think West or Walsh comport themselveslike gentlemen, much less statesmen. People decry the lack of statesmen in Congress today? Exhibits A & B.

          • RedWhiteAndJew

            No, there are no instances of Republican voter suppression. Leftists in the MSM and government have tried to spin basic essentials like requiring ID, in short, showing you are who you say you are, as suppression, but that is all just so much gas. The real suppression starts, when you have people who have no business voting, voting.

            That you felt they didn't conduct themselves like gentlemen, is no doubt colored by the presence of the (R) after their names, and their Tea Party support.

            The un-statesmen-like conduct among the dims would quickly tax the alphabet, but few of the media gatekeepers are paying attention; and when the dim base applauds Biden's belligerent performance in the Vice-Presidential debates, it's easy to see that the standards are highly flexible, to say the least.

      • Barbara Griffith

        Voter fraud was the only way Obama could have won. The legal Latino population is only about 10 or 12% of the US population..The Unions made sure that every illegal alien that works for them voted using their phoney ID's. That's how Harry Reid managed to keep his job in congress. From what I understand bus loads of illegals were driven from California to the Nevada polling buildings to cast their votes if it had been honest Reid wouldn't still be in congress. There is also the electronic voting machines because some voters said that when they would try to vote for Romney Obama's name kept coming up. They were programed before the election. It was stolen again.

        • Jim_C

          Got any facts, or just tall tales?

          • RedWhiteAndJew

            Uh, 100% returns for Hussein in select Philadelphia polling place? Is your head that far in the sand?

  • Mary Sue

    anybody with a brain, republican or not, knows that promises of spending cuts in exchange for higher tax rates are ALWAYS worthless. Reagan found this out first hand, and I'm sure the Republicans won't be fooled a second time.

    But, going over the fiscal cliff might just render everything moot. Not that they could get a deal that would be significantly different from going over the cliff at any rate…

  • pierce

    Obama's new health care plan is very unpopular, but it needed intelligent people going to the polls last November that understood what Obama was up to. There is an old saying that dead people don't speak.
    It must be that the Democrats got just enough dead heads to vote, to insure his victory. It does not say too much for the people of America does it? There certainly was the opportunity, but some people chose to stay home, because they thought their vote would not make a difference. Absolutely stupid, but true.
    "I am not going to vote because I don't like either candidate." Stupider, but true.

  • David R

    Now if China reevaluates its currency and the cows start coming home….WE GOT A PROBLEM!!!

  • Chanameel

    Obama's logo is "The Eastern Sun Rising Over The West."

    He surrendered us to Islam when he lead 50,000 Muslim men in a Day of Prayer on the Mall in September 2009 (constellation Virgo). They prayed from morning until night for "The Soul of America."
    This was an Occult Rite of Surrender and also determines the "Future Destiny," of America.

    If Israel attacks Iran, it will disrupt the world's economy.
    Then Obama can blame Israel for the de-stablization.
    Thereby withdrawing all financial aid to Israel.
    Or, he can force Israel back to the 1967 borders thereby claiming the Temple Mount for Islam.
    If Israel doesn't agree to his plan, then he will withdraw all financial aid to Israel.

    The Health care plan is just a dhimmi tax.

  • slider 96

    Republicans will lose on this one should the deadline expire withg out a deal . They already have the well earned reputation of obstructionists and thgis will seal their fate . No matter how you try to twist it , republicans will be seen as protecting the rich , and letting the country go off the cliff . If it were JUST a matter of spending cuts , there would be a deal since the point of an equal compromise is roughly a matter of 200 billion in cuts . But althoughObama's poposal of 840 billion in cuts , republicans and tea party will not go along with tax hikes for their rich benefactors . In case you hadn't noticed , most of he country is well aware of this . So go overthe cliff , punch the middle class in the stomach , and watch what happens in the midterms .

  • Adolf Hitler

    Americans falling into 'dhimmitude'. How does it feel?

  • Jim_C

    Slider 96 has it exactly right.

    Despite a sluggish economy, despite loads of (mis)information regarding the ACA, despite the non-scandal of Benghazi, and every mouth-breathing waste of space claiming he is a Kenyan Muslim, Obama was re-elected by margins matched only by FDR, Eisenhower, and Reagan in modern times.

    But conservatives are still shocked–shocked!–that he was elected the first time. Most conservatives never could even accept the reality that Obama was president. Had they done so, their leaders might have had a better strategy than to pretending the first time was a fluke. The whole GOP primary season was largely a highlight reel of contempt for this country dressed in patriotic bunting. (At least they kept Palin out of the convention). With the notable exceptions of Huntsman and Paul, the smart guys steered well clear of this election.

    Too bad, because conservatives are generally right about a few things. At least the smart guys who stayed out of this race will be around in 2016.

    • RedWhiteAndJew

      non-scandal of Benghazi

      Heh. You are so deep in De Nile, you'll probably find one of Pharoah's Red Bull cans.

  • Ghostwriter

    I don't know,Adolf Hitler,and here's the thing,why on earth are you using one of the worst mass murders of all time as your screenname. It's appalling,disgusting,and vile. And,I'm not alone in THAT assessment.

  • Fred

    Obama's reelection only shows two things. Massive voter fraud and how stupid most Americans are. Obama is a traitor pure and simple and so are the people that voted for him. Obama wants to do everything he can the screw America. He doesn't care how badly the country is messed up so long as he can blame Bush, or Republicans or …. Anybody but himself.

  • Adolf Hitler

    Be nice, i'mhere to help deal with the latest dictator that the sheeples have elected.

  • tanstaafl

    The "Hollow" President.

  • Mary Sue

    Describing non-helpful, caving republicans:

    His name is RINO and he dances on the fence
    Oh, RINO, RINO, OMG, so very dense….

    -to the tune of Duran Duran's "Rio"

  • Thomas Wells

    Your : "Made In China" lead parachute. Look out belowwwwwww……..

  • WilliamJamesWard

    So we go over the figurative cliff and what happens, the government takes more of our hard
    earned money to pay out to client voters who want free this, that and the other thing. Amazingly
    living on the Left Coast I can hear the laughter from Washington all the way out here in
    loon land. New pet programs fawning on younger voters who haven't a clue that they're played
    and used by crooks in elected offices will fall into dependency like a mouse salivating at
    a cheesy trap. I am thinking of just saying no to paying more and telling the government to
    stick it and if they don't like it toss me into jail or shoot me but by no means am I giving
    anything else and will withdraw support form the political scam parties bludgeoning the Nation.
    William

    • WilliamJamesWard

      "Grab your parachute, no grab your ankles, get ready to kiss it goodbye"……William