And then, in a
twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
Though St. Nicholas tried to secure the red sledge,
It just weighed too much, and went over the edge.
— Paraphrasing Clement C. Moore, “The Night Before Christmas”
Somehow Christmas isn’t
the same this year. The colored lights brighten my upstairs windows,
the little tree is on a shelf in the living room, Christmas music is
playing as I address cards to family and friends I won’t see during
the holidays; but something isn’t quite right.
As I work my way
through my address book, I find myself wondering if the prospective
card recipient voted for Obama and if he/she did, should I save the
cost of the stamp? However, some of the known Obama voters are
family members I can’t just ignore.
This year, my Christmas
newsletter begins: “Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Winter
Solstice, unless as predicted by the Mayans, Dec. 21st is the end of
the world as we know it, in which case, might not be too joyous.
Maybe they were just referring to the election ...”
Another thing that
seems “off” this year: that annoyingly naive “Peace on Earth, good
will to men” greeting. There’s been peace in our own history’s part
of Earth only once that I know of: the so-called Pax Romana of
roughly 200 years, between 27 B.C. and 180 A.D.
The definition of Pax
Romana by the Collins English Dictionary: “an uneasy peace, one
imposed by a powerful state on a weaker or vanquished state.”
Republicans and tea party activists: nothing to carol about here.
Peace just means giving in and giving up.
Here’s an example of
Pax Obama: The president wants “to ask the rich to contribute more.”
Well, what happens if the rich, when asked to “contribute more,”
respond “no thanks”? Does Obama say, “OK, didn’t hurt to ask.”
I’ve always preferred
the version, “Peace on Earth to men of good will.” Let’s take a look
at the ongoing negotiations in Washington about the “fiscal cliff”:
any men of good will participating?
I would say yes, and ye
will know them by these actions: They will stand firm on basic
constitutional economic principles, and let the political chips fall
where they may. In the end, voters will wake up and “get it,” or
George Will postulated
Sunday on “This Week” that we do have consensus in this country,
that “we should have an ever-more-generous welfare state and not pay
for it.” Well, dramatic as that sounds, what else explains our
$16-plus trillion in national debt? Maybe Santa Claus wasn’t the
best tradition on which to raise our children.
The $16 trillion will
soon be $20 trillion if Obama gets his new spending. During the
election, he argued for “a balanced approach” of new revenues and
spending cuts; now he just wants more money. He seems to be refusing
to negotiate in good faith, preferring to get the tax
hikes and defense spending cuts that happen automatically in
Incredibly, he wants
Congress to give him the power to extend the debt ceiling on his
Neither political party
is proposing many specific spending cuts. The reason for this is
that suggested cuts will be demagogued by partisans from the other
party. The attack ad with Paul Ryan pushing Granny over the cliff
because he suggested Medicare reform was matched by Republicans who
attacked Obamacare for its similar Medicare cuts.
Here is what I would do
with the “fiscal cliff.” I’d note that the “Bush tax cuts” were
originally passed as “temporary” — a word that annoys taxpayer
activists when it’s applied to tax increases, like our 1989 state
income tax rate hike that’s almost 24 years old. If the tax cuts
expire, that’s just what was originally intended; so it’s not “new
taxes” now. I’d earmark the entire amount for paying down the
national debt, except for the payroll tax, which I’d use as intended
when it was created.
It was crazy to cut the
tax that is meant to fund Social Security, which is headed for
bankruptcy, albeit a few years later than Medicare. Despite what
some Democrats argue, Social Security is part of the ongoing
deficits, since the money raised for it is spent on general
government, not saved in a fictitious lock box with our names on it.
I’d create the lock box now.
Also, the Alternative
Minimum Tax should be indexed for inflation back to 1993, to keep
another promise, made when it was created, that it would be charged
only on higher incomes.
Next year, during the
recession caused by higher taxes, Congress should do “tax reform,”
simplifying the code, ending corporate welfare and focusing more on
consumption taxes so that both higher- and lower-income Obama voters
learn that there is no Santy Claus.
As for spending cuts:
Go ahead with the cuts in the “fiscal cliff sequester plan,”
including defense spending, but let “men of good will” make the
Now, all we need are at
least Three Wise Men leading the way.
Have yourself a Merry
Little Christmas, anyhow.