- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 4, 2012

How many times does Lucy have to pull away the football before Charlie Brown finally wises up and quits playing her game?

Republicans don’t have to keep falling for the Democrats’ duplicity. The Democrats pretend the so-called “fiscal cliff” debate is about getting our financial house in order, so they propose a tax increase on people earning more than $200,000 a year (i.e., “millionaires and billionaires” in Democrat-speak), which will fund their leviathan government for all of — drumroll — four days.

These are pathologically unserious people. Their goal is not to solve the current fiscal crisis. Their goal is to use the crisis to grow government and further their statist agenda which, incidentally, created the crisis in the first place. Recall Democrat Rahm Emanuel’s unmasked moment of clarity: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”

Now, in hopes of enacting their panacea of tax increases, Democrats offer spending cuts that everyone knows never will happen. What’s worse, the president calls for $255 billion in more spending. Only a Democrat would claim increased spending will reduce the deficit, and only a Republican would fall for it.

The Democrats’ lust for tax increases goes far beyond simple class warfare, as atrocious as that alone is. Democrats are fully aware that the rich already are paying more than their fair share. The wealthy (top 10 percent) may earn 50 percent of the income, but they pay 70 percent of the federal taxes. If that’s not fair, what is? Eighty percent? One hundred percent?

The Democrats’ long game is to push an ever-increasing tax burden onto fewer and fewer taxpayers. This grows a class of Americans who may or may not earn paychecks but certainly become beneficiaries of government largesse while remaining blissfully detached from its enormous cost. (What’s their fair share?) Economists would call this a recipe for disaster. Democrats would call it a voting base. Weak-kneed Republicans are poised to help them build it.

What will follow is just as predictable: The economy will continue to suffer, the debt will continue to rise, and Democrats will blame Republicans. Why play their game? Republicans must reject compromises that (1) only hope to slow the Democrats’ inexorable march toward statism and (2) absolve Democrats from blame. One Republican vote is all the cover they need.

The Republicans understood this in the run-up to Obamacare. Outnumbered and unable to stop this disaster, they at least were smart enough to stay away from it. They could have “compromised” in hopes of making it slightly less disastrous, but that’s a fool’s errand. Just ask former Rep. Bart Stupak, whose abortion compromise failed to protect the unborn or his job.

Now Democrats squarely own health care. They can’t blame Republicans for this one. Your insurance rates went up? Thank a Democrat. Your doctor no longer takes Medicare? Thank a Democrat. Your company cut your hours back to part time in order to avoid Obamacare penalties? Thank a Democrat.

As for the “fiscal cliff” debate, let the Democrats own it. Republicans would be foolish to compromise with Democrats, whose real goal is to grow the non-taxpayer class by shifting the tax burden onto fewer and fewer voters. This is exactly what a tax increase on “the rich” does. It would be far better to allow all of the George W. Bush tax cuts to expire than to play into the Democrats’ hands. The economy will suffer either way, and Republicans will be blamed either way — that’s a given — but the Democrats finally will be exposed.

The left has railed against the “Bush tax cuts for the rich” for a decade. (Start preparing those YouTube video montages now.) Democrats’ dishonesty will be fully exposed, as the typical middle-class family of four who once bought into the anti-Bush mythology sees their taxes go up by $2,200. If the Bush tax cuts were only for the rich, the difference must be what we’ll call the Obama tax hikes.

Democrats hate the Bush tax cuts on a visceral level. In their minds, those cuts caused the recession, exploded the debt and are the root of all evil. If undoing them makes things worse — and it will — Democrats have some serious explaining to do. If Republicans aren’t up to winning that debate, it’s time to replace them.

It would be far better to let the Democrats own this disaster than to put a GOP stamp of approval on it. Republicans would be foolish — as Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist puts it — to “have their fingerprints on the murder weapon.”

Dr. Milton R. Wolf, a Washington Times columnist, is a radiologist and President Obama’s cousin. He blogs at miltonwolf.com.