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By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Patrick Louis Knudsen
President Obama has a way to delay the across-the-board $85 billion sequestration scheduled for March 1. His not-so-surprising proposal is to raise taxes so he can spend more. Fortunately, the GOP is not going along with this tired, old plan.
I have one question about the way Majority Leader Harry Reid has been conducting the Senate. Has he committed a felony or a mere misdemeanor?
House Speaker John A. Boehner wants to use a vote on tax hikes for millionaires to pressure President Obama into putting real spending reductions on the table. Instead of cuts, however, Senate Democrats are quietly preparing to add billions in new outlays to the deal.
The 2010 midterm elections showed the American people want to tackle crushing federal debt before it's too late. The Tea Party succeeded in handing control of the House of Representatives to Republicans, which thwarted White House plans for another massive stimulus program.
Congressional Republican leaders are crowing that they cut discretionary spending in the ginormous omnibus spending bill. In fact, spending will go up in 2012 because of smoke-and-mirrors budget games that have become commonplace on Capitol Hill. A 1,200-page piece of legislation filed late the night before the vote continues to be the unfortunate way politicians operate.
While the rest of the public was enjoying Thanksgiving turkey and kicking off the start of the Christmas shopping season, the federal government put another $237 billion on its limitless credit card. That's Washington's version of austerity. Instead of doing something about the runaway deficits, Capitol Hill is doing everything it can to avoid conflict.
Members of Congress, even with supercommittee powers, are incapable of cutting spending. With the public debt growing more and more out of control, something has to be done. So House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, joined his ranking member, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Maryland Democrat, in reviving the idea of a line-item veto on Wednesday.
"The president keeps saying that the spending cuts in sequestration would be tough on the fragile economy, but he doesn't seem to have a problem taking money out of the economy by taxes," explained Mr. Knudsen. "Keynesians always do that -- they fight against taking money out of the private sector with spending cuts, but have no problem doing it by raising taxes."
"The original Budget Control Act was about deficit reduction, but the sequester part was only a reduction in spending -- it had nothing to do with taxes," said Patrick Louis Knudsen, senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation. "For that reason, if you're going to replace it with something else, it should be alternative spending reductions."