Daniel J. Mitchell
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Our number one fiscal problem is an excessive burden of government spending. A big part of the solution is entitlement reform.

Our number two fiscal problem is a punitive and corrupt tax code (as captured by images here, here, and here). A big part of the solution is a simple and fair flat tax.

So what do you think happened when the clowns in Washington were forced to address these issues because of the fiscal cliff? To nobody’s surprise, they were missing-in-action on the first problem and they made the second problem worse. Obama got a class-warfare tax hike and nothing was done to control government spending.

This was a defeat, but it’s not the end of the world. Indeed, it could be the trigger for a renewed campaign for fiscal responsibility.

Here’s some of what I wrote for the Daily Caller, beginning with my assessment that Obama had all the advantages going into the fight over the fiscal cliff.

President Obama entered the battle in a very strong position. A big tax increase automatically was going to happen even if he did nothing, so he was holding all the cards. He could — and did — tell Republicans that they had an unpleasant choice of either accepting that big automatic tax increase or acquiescing to his class-warfare plan. No wonder Republicans have been acting so discombobulated. They had no winning strategy.

And because of this unpalatable situation, I wrote that “I’m not overly upset with Republicans.” There was no way of denying Obama some sort of tax hike.

But they do deserve some blame, at least if they were in office last decade.

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Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell is a top expert on tax reform and supply-side tax policy at the Cato Institute.