The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Thursday night’s Fox News All-Stars.

On Republicans walking out of the deficit negotiations with Vice President Biden:

Because it’s clear to Republicans that the president has upped the ante. He is demanding not just one tax increase but two: a raising of the rates, which is the old story he’s talked about in every campaign, and eliminating [deductions] for the wealthy — and not just the loopholes but to eliminate deductions, like the deduction for mortgage interest for people over, say, a quarter of a million dollars.

That is [a] serious tax hike. If you add them together — imagine the person in that bracket. The tax rate puts you at 40 percent. You add on a lot for removing deductions and you are up to 50 percent. If you’re paying state tax, as in New York, that is up to 60 percent. That is a high rate of taxation, particularly in a recession. I think that is why the Republicans are resisting.

The problem is, I think, the president thinks that time is on his side. As you approach the August 2 date, we know the Treasury won’t stop repaying creditors. We’re not going to default. He has to stop paying out something. You will get letters late in July to Social Security recipients and families [of soldiers] overseas warning them that the money will stop. Who do you think will be the fall guys if that happens? The Republicans.

The president and the Treasury secretary are in charge of this. They decide if the money that is withheld (if you have a debt problem) is Social Security or ethanol or White House limos, and you know where they will exert the power — to embarrass and hurt Republicans. That is why the Republicans have to rethink where they are now.

On the new Immigrations and Customs Enforcement policy of taking into account whether illegal immigrants are enrolled in high school or college or are members of the military before deporting them:

This is outright lawlessness on the part of the administration. Whatever the politics of this, we do have a Constitution. And under it, the legislature — the Congress — enacts the laws, and the executive executes them. It doesn’t make them up.

The Dream Act was rejected by Congress. It is now being enacted by the Executive, despite the express will of the Congress. That is lawless. It may not be an explicit executive order; it’s an implicit one. It’s exactly as Obama is doing with the EPA. Cap-and-trade is rejected, so it’s going to regulate the carbon emissions — again through executive action.

And in this case — it’s even worse in the case of immigration because it’s arbitrary. If you leave it [deportation decisions] at the discretion of a prosecutor, instead of having the rule of law where it applies to everybody, you’re going to have a prosecutor here and there who will decide ‘well this guy will get in and this guy not’ entirely arbitrarily. It’s corrupting and it’s lawless. That’s not the way you run a democracy. …

There’s no reason that you have to choose between deporting a criminal and deporting others. You do both. That’s what the law says. If you don’t want to — if you want to give exemptions to a class of people, let’s say students — well, you pass a law to say that. You don’t leave it in the hands of a bureaucrat who will make the decision. It’s corrupting. …

This is a directive that the president is ordering [ICE] to [carry out] — according to a criterion that the Congress has rejected. …


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