Though I have no dog in the fight, I have watched with some interest the ongoing battle between New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Jack Kimball and what’s left of the 20th century GOP establishment here in NH.
It seems like everyone has an opinion about what’s happening in Concord. And why not? The battle for control of NH’s GOP machinery has been public, nasty and protracted, which makes it political catnip.
But the Kimball fight, I would argue, is not much more than a temporary sideshow, a distraction from the much more serious identity crisis that the NHGOP will wrestle with over the next several election cycles.
What identity crisis you might ask?
Taxes I would respond.
For 25 years it has been sacred GOP theology to never increase tax revenues for any reason. Organizations such as Americans for Tax Reform and The Club For Growth have raised and spent billions of dollars to brand the Republican Party as the “No tax increases!” party.
For the last 30 years or so the federal government, Republicans and Democrats alike, have been making promises that we can’t possibly keep.
At last count, we have $60 trillion (trillion with a “T”) in unfunded entitlement liabilities on our books.
At the state level, our entitlement liabilities are less transparent (and vary from state to state) but are considered as equally devastating to our generational bottom line as what’s been done in Washington. Again, this isn’t news:
So, how bad is it?
It’s so bad that anyone who tries to tell you that we can fix this problem without tax increases on everyone – including “the rich” and including those 45% of households that currently pay no federal income tax at all – is either lying to you or doesn’t know what they’re talking about.