All eyes and ears are tuned to the fiscal cliff negotiations now going on in Washington. The amazing thing about the so-called “negotiations” is that the Republicans haven’t been able to process the fact that they lost the election and are steadfastly holding on to the ridiculous idea that they will somehow be able to continue to shield their wealthy benefactors from a tax hike at the expense of the average American.
Today House Speaker John Boehner sent a counter-offer to the president that clearly illustrates the intransigence and lunacy of a party completely out of touch with the mainstream of this country. The plan offers $2.2 trillion in deficit reduction measures to unfold over the next decade, providing enough savings to offset the automatic cuts to take effect on January 2, 2013. It also calls for raising $800 billion in revenue through so-called tax reform without raising rates on the top 2 percent of taxpayers. The offer includes $600 billion in health savings, $300 billion in discretionary spending cuts and $200 billion in revisions to how the Consumer Price Index is calculated regarding programs like federal pensions and Social Security.
Really? They really expect this to fly? This is just another smoke and mirrors attempt to raise revenue through so-called tax reform without raising rates on the top 2 percent of taxpayers. In other words, they are still married to the idea that eliminating tax credits like charitable contributions and mortgage interest deductions—deductions aimed specifically at the middle class—will solve our debt problem. You can bet those health savings are aimed directly at the heart of the Affordable Care Act, the discretionary spending cuts will likely take the form of more cuts to education and other programs that benefit middle class and low income people, and I can see the writing on the wall when it comes to Social Security: higher retirement age, lesser benefits and lower cost of living increases.
The president’s plan includes $600 billion in spending cuts, including $350 billion in cuts to Medicare and other health programs. The plan raises $1.6 trillion in higher tax revenue over the coming decade, includes a possible extension of the temporary Social Security payroll tax cut and additional presidential power to raise the national debt limit. He also wants $200 billion in new spending to continue jobless benefits, enact public works projects and provide aid to struggling homeowners.
It is reported that Republicans in closed door meetings reacted to the president’s proposal with laughter and disbelief.
Boehner described it as “basically the president’s budget from last February.” He continued, “Going over the cliff will hurt our economy and hurt job creation in our country. It’s one of the reasons why the day after the election, I offered a concession to try to speed this process up by putting revenue on the table. Unfortunately the White House responded with the La-la-land offer that couldn’t pass the House, couldn’t pass the Senate.”
Here are the facts: Obama won the election with a majority of the American electorate giving him the go-ahead for a second term. The American people are sick and tired of the nonsensical mischief perpetrated on them by a party that is out of touch and completely out of their collective minds if they think we’re going to sit down and take more of the same.
Let’s go off that cliff and see what happens. When 98 percent of the American people—Republicans of the Tea Party persuasion included—see their taxes go up, there will be a hue and cry to reinstate the Bush era tax cuts for all those earning under $250,000 and I’m betting the loudest voices will be the people who are presently so opposed to anything the Democrats support. When the defense budget is slashed as a result of sequestration, the Republicans will trip over their feet to find a way to get it back up, perhaps to where the president wants it to be rather than the bloated and wasteful military spending we now have.
The fact is, Democrats hold all the cards and the Republicans know it but they just can’t admit it. I’d like to see them staunchly holding to their 2 percent guns when all around them the bubbles are bursting and they are revealed for the toadies they are. When that happens, and it will, perhaps we will finally restore some sanity to our government. If it doesn’t, we’ll have a rough time of it. But we’re used to rough times by now and we can hang on until 2014. That’s when we’ll get rid of the obstructionists who are holding our country back because if 2012 has taught us anything, it’s that the American people aren’t stupid, they are paying attention, and they won’t put up with this forever.