Tim Huelskamp is a House member (R-Ky.) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus who was canned by Speaker John Boehner because he didn’t “toe” the Republican line, a move that Huelskamp called “petty” and “vindictive.” I called it “instructive” about Boehner.
He has strong opinions about government spending, and wasn’t afraid to voice them. Back in February of this year, he accused Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, along with the entire Obama administration, of failing to solve the U.S. debt crisis, adding that they were taking the U.S. down the same path as Greece. Geithner didn’t like Huelskamp’s attack, saying that he had an “adolescent perspective on how to think about economic policy.” That’s how a Keynesian responds to common sense.
Huelskamp also has some strong opinions about what’s going to happen next week: not much. He doesn’t think there will be any agreement before the first of the year. He also thinks the Tea Party will work to replace any pledge-breakers who try to go along with Boehner and vote for tax increases. When asked about a possible Senate plan that Obama and Reid might be able to cobble together at the last minute, Huelskamp doubted that it would pass the House:
The speaker had offered a somewhat similar plan to the House in terms of raising taxes on the top one percent or half percent, but the last thing we want to do in these economically difficult times is things that would result in the loss of jobs. Anywhere from 200,000 to 700,000 jobs would be lost with the president’s tax increases.
Besides, there are going to be tax increases anyway, regardless of anything currently in the legislative hopper: the payroll tax holiday is going to end, and Obamacare taxes are going to start kicking in. Said Huelskamp:
With the president so firmly entrenched in his idea that we should raise taxes on anyone, together with the Obamacare taxes that are rolling in next year, it could be an enormous tax increase on January first which will set the economy back. The tax increases that the president has proposed would impact hundreds of thousands of small businesses so it’s just not “the wealthy,” it impacts those who actually create jobs today and will be doing that in the
He doesn’t think anything that the Senate might pass at this late date would pass the House: “It’s still 50-50, but I am pretty certain there will not be a solution.”
The real problem is that Obama and Harry Reid want to raise taxes: “The problem in Washington, D.C. is not that there’s not enough taxes collected. There’s too much spending. And we have a majority leader in the Senate as well as the president of the United States that are absolutely opposed to any reductions in spending.”
It wasn’t that he didn’t try. Huelskamp did what he could: “I introduced a bill over a year ago that would help avoid this problem. [It would] make the tax relief permanent and then start working on fundamental tax reform. So this cliff is Washington’s own making.”