Now that the big news stories about President Obama’s successful mission to hunt down Osama bin Laden and the Republicans’ sideline chatter about giving President Bush, who hasn’t been in the game for the last two years, some props even though he gave up on the search for bin Laden sometime around 2005 has died down, the Republicans have renewed their fight for the only thing they’ve ever given a good goddamn about- screwing the middle class and MAKING THE RICH RICHER!
Yes John Boehner kicked off the week calling for drastic cuts in spending on programs that benefit the poor and elderly and another HUGE tax cut for the richest of the very rich. This I heard on NPR this morning while driving to work:
Republican House Speaker John Boehner told the Economic Club of New York earlier this week that he’s holding out for big cuts in federal spending — cuts measured not in billions of dollars, but in trillions.
“Without significant spending cuts and changes in the way we spend the American people’s money, there will be no increase in the debt limit,” Boehner said.
The only practical way to achieve spending cuts of the size Boehner is talking about is to go after popular entitlement programs, such as Medicare.
Boehner says those programs should be on the negotiating table, along with every other part of the budget — except for one thing.
“I’ve made it pretty clear that raising taxes is off the table,” Boehner said. “Raising taxes on the very people that we expect to invest in our economy and create jobs will have a devastating impact on our ability to balance the budget.”
Yes he’s made it clear that raising taxes – even if the taxes are raised only for the grossly undertaxed top 2% earners and highly profitable corporations that use loopholes to not only avoid paying taxes but receive government subsidies – is “off the table.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell echoed the same message by saying “The American people clearly believe we have the deficit problem because we spend too much, not because we tax too little.”
The NPR story recorded these statements about the Republican plan for economic disaster and followed with:
Federal spending as a share of the overall economy is at its highest level since World War II, while tax revenues are at their lowest level since 1950.
That’s a fact: Spending is high and income taxes are low, so anyone or any party that puts forth a deficit-reducing budget plan that is made up of spending cuts without any increases in revenue is not serious at all about deficit reduction.
These guys may seem incredibly stupid on the surface, but they aren’t. Republicans think the American public is stupid enough to believe their false rhetoric is really about fiscal responsibility and deficit reduction and not about their real goal: Dismantling Roosevelt’s New Deal and funneling more wealth to the super rich at the expense of the most vulnerable among us.
How much do they wish to cut taxes for the rich and how will their plan screw children and the poor? Think Progress reported today:
Digging into the specifics of Toomey’s alterations to the tax system, it consolidates the income tax system into fewer brackets (though where Ryan leaves the final number unspecified, Toomey settles on three brackets) while lowering marginal tax rates. For corporations, it cuts their tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, while instituting a territorial approach to taxation, that exempts corporations from paying taxes on overseas profits. … it does indeed follow Ryan’s model and hold all marginal tax rates to a maximum of 25 percent.
In reviewing the House Republicans’ budget, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities concluded that the proposal would require “severe reductions ” in health-care for children and the disabled, while also curtailing long-term care for seniors. On top of that the CBPP also found that nearly two-thirds of Ryan’s cuts — $2.9 trillion in all – would impact low-income Americans. More recently, The Kaiser Foundation found that carrying out this scheme would kick between 31 and 44 million Americans off the Medicaid roles by 2021, leaving them without any other readily affordable options for coverage.
In spite of how angry these stories made me, I am optimistic enough to think the public will grasp that, no matter how they frame it, the Republicans’ plan is the same as it ever was: Cut taxes to sharply reduce revenue and then call for severe spending cuts that will destroy government safety nets. The public will see this incarnation of their ever recurring plan as a giant step backwards to a time before the Great Depression when the wealthy squeezed the life out of the middle and lower classes and left children, the poor, and the infirm to fend for themselves.
President Obama’s plan to raise taxes and cut spending without destroying safety nets or killing much needed job creating expenditures on infrastructure rebuilding and education programs isn’t perfect, but it is a far more serious proposal than anything the Republicans have offered.