Government Bytes


Obama's "Debt Failsafe Trigger" Just Code for Tax Hikes

by Brandon Greife / /

Apple’s now-ubiquitous catchphrase, “there’s an app for that,” is one of the truer advertising pitches I’ve heard in a long time. There really is an app for literally everything, from the useful, like Shazam which allows you to identify any song that’s playing, to the addictive (I’m looking at you Angry Birds), to the downright absurd, does anyone really need Pocket Girlfriend? Now the Obama Administration has decided to follow much the marketing strategy as Apple. Problem? There’s a commission for that!

Yes, in Washington there is simply no problem that cannot be solved by talking about it…a lot. This has become no clearer than in President Obama’s “attempt” to eliminate our deficit. First, he created a bipartisan deficit commission to identify savings in the budget and come up with a plan to achieve fiscal sustainability. They came up with a plan. Obama promptly put together a budget that completely ignored it. Fast forward six months and we’re facing the same problems. Obama’s solution? A commission, this time to be chaired by Vice President Joe Biden.

Apparently when President Obama doesn’t like his hand he simply demands that the deck be reshuffled and dealt again.

The new commission is off to an ominous start. The Hill reports

“Assistant House Minority Leader James Clyburn (D-SC), who will participate in debt-reduction talks with Vice President Joe Biden Thursday, said Wednesday that a debt failsafe trigger is a “good starting point” for a compromise over the raising of the nation’s debt ceiling.”

The abstrusely-named “debt failsafe trigger” is a clever maneuver to raise taxes, even for Washington’s standards. The provision would specify certain targets for deficit reduction, which if not met, would trigger spending cuts and tax increases. What’s especially clever is that it will allow taxes to be raised automatically, without a vote!

Dick Morris cleverly labeled it “the immaculate conception tax increase.” And it could be just the miracle Democrats need to institute higher taxes without having to answer to already-overburdened taxpayers.

If you haven’t noticed Washington has not exactly been a paragon of fiscal conservatism over the past several decades. Every year they say they’ll spend less yet deficits and debt have steadily grown. Given that reality, a scheme that automatically raises taxes if Washington continue its spending spree seems like a surefire way to take the burden off politicians and place it squarely on the backs of taxpayers.

Not only is it a direct path to higher taxes, it prevents taxpayers from knowing who to blame. Since taxes will be raised automatically, and not by vote, legislators are protected from having to explain why they chose to raise taxes. As the anger of taxpayers shoots through the roof, Washington can collectively throw its hands in the air and chant “who me?”

Yes you! Americans won’t be fooled by this blatant attempt to appear concerned about the deficit while simultaneously funding increases in the size of government. The “debt failsafe trigger” may sound like a sophisticated silver-bullet that can cure all of Washington’s ills, but I’m not buying. Not even if it was only 99 cents in the App Store.