The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From the Fox News Special Report All-Star Panel December 19, 2011

On the National Payroll Reporting Consortium stating that “there is insufficient lead time to accommodate” Senate-passed two-month extension of the payroll tax cut.

It shows how — to an outside observer who knows about this stuff and has no political axe to grind — this bill passed by the Senate is an abomination. It is one of the worst ever crafted by the hands of man, and saying that in this Congress is saying a lot.

It can’t be administered in time and fairly. It’s not just bad tax policy, a two-month extension: a one-year extension isn’t a tax cut; it’s a tax holiday… a two-month extension is essentially a long tax weekend. It won’t have any effect whatsoever on hiring practices. The idea that Obama saying this is a jobs [bill] — it won’t have any effect on jobs whatsoever.

It’s a terrible bill. The House Republicans are right on principle and on policy.

But on the politics of it they will get killed on this. That is the irony — that the people who actually are trying to do the right thing by extending it to a year are being trapped. The Democrats have set a trap. The Republicans are walking into it.

It’s a perfect example of a corrupt environment. If you act on principle — as I think the conservatives in the House are doing — you will be nailed on politics.

On what is likely to happen to the tax holiday extension in the Congress:

Democrats take a walk and Republicans take the fall.

On what the consequence of Kim Jong-il’s death will be:

When Kim Jong-il, the dead Dear Leader, took over, he had been working closely with the father (Kim il-Sung) for about 10 years. So we know he acquired authority in the military and elsewhere. This guy, the new guy, Mr. Un, is coming in without any experience whatsoever. The grooming began only about a year ago. In fact, the people of the country hadn’t even heard of this guy or seen a picture of him until about a year ago. So he has no relationships.

There is also a little squiggle in this where the sister of the dead Dear Leader has been given authority — and her husband. So you have kind of a regency here, a Shakespearean situation in which the young one ends up in the Tower of London or worse.

In the end, it’s probably the military — they will decide which of the Kims will reign, if any.

But the idea that somehow this will hasten or bring about the collapse of the regime I think is a doubtful one. It’s [the regime has been] incredibly stable over time and has defied all expectations of collapse for many decades.

On the death of Vaclav Havel:

He was one of the great heroes of human liberty and of the Cold War. At the nadir of the democracy movement, meaning in the mid-’70s when the Soviets were ascendant… and America and the West in retreat, he authored the Charter 77 (of the year 1977), which declared… the dignity of man against the communist authorities at a time when everybody imagined it [democracy in Eastern Europe] was simply a lost cause. He turned [history] by the moral example and the courage he — and the others who signed it — set, and by counterparts in Poland, Walesa and the worker revolution. They essentially liberated Eastern Europe from within, one of the great successes… of our time.

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