McClintock: Fiscal Mess a Chance for Republicans to Lead

Jan. 14, 2013

By Katy Grimes

We’ve heard so much about the nation’s “fiscal cliff” that we can’t even see the real fiscal mess in front of our faces: the approaching bankruptcy of our nation. So warned Rep. Tom McClintock, R-California, when I met him for an interview. But he also had positive words on how Republicans can lead the nation back to prosperity.


“The truth is that once the government has spent a dollar, it has already decided to tax it,” McClintock explained. “The only question is whether it taxes that dollar now or taxes it later by running a deficit.”

“By postponing spending cuts, Congress turned the ‘fiscal cliff’ bill’s tax relief provisions into a mere illusion,” he said. “The bill passed by Congress actually increases federal spending by more than $300 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office — and more than $600 billion when you include the totality of new social and corporate welfare spending and tax exemptions to reward politically connected special interests.”

McClintock said that, since Congress postponed the spending reductions contained in the sequester and we continue to spend money we don’t have, the net result of this measure is simply to transfer the current tax bill to our children.

Business and politics

Seventy-six percent of all small business income is going to be hit by President Obama’s tax hikes, according to McClintock. “The income  they use to create and sustain two-thirds of the jobs in our economy is being taxed higher. This means hundreds of thousands of middle class jobs will evaporate over the next year.”

About 850,000 small businesses are going to pay higher taxes. But the Obama administration doesn’t seem to be concerned about this. Like most Democrats, they believe that, regardless of the tax rates, people will always go along about their business and comply, McClintock said.

California looks even worse. The state controller’s office reported, “Corporate taxes came in $445.9 million below (-31.2 percent)” monthly estimates in the 2012-13 budget. “The State ended the last fiscal year with a cash deficit of $9.6 billion. As of December 31, that cash deficit totaled $24.2 billion and was covered with $14.2 billion of internal borrowing (temporary loans from special funds), and $10 billion of external borrowing.”

Add these bad numbers to the  the “fiscal cliff” deal, McClintock said, and the deficit is going to balloon in California, as well as the nation. “We’re going to see hundreds of billions of dollars of new spending added to the budget at a time when we’re borrowing roughly 60 cents for every dollar that we spend. We’ve just taken an enormous tax burden, added to it, and handed it to our kids.”

McClintock lost two close elections, in 1994 and 2002, for California state controller. In his more than 20 years in the California Legislature, he was one of the legislators most knowledgeable on the state budget.

Voters and immigrants

Talking with McClintock is actually uplifting because he is an historian. While the numbers sound daunting at the moment, he understands real trends in history. One of these trends is with voters.

We talked about the wave of immigrants coming to the United States, and the impact on elections since the country was founded. McClintock said that, throughout American history, immigrants’ voting changed significantly as their socioeconomic status rose. “When was the last time you heard anyone talk about the Italian or Irish vote?” he asked. “It wasn’t that long ago, only about 30 years, that we were talking about the importance of the Italian and Irish votes.”

Italian and Irish immigrants started out voting predominantly for Democrats. But as they prospered in America, in increasing numbers they joined the Republican Party, as shown by such prominent names as President Ronald Reagan and Justice Antonin Scalia.

Right now, the Hispanic vote is receiving all of the attention. In the last two national elections, Hispanics voted heavily Democratic. But McClintock said that, just as it was with the Italian and Irish immigrants, as Hispanics prosper, they will vote more Republican. Which is another reason why restoring strong prosperity should be Republicans’ major goal.

Compromise is king in D.C.

One of the biggest issues with Republicans is whether or not their politicians hold firm on promises for limited government. McClintock said compromise is only appropriate when it benefits the country, yet compromise is used too often by Republicans. Rarely do Democrats compromise.

McClintock agreed that it’s usually Republicans on the losing side of compromise. “Is the country better off because of the vote?” McClintock asked of the Jan. 1 “fiscal cliff” deal.

Last week, Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Morain criticized McClintock for voting against the Jan. 1 “fiscal cliff” deal, which passed anyway:

“But as he showed last week, his political machine of one has gained compatriots among the shrunken but more conservative band of Republicans representing California in the House. That doesn’t bode well for California as it tries to get back some of the money it sends to Washington, and certainly not for the Sierra district McClintock represents.”

I asked McClintock about this piece. “Here’s a question for the Sacramento Bee,” McClintock replied. “What does Morain plan to say to the newly unemployed?”

McClintock said the unemployment rate in California of nearly 10 percent is going to get worse. “Increasing numbers of unemployed persons in California will wreak havoc on the state’s economy, reducing revenues while the demand for state social services rises,” McClintock said. California still owes the federal government $10 billion for unemployment relief.

“The country is getting a graduate course in Obamanomics in the next four years,” McClintock said. Despite this, he said America is waking up and paying attention.

Ronald Reagan lives

Although Republicans constantly are being criticized as the party of “no,” McClintock said that, when somebody is driving you off a cliff, “no” is a handy word to have in your vocabulary. But it can’t be the only word in the national debate over the future of the country.

McClintock said President Reagan built morale so people believed things could be accomplished. Right now there is low morale among Republicans. But this is just a blip in history, said McClintock. “We’ve had it worse,” he remembered of the 1976 election, when Democrat Jimmy Carter won with a Democratic Congress. They ran the country into a recession. Only four years later, Reagan swept in and restored prosperity with major tax cuts.

“When Carter was president, the mood in the country was dark. When Reagan became president, all of a sudden people started to believe things could be accomplished again,” McClintock said. In another dark hour, McClintock wants those beliefs to rise again.


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  1. Ted Steele, Navigator
    Ted Steele, Navigator 14 January, 2013, 10:28

    I hate to agree with old Tick Tock McClintock— but I think he’s correct— but the debt lid is not the vehicle to play politics, that mistake cost us billions last time the tea baggers played that game— the CR is the correct vehicle and I think that as long as the public sees the Repubs not tinkering with our FF&C they will support more of what the Repubs want than what the Dems want in cuts.

    Reply this comment
  2. us citizen
    us citizen 14 January, 2013, 10:51

    The tea party wants a smaller fed and less taxes……I see that as a good thing.

    Reply this comment
  3. Ted Steele, Navigator
    Ted Steele, Navigator 14 January, 2013, 11:25

    I do too Us Cit— I just hope the Repub’s see that their party and our Nation are not served well by playing a game with the money we already owe creditors and that they wait til the CR for their battle royale!

    Reply this comment
  4. Sean Morham
    Sean Morham 14 January, 2013, 13:07

    We will reach the point of a Fiscal disaster in the near future…don t know what that will involve, but the ramifications will cause a societal shift in politics, laws. and demogrpahics. It will be time to pay up. Expect our youth to rise up against us(the baby boomers). The youth will recognize the trophies given to them are worthless; our generation’s greed and selfishness will have its judgment day. They will not pay our pensions(those that have them) or healthcare in the amounts that are expected. They will be altered; those who stand in the way will be dealt with, and no longer stand as impediments to the future. Peace, Love, No mercy.

    Reply this comment
  5. Bill - San Jose
    Bill - San Jose 14 January, 2013, 15:47

    Sean has good points. The generation that was is no more.

    My generation must resolve to eat crow and pay up or we lose it all. All means all folks. If I were guaranteed no debt for my son and his generation, I would ration food, fuel, health, whatever it took, for up to five years.

    Some of us are ready to pay the price for a end-all solve-all. Will my government provide that in Sacto and DC? Only in Constitutional Amendments that are not written to be “interpreted” but to live life how all of us have been living … within our means.

    Ted may be right about the CR and how it is marketed to the folks who don’t pay attention. The bigger credit card / debt limit might not gather the ground support required to force this bozo in the Oval to make the right choice.

    Reply this comment
  6. Ted Steele, Navigator
    Ted Steele, Navigator 14 January, 2013, 16:32

    Bill— I hope the Repub’s see it —- the CR is where the battle needs to be— they will get the support of the majority of Americans including blue dogs like me if they do it that way. Messing with the FF&C of the nation will whack the global economy—if that happens it will be seen as ALL at the foot of the tea bag hobbled GOP. It will further tarnish their brand and insure another decade out of power. That is not good for anyone. My sky is falling fear is that the current GOP is either too lost or too weak to see it and respond.

    Reply this comment
  7. Ted Steele, Navigator
    Ted Steele, Navigator 14 January, 2013, 16:34

    To Sean’s point— it aint that bad buddy/ And, if back to McClintock’s point, the GOP could lead us out of this– if done the right way. I am pessimistic. They don’t seem to have the courage to jetison the ultra right fringe loons.

    Reply this comment
  8. eyeamok
    eyeamok 14 January, 2013, 18:05

    Why are so many people comfortable with shackeling chains of perpetual debt upon our children for what we are enjoying today?? The debt CAN NEVER be paid, by continually paying interest for the Moneychangers to create out of thin air Federal Reserve Credits we can only enrich the Political Class and The Moneychangers, while ENSLAVING FUTURE GENERATIONS. I guess Slavery is Ok now?? Now if anybody here has the nerve to argue with me, remember this ALL MONEY IS LOANED INTO EXISTENCE via the Federal Reserve Corporation, Not A SINGLE PENNY OF INTEREST IS CREATED, it Must and can only come from the Blood and Sweat of LABOR, we call this Involuntary Servitude. It also means that it is VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE to pay off the National Debt, for there would not be a Single Federal Reserve Note or Credit in existence, just a Bill from the moneychangers For INTEREST DUE AND PAYABLE.

    Reply this comment
  9. Hondo
    Hondo 14 January, 2013, 18:29

    The problem is, is that when the voters in Kali finally throw out the dems there won’t be any money left to run the govt. The state will be bankrupt with no way to pay the enormous bills that are coming due.

    Reply this comment
  10. Phil
    Phil 14 January, 2013, 22:54

    I’m a rare bread I am 30 and I’m what Ted would call a Tea Bagger (nice Ted, I guess we won’t be friends). I have lost total faith in our government to do the right thing. Watching how pathetically congress dealt with the “fiscal cliff” makes me sick. We are two years away from another election and our elected leaders still are playing politics and still don’t have the balls to discuss the elephant in the room unfunded liabilities. How can we take these fools seriously? With these guys in charge I don’t expect any real cuts with the debt ceiling either.
    The way I see it the die has been cast, there is really no turning back. Here is what we will be witnessing soon enough: The dollar index collapsing, then run away inflation and last but not least our credit rating will drop and the interest on the debt will be forced to rise.
    Then there will be a real fiscal cliff all under Obama’s watch and true anarchy.
    Sad but i don’t see any way out of the fiscal mess. Maybe one of you brilliant ole guys can enlighten me on how I am so wrong about this.

    Reply this comment
  11. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 14 January, 2013, 23:21

    Phil says:

    I’m a rare bread I am 30 and I’m what Ted would call a Teabagger (nice Ted, I guess we won’t be friends).
    Teddy Steals calls everyone who doesn’t agree with him a Teabagger. It means you are normal 😉

    Reply this comment
  12. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 15 January, 2013, 02:11

    One of the biggest issues with Republicans is whether or not their politicians hold firm on promises for limited government
    It is NOT the “limit” of the size, it is the out-sized pay/salary/benefits, overall compensation we’re paying the government employee, it is 2-20 TIMES that of the private sector/market rate.

    When you pay ONE public employee 20 times what market is you are being ripped off and the term “limited government” means nothing and does nothing.

    Reply this comment
  13. The Modified Ted Steele Methodologies (tm)
    The Modified Ted Steele Methodologies (tm) 15 January, 2013, 06:45

    Phil– Plenty of my friends, well, a few, are tea baggers! Be loud and proud little buddy! We all have a polit. point of view! It’s what freedom is all about fellow patriot!!!

    I like nimble gov, less taxes etc. I just have more compassion and less hate that the tea bag movement in general.

    Oh and by the way– at the California level, our Gov is also making strides to fix our budget! Even the very conservative OC Register gives him kudos!

    Reply this comment
  14. BobA
    BobA 15 January, 2013, 07:27


    You are essentially correct in you analysis. I follow monetary policy very closely and it’s worse than you suggest. I suggest you read up on what happened to Germany shortly after WW1 and the Wiemar Republic to get a glimpse of what will eventually happen in the US. History is about to repeat itself.

    The US dollar was and is a fiat currency with no backing other than the full faith and backing of the US government. With the way our government is printing and spending money, it’s just a matter of time before that full faith and backing will mean exactly spit.

    During the times of the Wiemar Republic, people carried their money around in wheel barrels. We don’t use wheel barrels today but you might want to invest in an over-sized backpack to carry your money around in.

    The idea of a trillion dollar coin was floated recently. The idea was laughed at dismissed but it will be revisited again as the value of the dollar bill continues to slide.

    The only thing that keeps the US dollar afloat is its status as the world’s reserve currency. When it loses that status the dollar will go into free fall. You’ll know this is happening when the rate of inflation goes well north of 10% and it take a weeks pay to buy a bag of groceries and gasoline becomes unaffordable by the working class.

    Reply this comment
  15. Phil S.
    Phil S. 15 January, 2013, 09:28

    As the scientist say. There seems to be “a consensus” with a lot of you guys. We have a spending problem and a huge majority of our elected official are just going to ignore it. I don’t like it, but it is really out of my hands. We have become a country of the uninformed voter that likes a big government but doesn’t want to pay for it.
    So what to do now?
    Move to a country with better fiscal control, if so where?
    Arm myself to the teeth, to prepare for upcoming social unrest?
    Buy gold? But I have little money.
    Learn how to be more self sufficient and grow my own food?
    Any good suggestions would be appreciated.

    Reply this comment
  16. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 15 January, 2013, 09:46

    What a bunch of crybabies!

    Reply this comment
  17. Ted Steele, Navigator
    Ted Steele, Navigator 15 January, 2013, 13:30

    I agree with SeeSaw— My suggestion is that you crybabies grow up a bit— yikes you snivel and whine like kids….

    Reply this comment
  18. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 15 January, 2013, 13:39

    What a bunch of crybabies!
    Pot, meet kettle 🙂

    Reply this comment
  19. The Modified Ted Steele Methodologies (tm)
    The Modified Ted Steele Methodologies (tm) 15 January, 2013, 19:48

    LOL— ok little buddy!

    Reply this comment
  20. BobA
    BobA 15 January, 2013, 19:57


    Cry babies? Are we suppose to just quietly bend over and keep a stiff upper lip while the government rapes us and spends us into oblivion and not utter a single word in protest?

    When did we become so afraid and fearful of our government that we willingly stultify ourselves into an alien pattern of nothingness all the while hoping that our obliviousness to the machinations of government will keep us safe from reality and the truth?

    What you suggest my dear lady, is that we acquiesce to tyranny.

    Reply this comment
  21. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 16 January, 2013, 08:54

    Cry babies? Are we suppose to just quietly bend over and keep a stiff upper lip while the government rapes us and spends us into oblivion and not utter a single word in protest?

    That is EXACTLY what seesaw wants.

    Reply this comment
  22. BobA
    BobA 16 January, 2013, 10:49


    There are “sheeple” in this world who will always willingly accept government tyranny and admonish those who don’t.

    It’s akin to a slave on a plantation who’s content with their status and all the while contemptuous and scornful of other slaves who speak out and rebel against the slave master.

    Reply this comment
  23. Ted Steele, Navigator
    Ted Steele, Navigator 16 January, 2013, 14:03

    Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa lol

    Reply this comment
  24. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 16 January, 2013, 21:19

    I am not an alien, BobA! I am a U.S. Citizen on equal footing with you and every other citizen! I don’t see any government tyranny. When, and if, I do, I will speak up.

    Reply this comment
  25. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 16 January, 2013, 22:15

    SeeSaw says:
    I am not an alien, BobA! I am a U.S. Citizen on equal footing with you and every other citizen!

    You are a trougher, feeding off the poor and innocent.

    Teddy Steals too.

    Reply this comment
  26. BobA
    BobA 17 January, 2013, 08:01


    I never implied you were an alien. As U.S. citizens, we must always be forever vigilant or our government will turn to tyranny. That is the nature of all governments since time began.

    What makes America different is that we have a Constitution that gives the people the right to speak out in protest of what the government is doing. Exercising that right is the duty of all Americans. That’s what we do in this forum.

    BTW: Don’t get mad at me. I value your input and appreciate that you argue and defend your point of view based on the facts as you interpret them. I have yet to see you use a tired clique or party slogan in your arguments and that is good.

    Reply this comment
  27. Marten purdy
    Marten purdy 17 January, 2013, 11:21

    Republicans blame the Democrats. Democrats blame Republicans. And, no one knows the truth. The whole situation is nothing but a cliffscal fisc.

    Reply this comment
  28. BobA
    BobA 17 January, 2013, 16:15

    Marten purdy:

    You are absolutely right and it is getting tiresome. Philosophically, I am a conservative but I have no use for republican-centric or democrat-centric arguments about the way things should be. What matters to me are American-centric ideas and values.

    My interest is in small and limited government, government that lives within its means, an American government that governs within the confines of the US Constitution, preservation of American culture, free market capitalism and an America that is second to none.

    Those are the grounds on which my arguments are based upon and I firmly believe that a government that governs the least, governs the best. It is what has made American the most free and prosperous country the world has ever known. Until of late.

    Reply this comment
  29. The Modified Ted Steele Methodologies (tm)
    The Modified Ted Steele Methodologies (tm) 18 January, 2013, 06:43

    LOL— BobA can’t admit he’s a Republican! Classic teabag!!

    Reply this comment
  30. The Modified Ted Steele Methodologies (tm)
    The Modified Ted Steele Methodologies (tm) 18 January, 2013, 06:44

    Hey BobA– I am still waiting for you to name 5 Constitutional protections you’ve lost since 08………. Did you give up?

    Reply this comment

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