As the clock winds down on the debt ceiling debate and it appears more and more likely that we will have a deal, we need to pause for a moment and recognize how the debate over taxes and spending in this country has changed. The victory for conservatives in this debate cannot be understated. We have moved from a stimulus plan in 2009 that threw $1 trillion against the wall and hope it stuck, to a day where even liberal politicians grit their teeth and extol the virtues of cutting spending and not raising taxes.
President Barack Obama, the most liberal Democratic President in a generation, is now a budget cutter.
Furthermore, although the President still attempts to pander to his party’s left wing by calling for tax increases on the so-called rich, the emerging debt ceiling deal does not contain any new tax increases. Last year he even agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts.
The profound change in the tone of this debate is also readily apparent at the state and local level. A little more than a month ago, the California legislature was locked in a debate over the state budget. Democrats insisted that the only way the budget could be balanced without schools shutting down, hospitals closing and social services recipients roaming the streets, was to extend the tax increases that were enacted to paper over a prior budget deficit. Republicans held firm, the Democrats did not get the votes for a tax increase, and alternate budget was passed. In the month since those taxes expired, the seas have not risen and the streets are calm. My children’s school is still going to open in a few short weeks
The changing nature of the debate over taxing and spending has even reached my hometown of Claremont. Claremont is home to the Claremont Colleges which means its voter base is made up of many left-leaning professors and college administrators. Over the years, various City Council members have pushed to open a medical marijuana dispensary and the Council has restricted resident’s use of water as part of a green agenda. Barack Obama got nearly twice as many votes in Claremont as John McCain.
Yet this week he Claremont City Council voted to require the city employees to pay their share of their pension contributions. Furthermore, the council agreed to do it in a fashion more accelerated than the plan recommended by a committee appointed to study the issue. That same committee also recommended a utility users tax increase to fund city employees salaries and benefits. It is clear however, that there will be no tax increase in Claremont.
Claremont’s City Council elections are nonpartisan in nature, but it usually is very easy to figure out where each candidate stands. Thus it was interesting when Councilman Larry Schroeder, who was elected with support from local Democrats, was quoted in the local Claremont Courier as stating the agreement “will lead us well beyond 2015-2016 to a successful path for the community without raising taxes.”
“Without raising taxes”. Enjoy that for a moment. When college towns and liberal city councils are singing the virtues of cutting spending and not raising taxes, we know conservatives are winning.