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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 12/16/2010

Is Mike Pence trying to blow up the tax agreement?

By Jennifer Rubin

Rep. Mike Pence (R.-Ind.) took to the floor of the House this week to decry the tax agreement, claiming, "Uncertainty is the enemy of prosperity." He appeared on Fox News this morning to repeat his position, arguing that we don't have a "temporary economy." And the congressman -- who recently announced that he was resigning as chair of the House GOP conference, prompting speculation about his aspirations for 2012 -- shrugged when asked if the bill was going to pass anyway, regardless of his vote.

That has irked House and Senate Republican leadership. A senior House advisor dismisses Pence's position, e-mailing me, "A 'better deal' was preferable but a better deal was not certain. What was certain, however, was that without preserving the current tax rates now, all Americans would have seen a $3.9 trillion tax increase on January 1st." He continues, "Voting against the package would create massive uncertainty. The market would drop. People would be laid off. Families would get taxes raised. And we'd be spending months arguing with president and Senate to get our deal -- when the public overwhelmingly agrees with the deal we walked away from."

Capitol Hill sources tell me that Pence went so far at the Republican Study Committee lunch on Wednesday to rail against the bill and try to round up opposition. A source told me, "He created a mob scene there and blew up the lunch." A Republican in the room said, "It sounded like a presidential primary speech."

Pence's spokesman, in response to my request for comment, denied that the congressman was trying to whip or gather votes against the bill. He defended Pence's position: "Pence said on CNN this morning that the problem with this bill is that uncertainty is the enemy of prosperity. We need permanent tax relief if we are to create growth. He is disappointed the Dems aren't allowing his alternative that would make the tax cuts permanent." He didn't explain, however, how the votes for Pence's position - which drew only 37 votes yesterday - would emerge. He added, "From everything we are hearing, it is going to be loaded up with out-of-control spending and earmarks, so I don't see any way he votes for it." Supporters of the bill, though, would point out that 84 percent of the bill is in the form of tax relief.

UPDATE(10:17 a.m.) : Pence's spokesman emails to emphasize that his final comment related to the omnibus spending bill, not to the tax agreement. He did not dispute the characterization of the Wednesday lunch.

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 16, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  House GOP, Taxes  
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Next: From the grave, they still earmark


If Mike Pence is trying to steal votes from Romney, he's really in the very shallow end of the pool.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 16, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Jennifer,why is Conservative opposition to one Trillion Dollars of unfunded new debt problematic? What seems problematic is that there is not more objections from the Tea Party side of this issue which should have been,"NO MORE DEBT" but instead has been "No Comment"

In Addition,here is your homework assignment. The first article I want you to read comes from NRO,
" Monetary policy has always been the Achilles’ heel of conservative economics. We’ve repeatedly seen conservative policymakers work hard to create a successful free-market economy, only to have their efforts undone by a devastating period of deflation."
The second Article of your assignment,is more on Monetary Policy,
"Though the mainstream media perhaps glossed over its meaning, an exciting monetary development occurred a little over two weeks ago in New York. Economists Benn Steil and Manuel Hinds were awarded the prestigious Manhattan Institute's (note: the Manhattan Institute is a RealClearMarkets sponsor) 2010 Hayek Prize for their groundbreaking book, Money, Markets and Sovereignty."
Your readers need you to begin to understand the Monetary side of our current economics debate. Also,long term,you need to familiarize yourself with "Human Action" by Von Mises. This book is the incarnation of Adam Smith in our era,and presents the infrastructure on which Atlas Shrugged was based,(although I don't believe Ms Rand had read Von Mises Masterpiece). If you start to read articles like the above,you will begin to understand how uninformed you are,and how unfortunate it is that you have such firm opinions on Economic issues without having earned the right to those opinions.

Posted by: rcaruth | December 16, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse


Save your breath! LOL You and I are about the only posters who talk currency or monetary policy. It's too arcane for most people.

The dollar is holding today, and I will buy back in if/when it declines again. Gold is down so that's a buying opportunity for both you AND me, if it continues a little lower. The yield curve is lengthening and I'm sure I lost everybody's interest by just mentioning it!

Posted by: 54465446 | December 16, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Jennifer, I know I have you hooked,here's some more on the Greatest Conservative Economist since Adam Smith,
"So the process by which the Von Mises prophecy is fulfilled can be generalized like this:"
The economy has an upswing.
The upwsing starts to falter, as is natural to the business cycle.
Politicians say “Hey, let’s keep this thing going.”
The system is juiced with leverage-enhancing liquidity.
Via stimulative reinforcements, a boom mentality takes hold.
The boom continues, now in an unnatural state.
The “can’t lose” mentality sets in. Greed and hubris run amok.
Via risky marginal investments, unproductive debt accumulates.
After a period of years (or even decades), cracks reappear.
The “mountain of debt” now casts a long cold shadow.
That same mountain threatens to topple and collapse.
The authorities panic. They know the debt will crush them.
To circumvent the avalanche, the debt is monetized.
Via monetization, the economy experiences temporary relief.
But the relief is not enough… the problems persist…
…and so more monetization is applied.
As alternative to full collapse, the currency is destroyed."

Posted by: rcaruth | December 16, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Jennifer,send my comments to JS Gordon,he'll help you deal with them.

Posted by: rcaruth | December 16, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Mike Pence, like most Republicans is still searching for a national interest other than the Defense budget they can support. In other words, they can't decide if they want a country.

Posted by: tigman_2 | December 22, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

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