Once again, the GOP demonstrates its resistance to an honest attempt to do something right for this country. Today, it is reported that Obama offered the first template in attempts to bring us back from the precipice of the 'fiscal cliff'. In short, his proposal included (1):
Obama's proposal, delivered by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to Republican House Speaker John Boehner, called for $1.6 trillion in new tax revenues over 10 years plus some $400 billion in savings in popular entitlement programs including Medicare, the government health care plan for seniors. It also included some relief for Americans hit by the home foreclosure crisis and an extension of both the payroll tax holiday and unemployment assistance.
The package also includes a roughly $50 billion jobs plan, mostly infrastructure spending.
The White House is using the blueprint to address the thorny issue of hiking the federal debt limit.
Republicans, you need to understand a few things.
Obama won the election. In terms of the electoral college, he handed you your 'campaign' on a platter. In the market place of ideas, you lost the bid. Your numbers were reduced in the House and Senate. You maintained your majority in the House only through your creative gerrymandering efforts at the state level. Nationally, however, you were toast. The nation knows it. You need to catch up.
The majority of Americans want Bush-era tax breaks for the wealthy ended. We aren't interested in another hostage-taking situation, again, especially this close to Christmas, AGAIN. Those tax breaks were never intended to be permanent, so said YOU when you passed them with Republican Congressional majorities and a Republican in the White House. You, Republicans, went back on your own deal in 2010. That time, you took much needed extensions for the long-term unemployed, health care for FIRST RESPONDERS, and a nuclear arms treaty with Russia HOSTAGE. Wasn't that near Christmas, too?
During those negotiations, you Republicans had no trouble saying the words "we won the election - get over it" to all of us, regularly, with some level of venom. In fact, you held up everything in Congress until you got your way. Did you really think we would forget that? (2) You held about 8.8 million unemployed Americans' unemployment benefits hostage for a tax cut that would cost this nation $4 TRILLION.(3)
The President just handed you a discounted version which would only bring in $1.6 trillion, and you SCOFF?
You Republicans want to raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67. What, exactly, do you think will happen to general health care costs in this country if you succeed? Ahead of ACA taking effect, insurance companies are already gouging America by bloating their base premium structures, essentially adding hundreds of billions more to our overall health care costs. How do you think those extra premiums for 65-67 year olds, who are still employed because they can't retire, are going to affect the American business structure, otherwise known as the 'private sector'? Do you think for a minute we won't hire lawyers to sue those private businesses when they try firing us two years before we can retire and reach eligibility age for Medicare? Don't you realize that becomes a "nothing left to lose" scenario in which we will be forced to defend our own needs? And believe me, we will.
In 2010, CBS took a poll on whether or not to extend Bush tax cuts. Here are the reported results of that poll taken two years ago (4):
A CBS News poll released last night finds that 53 percent of Americans want the Bush-era tax cuts "extended only for households earning less than $250,000 per year," a position that was advanced by a House vote yesterday. Another 14 percent want to expire all of the Bush tax cuts. Taken together, two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) want to end the Bush tax cuts for the rich. One interesting statistic from the survey indicates that the GOP's push for giving the richest 2 percent an additional tax cut is not even supported by its own base:
Only ten percent of Democrats and one in four independents back the GOP proposal to extend the tax cuts for all. Even among Republicans, support for extending all the cuts is less than half at 46 percent."
That same article, one of many, reported that the GOP refused to take up any other legislation until the Bush-era tax cuts were passed.
And here we are again, two years later, with the GOP playing footsie with tax cuts which were supposed to expire TWO YEARS AGO.
Here's why the Bush-era tax cuts must end (5):
The CBO’s Budget and Economic Outlook for Fiscal Years 2012 – 2022 projected the deficit will shrink from $1.1 trillion to $196 billion – an 82% reduction – over the next six years if the Bush-era tax cuts are allowed to expire at the end of the year. The resulting increase in tax revenues combined with spending cuts will nearly halve the deficit in 2013, lowering it to $585 billion.
Allowing the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts to expire and eliminating the AMT exemptions (thereby expanding the tax base by more than 26 million payers) would generate more than $3.8 trillion between 2013 – 2022. Ending the Payroll Tax Credit, which reduced the employees’ share of Social Security payroll taxes by 2%, would add another $1.6 trillion in revenues between 2012 – 2022. The expiration of the accelerated depreciation deduction, which allowed businesses to write off more of the costs of equipments and machineries purchased, would result in $340 billion in additional revenue between 2013 – 2022.
If these tax policies go into effect as scheduled, tax revenues are expected to grow by more than 30% between 2012 and 2014. And accordingly, the deficit would be reduced by 68% during that period, from $1.1 trillion this year to $345 billion in 2014.
In a nutshell, does the GOP have the political will, the courage, to do the right thing to reduce the deficit, or is it going to prolong contention thinking it will win Congress and the White House in 2016? Because it's looking more and more like that's exactly what the GOP is prepared to do: try to win at any cost to anyone else and this nation just to get the power.
Game's over, GOP. We see what you're doing. Your tactics will backfire. The American people are tired of cutting back, living on the edge, and worrying about what excuse their private sector bosses will use next to reduce their wages, their hours, or just plain fire them.
We don't care about their bottom line anymore. We care about our own bottom line.
So here's the deal, GOP.
- We want taxes raised on income over $250,000 a year.
- We don't want our Medicare eligibility age raised.
- We want you to keep your paws off Social Security.
- We want you to pass the jobs bills. NOW.
- We already cut more than $1 trillion from domestic spending last year in another hostage taking situation over the debt ceiling (6).
- We don't want anymore Christmas Eve, down-to-the-wire, mess-up-the-entire-holiday-season-with-worry, drama.
- We want you to do your job, let those tax cuts expire, and get on board with moving this country forward to a better place than what you handed all of us by September 2008 - the brink of collapse.