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Betsy McCaughey
Liberty Belle
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Don't Be a Grinch, Mr. President


Bad news is pouring out of Washington D.C. this Yuletide season, but across the rest of the country, you can hear glad tidings.

Santa needs to bring memory enhancers to members of Congress panicked over the fiscal cliff. They forget that they deliberately created this cliff. The idea was to enact automatic spending cuts no one wants that would take effect in 2013 if Congress failed to devise a better plan to curb excessive spending and borrowing.

The saga began 18 months ago, when President Obama demanded that Congress hike the federal borrowing limit by a whopping $2.1 trillion, the largest hike in history. Congressional Republicans capitulated, but the deal they struck provided $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts beginning in fiscal 2013, unless Congress came up with comparable savings. Congress did nothing. The borrowed money is used up, the automatic cuts are looming, and Washington politicians are wobbling.

As the fiscal cliff negotiations began, President Obama offered only $400 billion in net spending reductions (not $1.2 billion) and demanded a new debt ceiling increase, this time unlimited. Speaker of the House John Boehner signals he will raise the debt ceiling again, hike tax rates on top earners and meet in the middle on spending. In short, both sides intend to continue spending on borrowed money, stuffing the IOUs in your child's Christmas stocking.

That's the bad news. The good news is that you don't have to worry about your taxes going up on Jan. 1 if there is no deal.

Obama is scaremongering when he says the two sides have to rush to compromise before the Bush tax rates expire at year-end. Nonsense.

Most people have taxes withheld gradually during the year. The Congressional Budget Office confirms that the president has the authority to instruct the U.S .Treasury to freeze withholding rates while the sides negotiate. Don't be a Grinch, Mr. President.

There's more good news this Yuletide, but you have to leave Washington D.C. to see it. The battle to protect personal freedom and economic growth goes on, despite President Obama's re-election.

Michigan passed a "right to work" law on Dec. 11, liberating employees to work for a unionized employer without being forced to join the union or have dues automatically deducted from their pay. Between 1980 and 2011, employment grew 71 percent in "right-to-work" states, twice the job growth in states without such laws.

If right-to-work can pass in the heavily unionized Midwest, other states will enact it, also. Americans will tell you, "All I want for Christmas is a job."

Deck the halls for the nine states without income taxes. They had triple the job growth of states with an income tax over the last decade.

Bravo that as of Dec. 15, half the states are refusing to set up health insurance exchanges, a major setback against the unpopular Obama health law. States are reacting to the administration's "our way or the highway approach," which allowed no flexibility. Now the federal government has to erect the exchanges, and there is little time. Exchanges are supposed to be operating by October 2013, to begin enrolling those who are currently uninsured and the millions more who are expected to lose their on the job coverage when employers balk at the high cost of Obamacare.

Back in Washington, there's a silver lining to the forced withdrawal of Ambassador Susan Rice from consideration for Secretary of State. Even an African-American woman can be called incompetent — a sure sign that we are progressing toward a color blind, gender blind society.

Merci beaucoup to France's socialist president, Francois Hollande, for showing that class warfare results in fewer wealth producers and less tax revenue. Since Hollande raised tax rates on millionaires on Sept. 28, as many as half of France's wealthiest families have reportedly left, including France's film icon Gerard Depardieu, who moved 800 yards across the border to Belgium. President Obama, who bashes the rich with the same joie de vivre as Hollande, needs to learn from the economic disaster befalling France.

Belated thanks to former Labor prime minister Gordon Brown of England for proving the folly of soaking the rich. In 2010, Brown raised the top income tax rate. In less than a year, nearly 2/3 of the nation's million pound earners had gone to other countries or simply stopped reporting high incomes.

Merry Christmas to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany. She is tackling Europe's borrowing crisis one step at a time, showing countries drowning under debt how to spend less and prosper. Germany still has the AAA credit rating that the U.S. and France used to have.

The best holiday gift Washington could give us is serious plan to curtail spending, not another gimmick to borrow now and defer spending reform. Failing again is like putting coal in every American kid's stocking.

Betsy McCaughey is a former Lt. Governor of New York and author of "DeCoding the Obama Health Law". Email her at To find out more about Betsy McCaughey and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



2 Comments | Post Comment
Ma'am;... If the right to work legislation liberated working people; where was the ground swell of popular support or even vocal demands for it from working people??? This was a liberation of union money from union people who are forced to represent working people who are not required to pay as union members do for the services they recieve... If such a law were applied to any business there would be immediate howls for justice all the way to the supreme court against this obvious taking...
I can personally testify that no one has ever had to be a union member even in a union shop... I broke my business agent's back with my bare hands, and was put out of the union like a dog; but no one could stop me from working until I retired from the union... No one can stand against a right, and here is an example of people controlling the course of the argument by controlling the vocabulary; but the only right here is the right to take so much from union people legally that the union dies on the vine... This is law used as a class weapon...
This is a law designed to rob law of its meaning and nothing more... Why were unions ever allowed??? Why did anyone ever accept unions even in their shrivelled and impotant form??? The answer is found in the oath every union member must take, swearing to never having been a member of any organization calling for the violent overthrow of the government of the United States of America... The unions were only accepted because they divided the people and joined the capitalist class in the battle against world communism...
With the unconditional defeat of communism; nothing could save the unions from looking like communists themselves...The simple demand for fair wages and work place democracy is enough to make unions the target of law- meeting the demands of capitalists having no real need of it... This is an example of a cur crapping on the graves of heroes, and it was never nothing less than heroic to demand justice in a land of injustice...
My job did not only demand labor, but came at the risk of my life, and in spite of a good wage by most standards, was impossibly challenging... In the end, the liberty of union membership was the freedom to do quality work; work that would not fall with a wind or a heavy snow like so many buildings do about the ears of right to work state citizens...Do you want your children in a school built by slaves hounded from point to point to produce substandard buildings for the pleasure of knowing they does so in rags, without benefit of health insurance or pension??? Any sort of criminal might make as good an ironworker as the worst sort of ironworker... It is not talent that makes most ironworkers, but desparation made more cruel by the rollercoaster of season and economy we must ride... The stress of a daily danger of death, and the emotional demands of contractors and forman who can be the most demeaning and ruthless of tyrants in the effort to get the job done with a reasonable profit contribute to failed lives and failed relationships across this nation, and through the construction industry....
These law makers in their soft chairs have no idea how hard is a seat of iron, how impossibly cold it can be, or how hot, or how wet... Even slick with ice, or slush, greasy or dusty, an ironworker must often hold it closer than a lover, and like a lover, hold it for dear life...Who are these men to make impediments to the life of the union for sport, and call it a right when it is the opposite of a right, the very antipod of a right???
All true rights have in common their essential necessity for life... People will die for this right to work and not because union men kill them... It does not matter if the union fails the workers... It does not matter if compared to some ideal sugar, that the union is shet... Not one union in Ameirca would be necessary if the government could be inspired to take seriously the preamble of the constitution where in is listed the goals for which it was created...
Why should any working man pay a union to achieve what his goverment was created to achieve, and will not achieve though he pays that government to go after that goal??? Government does not give rights, and at best only recognizes rights and gives them legal support...Government cannot deny rights with the excuse of supporting some privilage... It is the working people of this country and of this world who will give themselves the rights they find essential and necessary because they are essential and necessary just as they are denied because those who deny them find their denial essential to profit...
Unions were allowed in this land because they sold out and joined the enemies of revolution... To those who hate any voice the working class dares raise against them let me ask: Who will help you beat communism next time??? Will the unions who can deliver no justice whatever be an acceptible alternative to communist who will take this society out of necessity because they can and must???...
This right to work is not a right, but is the veil of tyranny pulled over a whole class in the name of individual rights... Individual rights are an excuse to destroy these unions and good riddance; but where in the world can any example of individual rights be shown that does not have a collective defense??? Why are unions representing mere fraction of the people such a threat to the rich??? The rich know that unions set the standard of wages, and working conditions for people across the reach of society, and that they raise the wages of non union workers as much as unions wages and conditions are lowered by competition... Where businesses are free to pick up and leave unions behind, and whole states behind, and even the nation behind, and no one, not even our own government is powerful enough to stop them; then unions may be viewed as a triffling obstacle, and one that may in turn be loaded with impediments to effectiveness...
This is an education... No socialist can ever teach revolution to the well off of the working class... Only a class of people removed from the necessity and travail of work, aloof from the realities of life would consider removing from working people something that only exists out of necessity, out of recognition of that necessity for the sport of it, because it is made possible by a simple legislative majority... No matter how many scumbags try to sell this scabby act of congress it will not sell; but will sell the truth that there is no possible compromise between unions and contractors... This law teaches revolution as no revolutionary can...The defeat of the unions is the unity of the working class, our recognition of our common condition and our call to arms...
Thanks... Sweeney
Comment: #1
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:51 AM
Sweeney even before a started reading this I knew it was you just from the sheer length of your response. You say "...Do you want your children in a school built by slaves hounded from point to point to produce substandard buildings for the pleasure of knowing they does so in rags, without benefit of health insurance or pension??? " surely there are enough Federal and State regulations and inspections to ensure the school is built correctly even without the benefit of union labor. I guess those people who vote for the "right to work" are more concerned about the number of jobs and not that few jobs are protected for fewer workers. The fact that unions set the wages as you say is what turns most people off. Wages should be determined by how well and hard you work not by a union. Union rules say you pay the lazy the same as the industrious. That makes no sense. Besides the "right to work" legislation does not dissolve the union it just makes compulsory payment of union dues illegal. That means more personal choice. That should make you happy.
Comment: #2
Posted by: david
Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:20 AM
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