With the nation just five weeks away from plunging off the so-called "fiscal cliff," U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, said the lines currently drawn in this debate are poorly focused – largely due to poor or non-existent leadership from both parties.
Since Election Day, President Obama has continued to insist that more revenue needs to be generated through income tax hikes on households earning more than $250,000 per year. Republicans, led by House Speaker John Boehner, have said they will not support marginal tax hikes on any individuals or businesses, but they would entertain increasing revenue through other changes in the tax code – namely ending some or many deductions.
Gohmert has no patience for either position. He told WND's Greg Corombos any additional tax hikes would further stifle economic recovery, but he's also appalled by the targeting of tax deductions as a way to boost revenue.
"Good grief! Do you know the damage that will do to charity?" Gohmert asked. "The people in this administration want the government in charge of everything. We've seen with Hurricane Sandy and Katrina. We've seen – whether it's Democratic or Republican administrations – how poorly government responds in times of emergency. It is the American charitable beliefs, the American charitable spirit that actually gets help to people quicker."
Instead of tinkering around the edges of the tax code, Gohmert sees this crisis as a golden opportunity to overhaul the tax system in a way that provides a massive kick start to the economy.
Gohmert said he does feel uneasy when a CEO pays a lower tax rate than his secretary as a result of his income coming on investments rather than salary. But he said the solution is not to punish the rich, but to bring everyone's tax rate down to 15 percent across the board and then scrapping all deductions – except for charitable contributions and the mortgage interest deduction.
"Now is the time, since (Obama's) saying 'fair share' that we say 'you betcha' and nothing will make sure that we're doing fair share more than a flat tax," said Gohmert.
Spending cuts are also on Gohmert's agenda. He wants to go back to 2008 spending levels, which he said would instantly reduce the annual deficit by a trillion dollars.
Gohmert's approach is not gaining much traction at this point, and the congressman said that's largely due to a Republican leadership that's not leading much of anything.
"Maybe we should say 'the people at the top of our party' instead of leadership because we need to see some leadership and not just being defensive," said Gohmert. "Let's go start pushing what the American people want to see and what they believe in instead of caving in on what this president's wanting to do which is more damage to our economy."
Gohmert's frustration with the current House leadership of Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor is no secret. Earlier this month, Gohmert nominated Newt Gingrich as speaker of the House for the coming two years, citing Gingrich's record of balancing the budget and passing welfare reform back in the 1990s.
"That was leadership," said Gohmert of Gingrich's tenure as speaker. "It would be good to have someone (like that). I don't care if it's John Boehner or somebody, but somebody to lead instead of being the one that leads us in caving in. That's not real leadership."
Gohmert believes pressure from the American people will be the only way leaders in both parties will end up with the right approach to this mess.