So it’s December 21, and from all appearances the Mayan calendar thing is all wrong. (Like you were really worried about that.) But maybe we got the Mayan calendar all wrong: the date suggested was not the actual apocalypse, but the fiscal apocalypse indicated by the failure of “Plan B” in the House yesterday, making it all but certain that we’ll go over the “fiscal cliff” on January 1. There’s some possibility that Obama and Harry Reid might agree to extending the current rates until July 1 with the idea being that there isn’t time now to make a deal, but I think Obama is delighted to go over the cliff, raise taxes on everybody (because he hates the American middle class and knows that’s where the money is) while being able to blame Republicans for it.
Republicans must therefor be ready to take the hit, and above all remind people that Democrats ten years ago almost uniformly opposed cutting the rates that have now been re-imposed on them. It will require persistence and nerve, and the message that the GOP stands for cutting everyone’s taxes, not just favored groups. And please take on board the conclusion of my former colleague Chris DeMuth from his article on “The Real Cliff” in the current Weekly Standard:
These institutional tasks can hope to succeed only after we have developed a new public rhetoric of fairness. It should be a matter of acute national embarrassment that our leaders can pretend to be redistributing from wealthy to average citizens when, in fact, they are redistributing in far greater measure from the young and unborn. Our rhetoric must teach that, although government borrowing is appropriate for certain purposes, the routine redistribution of wealth from future generations to ourselves is undemocratic, corrupting, and ultimately impoverishing. We don’t need to wait for a deadline or a crisis to take this intellectual leap.