By Stephen Moore
Republican fiscal cliff negotiators are infuriated because they can't get the White House to propose serious spending cuts. They complain that behind closed doors the White House team and congressional Democrats want only one thing: higher taxes.
The House Ways and Means Committee, run by Dave Camp of Michigan, issued a statement yesterday that said Democrats have proposed "nearly $5 in tax increases for every $1 of spending cuts." In exchange for a $1.6 trillion tax hike, they have offered a meager $340 billion in spending cuts. This is sounding like the worst fiscal deal ever. At least Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were offered between $2 and $3 of spending cuts for every dollar they raised in taxes. Granted, those spending cuts never happened, but at least Republicans could claim they got concessions from the Democrats.
Our sources also tell us that the Democrats have adopted the line that there is no problem with Social Security, so no cuts or reforms are necessary. That takes one of the biggest spending items off the table. And, of course, Social Security is a major source of future deficits with unfunded liabilities in the trillions of dollars. We hear that President Obama wants to take ObamaCare off the table, too.
Mr. Obama said throughout the campaign that he favored a "balanced approach" to deficit reduction, which apparently means a 5-to-1 ratio of taxes to spending reductions. During the Republican presidential primaries, a liberal journalist asked the candidates if they would agree to even $10 of cuts for one dollar of tax increases. Then the media denounced the candidates when they said no to such a deal.
Now we know why. There are no cuts, and there will never be a balanced approach to deficit reduction under this White House. "Republicans who think Democrats will offer spending cuts or entitlement reforms are chasing after golden unicorns," warns Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform. "Even when they spend months and months waiting for the offer, it never comes. They are waiting and waiting for Godot."