Raul Labrador's lonely leap from the fiscal cliff

When it came time to confront the “fiscal cliff” Tuesday night, Rep. Mike Simpson reached for a parachute.

Rep. Raul Labrador took the plunge, alongside other members of the House GOP’s tea party wing.

The votes — and their post-game comments — speak volumes about the way Idaho’s two Republican House members view the nation’s budget crisis, and Congress’ more fundamental governing crisis.

Simpson recognized the risks. According to analysts, the fiscal cliff’s automatic tax increases and spending cuts threatened to throw the economy back into a recession. He recognized that the fiscal cliff compromise, for all its limitations, undid some of the worst damage wreaked by a dysfunctional federal government that had failed to address a fiscal crisis that had been looming for months.

Said Simpson Tuesday: “This bill is a critical piece of legislation that lowers taxes for nearly every taxpayer. The unfortunate reality is that under current law every taxpayer was hit today with a tax increase. The bill we passed blocks those tax increases for nearly all Americans — effectively lowering the taxes they were to begin paying today.”

After voting against the compromise forged by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Labrador focused on the deal’s sizeable shortcoming: a delay in spending cuts.

“This was a difficult vote, but as far as I am concerned the Biden-McConnell deal is worse than no deal at all. ... The deal does nothing to address out-of-control spending and delays the only meaningful cuts Congress has been able to pass in the last two years.”

Difficult vote? I don’t buy that.

Labrador didn’t have to hold his nose and support something he didn’t like (despite all the drama leading up to Tuesday night’s vote, House leaders had ample support for the plan). And now, Labrador gets to say that this deal was “worse than no deal,” secure in the knowledge that there is no proving him wrong.

We’ll never know for sure that the analysts were right. We’ll never know that congressional inaction would have triggered a recession. We’ll never know because Simpson and 256 other House members (along with Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo, Jim Risch and 87 other senators) cast what I would consider the more difficult vote.

Labrador has a point when he labels the fiscal cliff compromise a temporary fix. He also questions, fairly, whether either
party is serious about addressing the debt. And he is right when he says the nation cannot erase a $16 trillion debt through revenues alone (although it would be just as impossible to erase this debt through spending cuts alone).

The bill before Labrador and his colleagues Tuesday was a mere stopgap, one that leaves a mountain of unfinished fiscal business for another day. Yes, this compromise came one day late and comes up well more than a dollar short. The fact that Congress seems incapable of governing beyond the short-term should be an embarrassment to its members.

But sometimes, elected officials simply have to look at the actual bill they have in front of them, rather than merely wishing for something bigger and better.

On Tuesday, three members of the Idaho delegation aligned with the governing wing of their party. Much as they did in the summer of 2011, when they voted to increase the federal debt ceiling and honor the government’s spending commitments.

Meanwhile — and as he did on the debt ceiling issue — Labrador again aligned himself with the naysaying wing of his party.

baby steps

KR, please consider this one little bit you wrote:
"According to analysts, the fiscal cliff’s automatic tax increases and spending cuts threatened to throw the economy back into a recession. "

So if raising taxes produces a negative effect on the economy, the opposite of that is most likely is true also- reducing taxes produces a positive effect on the economy.

Agree or disagree?

No answer is absolute or perfect, Pimp2-

The key to reducing the federal deficit is, ultimately, growth in the economy. Tax increases can limit growth, as fewer people would have money to spend. And, cutting gov't spending can also significantly limit growth, since government provide a lot of money for workers to spend on their rent, mortgage, car payment, food, clothes, etc.

Growth is the most important factor; in federal government actions during 2013, hope for policies that will encourage growth.

Reducing taxes, esp for the very wealthy, doesn't necessarily produce any positive effect on the US economy. a Billionnaire simply spending more - perhaps buying a Rolls-Royce rather than a Lincoln - doesn't have much effect on the economy overall (except, in this case, moving some profits overseas). But a middle class family, who can now afford to trade in the old junker for a new Ford, gives the US economy a boost.

so - agree or disagree? Don't know what KR might say, but I gotta disagree, partly because of the absolute tone presented in your question.

Obama taxes success while

Obama taxes success while ignoring spending JUST LIKE SOCIALIST EUROPE!!

So you ARE Rancher!


Apple users, run the Gig of RAM your PC needs to have and read the dumb tech white papers, wrinkle your forehead and buy more food and toilet paper with the difference. The internet is a piece of junk anyway and your cats know this.

class warfare

No one said anything about taxes for the rich vs taxes for the middle.

The principle is the same in any 'class'.

Your example of buying a car is simply not true. The sales tax alone is important enough to consider. It doesn't matter if one billionaire buys a 100,000 car or if 5 middle incomers each buy a 20,000 car.
Reducing taxes for any class of people affects the economy. As does raising taxes.

Further your example of US vs foreign - ha!
Ford’s Fusion, Fiesta, and Lincoln MKZ models are built in Mexico, while the
Edge, Flex, Lincoln MKX, and Lincoln MKT are built in Canada. Shall I list the 'foreign cars' made in America?

Try again RCB. In a macro-sense, it is either true or not true.

They say raising taxes slows the economy.
What will lowering taxes do?

Lowering taxes will increase the deficit.

Don't forget about that - it's a topic conservatives rave about. It's all in the numbers, Pimp2. Ya can't lower taxes and at the same time erase the deficit.

baby steps

Not true RCB.

It works like this- lower taxes equals increased a)consumer spending and b)corporate spending (investment) which leads to increased economic growth. Increased economic growth equals more tax revenues. Any part of that you don't agree with or don't understand?

Would you rather have 25% of 1 Billion or 20% of 1.5Billion?

Right now the major US Corporations (such as Apple) collectively have trillions of dollars in CASH sitting as offshore profits. Perfectly legal- they earned it outside the US so the US has no right to tax it. But to move it to the US to invest (buildings, assets, employment, R&D) it would get taxed first, before it would be invested. Drop the tax rate or exclude it for this type of situation and a windfall of corporate investment would arrive.

W.Buffet and other finance gurus have widely recognized this point.


History doesn't support your view, P2

Under Reagan, tax cuts led to a larger deficit, despite significant economic growth. Under Bush2, the tax cuts ballooned into a huge deficit, partly because the wars weren't paid for, and partly because the tax cuts didn't produce the growth Bush's counselors predicted. Your assertion that I don't understand history is bu11.

I'm not a fan of Bill Clinton, but note that he raised taxes in a deal with R speaker Gingrich, as you may recall; that decision, along with good economic growth, led to the first balanced federal budget in many years.

"Rep. Raul Labrador took the

"Rep. Raul Labrador took the plunge, alongside other members of the House GOP’s tea party wing."

and for that, I will be voting for him come his re-election.

I Like Part Of Your Piece

It was the "throw the economy back into a recession" part where you pretend there was ever going to be a genuine effort to fix the economy. I got a chuckle over that one. But there is a serious conundrum for Republicans. Vote one way and cut taxes or not vote and allow taxes to go up which would rake in a little money and do something about Obama's monstrous defict and runaway debt. In neither case would we have the Democrats help in solving any part of the problem.

GOP never paid for 2 wars

The GOP and President Bush 2 took us to 2 wars that were never paid for. Ironic that the party that took us to war and hand out money to foreign countries is also against adequate health care, bridges that don't fall or a paltry social security pittance.

I Can't Image It but Its True

There are still a few people who actually believe the Democrat controlled media and all the Obama lies.

So in your world

The wars never happened?

So we have found that you have other IDs it would seem.


Apple users, run the Gig of RAM your PC needs to have and read the dumb tech white papers, wrinkle your forehead and buy more food and toilet paper with the difference. The internet is a piece of junk anyway and your cats know this.

"... the naysaying wing..."

those who have a problem with $41 in tax increases for every $1 in spending cuts.

Roger That

But don't expect these low-brow, simple minded, slow thinking Obama lovers to actually concern themselves with what they have done to this country. After all, they want more Obama money, free birth control and free phones. My gawd! To think this nation actually elected that Cretan again. Maybe we don't deserve to be a free nation. There are still too many political Ludites who vote Democrat because they think the free money and party time will go on and on and someone else will pay for it. They are in for a shocker come next pay day. Surprise! Obama said he would not raise taxes but he lied.

Idaho has had Conservative leadership for a generation

where are the jobs? Idaho is the lowest in the Nation in wages. The Idaho GOP owns this economy.

An oped without an original opinion

Just a blogger looking for attention. This bill did nothing to address the mess. Regardless of political affiliation we have an actual fiscal issue in this country. Record deficit spending, and record deficit projections. No plan to pay back the debt - just leave it for our kids, and their kids, right Dem's? I dont know why the media is ignoring it. They are supposed to hold the government accountable and question everything. Instead we get more of the same from every major news outlet. Everything the Dem's do in office is Holy, and everything the R's do is vial, racist, hate mongering.

Do these media types ever stop and take a look at themselves? Wasnt the leading story almost every day during Bush's term the new allied death count in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Where is that report every day? Where are the Green Day albums dedicated towards reducing the office of the President to a cowboy? Where is the pop culture of political dissent being Patriotic? Now, if citizens disagree with the President Obama they are all labeled TeaBagger's, or fringe nuts, "wings".

To digress to this "deal". Included with the tax hike was new spending that negated most all of the new revenue the tax hikes are going to bring. Progressive politics? Not according to the NuMedia.

So, you repudiate that Kevin is an actual legitimate staffer?

He has been here slightly longer than me (well over 5 years)!

How curious.


Apple users, run the Gig of RAM your PC needs to have and read the dumb tech white papers, wrinkle your forehead and buy more food and toilet paper with the difference. The internet is a piece of junk anyway and your cats know this.