Side-note: I was going to title this the GOP position, but I'm not sure many/most in the GOP actually appreciate the position itself, or why it's worth fighting for. Rather than make an assumption as to motivations and priorities, I'll simply call my position the counter-Obama perspective, and/or the anti-socialism approach.
In the debate over what way to back off the so-called "unavoidable" automatic deficit-reduction measures Congress enacted (which, if you recall, exist because Congress couldn't find a compromise for deficit reduction the last time around, following the previous "compromise" which allowed effectively unlimited national debt increases in exchange for the cuts the government is now desperate to eliminate), the Democrats have done an enviable job framing the debate in the main stream media as a decision between cutting taxes for the middle class, and cutting taxes for the rich. Now, while the framing itself is obviously inaccurate (Republicans want to cut taxes for everyone, whereas Democrats only want to cut taxes for the "not rich"), the GOP isn't doing itself any favors by not refuting the characterization, nor articulating the alternative in a way which is compelling. So, I'm going to give it a try.
Obama's stated positions are as follows:
- He's willing to compromise with Republicans, and everything should be on the table for discussion
- He's unwilling to compromise or discuss not hiking taxes on rich people
- [also] He's unwilling to compromise or discuss cutting or reforming entitlements, especially the massive new one bearing his name
Setting aside the obvious hypocrisy and absurdity, and concentrating just on the tax question, the counter-position (well, a counter-position anyway) to Obama's proposal is this: we are unwilling to accept any change to the tax law which makes taxation less equal and/or more biased. By equal, in this context, I mean percentage-equivalent for all income, all levels, for all people, under all conditions. Any change which makes taxes less equal should be rejected with conviction, and I'll explain why.
Taxes determine the size of government. You can have deficit spending to increase the size without corresponding taxation, but eventually you need to inflate-down the deficit, and/or increase taxation to compensate. We should have an honest national discussion about the necessary size of government; it's a long-time coming, and desperately needed. In the meantime, though, it's of vital importance for the continued survival of the country that taxation be equally applied across the population, without bias or favor. We must move toward a more flat tax system, or risk the country falling apart.
Consider the current situation: nearly 50% of the country pays no federal income taxes. That's 50% of the voters who don't care at all about raising taxes, because it doesn't affect them. They could care less about controlling deficit spending, because they don't expect to pay for it. They are, at best, not qualified to elect representatives making policy decisions on taxation, and in reality willingly biased corrupt participants in creating an unbalanced system of government-controlled wealth confiscation. They will willfully and gleefully push the country off the cliff of fiscal ruin, because they are not vested in the process of paying the check. This must be fixed if the country is to survive.
What the country needs is this: every time a politician talks of extra spending, everyone should connect that to an extra few dollars out of their personal paycheck every month... everyone. Not just the rich, not the entitled, not the other guy... everyone. When Obama talks of bailing out GM, that should be one less Christmas present every poor family gets to buy for their children, because some union worker with outrageous benefits needs to keep his job pretending to build cars nobody wants. When Obama wants an extra $50 billion or so to spread around to his campaign backers, that's food out of people's mouths. Yes, that will be painful, for lots of people... but that's the vital point. It's shared pain, shared by everyone, paying for the stuff the government decides is absolutely necessary for the best interests of everyone. And, at the end of the day, it's about being able to get rid of the scum wasting our money, because they really are wasting all our money; and if everyone feels the fiscal pain, we might finally get some real, much needed change, before it's too late.