Your morning jolt: Saxby Chambliss, the Gang of Six, and the apostasy of tax increases

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss and the “Gang of Six” effort to shape a massive deficit-reduction package have sparked the curiosity of two of the world’s top business publications.

The Economist starts with the early conversations between Chambliss and U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.:

To limit partisanship and keep the proceedings low-key, Mr Chambliss and Mr Warner initially only invited senators who were not seeking re-election and not part of their party’s leadership. When the deficit commission, led by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, released its report on December 1st, however, the two Democratic and two Republican senators who supported the final report joined the group…..

The group now has an informal membership of around 30. They have yet to coalesce behind a single proposal, but are considering a bill that would instruct committees in Congress to enact the commission’s major recommendations, with triggers that would cut spending automatically and eliminate tax breaks if Congress does not act within prescribed deadlines.

But the group is unsure how fast to move, how ambitious to be, or how closely to follow the commission’s report which, as Mr Chambliss notes, “does not lend itself to legislative language.”

Meanwhile, Howard Gleckman of Forbes magazine writes of a “remarkable public exchange of letters” with Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and the suggestion that the Republican side “might – might – support revenue raising tax reform” as part of a deficit deal:

All of this is happening in code, and with classic Washington indirection. The three lawmakers—none of whom would ever be confused with a Rockefeller Republican—are the GOP half of a small bipartisan group of senators that is trying to develop a compromise deficit reduction plan…..

When word spread that the three were working with Senate Democrats to design a bipartisan budget that would reduce spending, restructure Social Security, and reform and raise taxes, Norquist pounced. The three senators, he wrote, “were implicated as parties to a bipartisan budget deal containing a net tax increase.”

….Within hours, the three lawmakers responded with a very carefully written letter of their own. “Our pledge,” they wrote, “is to protect taxpayers, not special interests. To do so we must analyze every aspect of the federal budget, including the tax code.” On the other hand, they asserted their belief that “tax hikes will hinder, not promote, economic growth.” Finally, they included the usual disclaimer: The news story that reported their participation in budget talks provided only “rumored details.”

Before the day was out, Norquist gave the three his blessing. Their letter, he said, was “very encouraging.”

Read the letters here and here.

***
Speaking of national attention, Gov. Nathan Deal is getting his share this week.

Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies, an ardent foe of illegal immigration, took on two governors who he thinks may be waffling on the topic.

One was Mitch Daniels of Indiana. The other:

What mystifies me is Georgia governor Nathan Deal’s weaselly equivocation on his state legislature’s immigration legislation.
Deal earned an A+ from Numbers USA during his 17 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, checked off all the right boxes when running for governor, and campaigned on bringing an Arizona-style law to Georgia.

But that was before the Farm Bureau got to him…..

Krikorian picked out recent comments from Deal acknowledging that Georgia businesses had raised concerns about being required to use E-Verify, the federal computer database that helps ascertain the residency status of new hires.

Russ Spencer of Fox5 this week had a sit-down with the governor, in which Deal appears more firm on the issue:

And in a piece on the forces pulling at Deal, my AJC colleague Jeremy Redmon quotes Deal spokesman Brian Robinson:

Deal’s spokesman said the governor’s work buttressing the HOPE scholarship program shows his backbone.

“The governor is going to take a tough stand” against illegal immigration, Robinson said. “We understand that some folks are not going to be happy unless he is in jackboots kicking in doors. We don’t think that is the proper role for him to play in this.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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19 comments Add your comment

blue dog

February 25th, 2011
9:17 am

I was starting to get optimistic about potential compromise on the budget as described in the first part of your article…then Norquist intervenes…game over. Why are these congressmen so afraid to do what is right…instead of what these extreme ‘no tax increase’ ever, want. Once again GOP = Party first…Country second.

HL

February 25th, 2011
9:22 am

Where did all the grown-ups go. Is it okay to have undocumented workers pluck our chickens but not educate their children? The final immigration bill will end up only penalizing children of illegals. Our local media will follow around students who are trying to improve themselves.

Double Zero Eight

February 25th, 2011
9:28 am

Before the election, numerous bloggers were skeptical
regarding Deal’s tough stance on immigration. His “waffling”
should come as no surprise. We “told you so”. He promised
what was needed to get elected, knowing that he had no plans
to follow through and keep his promise.

cs

February 25th, 2011
9:48 am

. “We understand that some folks are not going to be happy unless he is in jackboots kicking in doors.

Actually, “we” arent going to be happy with a watered down crappy bill that does nothing. “We” arent going to be happy continually providing services and resources to people who arent supposed to be here, that includes our water, etc etc etc…. If we are going to get democrat policy, then we may as well elect democrats.

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bart

February 25th, 2011
10:04 am

I did not vote for Deal ( I supported Handel.), but Deal id doing what’s best for the economy of this state. I am proud of him. I hope he doesn’t cave in to the racists.

findog

February 25th, 2011
10:06 am

As a proud member of the Farm Bureau, and former 4-H’er, I resent the implication that we would try to influence elected officials to take an illegal stand on any issue

Red

February 25th, 2011
10:10 am

Nothing like having slavery and cheap labor on the chicken plantations. These businesses that do not want to follow the law on illegals should all be picketed as well. These businesses know full well who is legal and who is not. To see Zippy do this is a shame. Mr. Follow the Letter of the Law is now pushing to be able to allow businesses exploit cheap foreign labor. Sad to see Zippy more in line with Obama on his position.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

February 25th, 2011
10:21 am

I just bought a really nice pair of pink and white flower pattern Doc Martens, IF gov Deal needs someone to kick in doors for political cover, give me a call!
You are NOT pleasing me at this point on Illegals..(but Iets face it, the other option was king rat royboy)..

STOP WAVERING on ILLEGALS!

Cliff

February 25th, 2011
10:57 am

Why do Republicans cower in fear of Grover Norquist? His is just one of many voices and there are many people who believe in the ideas of public good and communal sacrifice. The modest tax increase at the beginning of Clinton’s first term coupled with welfare reforms set the government on a path to surplus until it was all undone. If we are ever going to pay off the debt Norquist and the Tea Partiers scream about, we will have to have revenue exceeding expenses by quite a bit for many years. And my guess is that the additional revenues from a fully recovered economy will not provide enough to make up the difference, thus requiring some tax increases.

E.Dunwody

February 25th, 2011
11:35 am

When will people understand we have made a deal with the devil: the only way to provide the cheap goods and services that we demand is to pay wages that most Americans won’t accept. We all have a choice we can make with our wallets: we can choose to pay more for goods and services produced by legal workers, or we can go with the cheaper version produced by illegal immigrants. Our business community has made the bet we will not accept higher prices–thus their insistence that they cannot compete if they are forced to hire legal (read, more expensive) workers. So which is it? Everyone is all for throwing out illegal immigrants until someone complains it might cost the business community money. The only reason these people are here is because there are jobs to be had. If employers are prohibited from hiring them, they won’t be here. It’s a simple case of supply and demand, and so far we seem to be not willing to pay the price for ending the demand for cheap labor.

jconservative

February 25th, 2011
11:50 am

I was hoping that the “Gang of Six” would be able to put an adult plan on the table that actually cut spending, reduced the size of government and raised some taxes if that would be necessary to “balancing” the budget.

The last 30 years have proved one thing, that reducing revenue by tax cuts contributes to deficits.

SallyForth

February 25th, 2011
12:21 pm

@findog, LOL – ROTF! You meant that to be funny, right? Can you say “onion pullers”, “peach pickers”, “chicken pluckers”, et al of the many ways the farm industry currently influences elected officials to take an illegal stand and ignore immigration laws now on the books?

td

February 25th, 2011
12:50 pm

E.Dunwody

February 25th, 2011
11:35 am

Wages are not the total reason some corporations want illegals. There is also the benefits issue and the work ethic. Health care, paid or unpaid sick leave, workers comp and unemployment insurance cost corporations a ton of money that they do not pay for illegals. Work ethic is probably a bigger issue for them. The unskilled citizens of this country have mostly raised on an entitlement mentality and they are not going to work as hard or as long of hours as the illegals will. They will also complain about everything and want to take a tom of sick leave.

TallaDawg

February 25th, 2011
1:20 pm

Cliff @ 10:57AM

Amen!

RetiredSoldier

February 25th, 2011
1:27 pm

Convince me that all the waste, fraud and abuse plus un-necessary programs like NPR and Planned Parenthood etc have been eliminated and then if the budget isn’t balanced then we can talk about raising taxes.

CHIPSHIRLEY.COM

February 25th, 2011
1:29 pm

ECONOMICS IS A SCIENCE SO COMPLICATED THAT NOBODY FULLY UNDERSTANDS IT, BUT WE CAN LEARN FROM CONCRETE EXAMPLES IN OUR MODERN HISTORY AND IT IS A FACT THAT FROM 1940-1980 THE TAX RATE ON THE SUPER RICH WAS 70%-90% AND OUR NATION THRIVED, MOSTLY BY INVESTING IN EVERY ROAD BRIDGE AND BIT OF RAIL AND MISSILE TECHNOLOGY THAT WE SEE OUT THERE TODAY.

AND WHAT HAVE WE DONE SINCE 1980 WITH OUR 34% TAX ON BILLIONAIRES AND A TRILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF LOOPHOLES FOR THEM?

We’re sucking wind and it isn’t because we elected the first real Democratic President in 31 years! [That's right, President Clinton was a Republican in his economic and trade policies.]

We’re sucking wind because we have altered the architecture of the Golden Goose of socio-economic policy that made us the Greatest Nation in the History of the Earth!

We are a united country under the creed of Capitalism and also… This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land…

Right now we’re praying to one and cursing the other and we have to love both to live the American Dream.
http://chipshirley.com/
CHIPSHIRLEY.COM

Beavis

February 25th, 2011
1:44 pm

Cliff
If you gave money to a drunk and told him to spend it on anything but booze, and you came back later and he was wasted and asked for more money would you give it to him? Now substitute congress/senate for drunk……It does not matter how much money you give to somebody if they don’t have the sense to spend it wisely. That is where we are at today, these wonderful elected officials that are so smart they don’t know how to read a bill, or balance a check book.