SEILER: Schweitzer wants to push the country off the fiscal cliff

By   /   December 5, 2012  /   No Comments

BIG RAISE: Schweitzer wants a tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans.

By John Seiler | For

HELENA – In his waning days as Montana governor, Democrat Brian Schweitzer keeps showing he’s running for president in 2016.

Appearing Sunday on the aptly named “State of the Union” on CNN, he toed the party line on the supposed need to raise taxes on “the rich,” defined as those making $200,000 or more a year.

In Montana, that includes many ranchers, farmers and small business owners. It also includes many “S corporation” businesses that, for tax purposes, file as individuals. So a family or company seeking to use profits to expand and create new jobs could have that hope taxed into oblivion.

But Schweitzer isn’t running for a Montana office anymore. After saying, “Look, again, it’s way too early to talk about 2016,” he coyly added, “I think I did mention that I have a warm regard for the people of Iowa and New Hampshire.” That brought a chuckle from the assembled commentators.

Montana’s primary doesn’t matter much in the Democratic presidential race. As a favorite son, Schweitzer would be expected to win. But the primary doesn’t occur until June 7, 2016, the last date of the primary season.

Montana’s three electoral votes also won’t matter much in the general election. And given how Mitt Romney won the state, 55-41 percent, even Schweitzer might find it hard winning another election here.

Schweitzer also is showing himself to be unimaginative in pimping for President Barack Obama’s tax increase. He said of the so-called “fiscal cliff”, “Well, let’s not forget how this started. It was Congress that lit a fire to the barn with the expectation that they would get credit (f0r) putting the fire out later. And the president was elected by all of the people in this country. We have 535 members of Congress who were elected from all over the country.”

FAIR SHARE: Obama says the rich should pay a fair amount of taxes.

As to the supposed presidential mandate, surely he knows that those last until the day after the election. In 2004, President George W. Bush won with 50.7 percent of the vote, close to Obama’s 50.9 percent in 2012. Bush claimed the “political capital” to advance Social Security privatization.

Congress in early 2005, even though still controlled by majority Republicans in both houses, repudiated him. Hurricane Katrina struck in August, leading to a Bush response that was roundly criticized. In 2006, Democrats won control of the Senate and the House of Representatives. In 2007, the recession struck. In 2008, the financial crisis slammed the economy. Bush limped out of office.

Schweitzer also must know that, according to Article I, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution, “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.” The Founding Fathers put it there because the House, being the part of government closest to the people, was expected to show more restraint on how much was extracted from taxpayers. As George Will wrote after the election, the founders’ “system requires concurrent congressional majorities — one in the Senate, with its unique constituencies and electoral rhythms, another in the House, with its constituencies and rhythms.”

“And at least 219 of the 234 House Republicans won in November by margins larger than Obama’s national margin,” Wills said.

Again showing little of the imagination usually required of successful presidential candidates, Schweitzer said, “Just remember how this started. Congress created this so-called cliff. They decided that there would be a date certain where everything would unravel. It wasn’t the president that did it, and now he has laid something on the table. It’s time for Congress to act. And to say that their feelings are hurt? You know, let’s put on the big boy pants for girls and boys and let’s get this job done.”

But Obama agreed to what Congress enacted. What even Schweitzer says “this so-called cliff” really is just a metaphor. Even if Schweitzer, Obama and their fellow Democrats get their tax increase on “the rich,” the trillion-dollar annual deficits would be cut only by $50 billion at most. And that’s assuming the tax increases, by hurting the ability of all those ranchers and farmers and small businesses to create growth and jobs, doesn’t hammer the country into a recession.

Putting on the “big boy pants” would mean Democrats agreeing to large spending cuts. But like Schweitzer, they prefer to keep wearing diapers.

Contact John Seiler at [email protected]

— Edited by Kelly Carson, [email protected]


John formerly served as staff reporter for