Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The GOP's Continued Budget Delusions

Watching the MSNBC lineup last night, a common thread came through: Congressional Republicans are throwing a conniption fit over the fact that Barack Obama is pushing the budget deficit plan that he campaigned upon over the better part of the last year.  Actually doing what one promised to Americans during seems an inconceivable concept to blowhards like John Boehner and the Palmetto Queen, Lindsey Graham, who prefer to cater to the wealthiest 2% of Americans and big business interests while throwing 98% of Americans under the bus.  Their reaction would be comical but for the fact that it indicates that today's GOP would rather harm the country than fail to deliver on promises to the greediest and most selfish elements of the GOP puppeteers.  A column in the Washington Post looks at the ongoing delusions in the GOP leadership.  Here are excerpts:

How dare he? President Obama, I mean: How dare he do what he promised during the campaign? How dare he insist on a “balanced approach” to fiscal policy that includes a teensy-weensy tax increase for the rich? Oh, the humanity.

Republicans are having conniptions. Witness the way House Speaker John Boehner reacted when Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner presented the administration’s proposals on taxes and spending:

“I was flabbergasted,Boehner told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” “I looked at him and said, ‘You can’t be serious.’ I’ve just never seen anything like it. You know, we’ve got seven weeks between Election Day and the end of the year. And three of those weeks have been wasted with this nonsense.”

The “nonsense” in question is a set of perfectly reasonable measures that Obama wants Congress to approve. Nothing in his package should be a surprise — except, perhaps, that the president has opened this negotiation by demanding what he really wants, rather than what he believes would be convenient for Boehner to deliver.

“The president’s idea of a negotiation is, roll over and do what I ask,” Boehner groused.  Hmmm. Where do you imagine the president might have learned this particular bargaining technique? Might his instructors have been Boehner’s own House Republicans, who went so far as to hold the debt ceiling for ransom — and with it, the nation’s full faith and credit — in order to get their way?

Obama’s proposals include effectively taking away congressional authority over the debt ceiling, which would preclude a repeat of last year’s hostage crisis. Boehner called it “silliness” to think that Congress would willingly surrender a power it can use to “leverage the political process.” So it’s fine when Congress uses muscle to get its way but not when the president does the same?

This fight isn’t about whether the rich will pay more in taxes; it is clear that they will. It’s about whether this new revenue is collected in a way that allows House Republicans to say they have kept their pledge never to raise marginal tax rates for anyone, for any purpose.

Refusing to budge has served House Republicans well in previous budget negotiations. But the no-taxes-ever bulwark has not served the country well, and if Obama sees a way to blast through it, he would be remiss not to try.

Geithner seems confident. “You’ve heard (Republicans) for the first time, I think, in two decades, acknowledge that they are willing to have revenues go up as part of a balanced plan,” he said Sunday. “That’s a good first step, but they have to tell us what they are willing to do on rates and revenues. That’s going to be very hard for Republicans. We understand that, but there’s no way through this without that.”
Most House Republicans are in safe districts, but not all of them — and the GOP majority will be smaller when the new Congress convenes. Polls indicate that most Americans believe the tax increase Obama seeks for the wealthy is no big deal. It’s hard to imagine how Republicans can possibly get a better offer on taxes and spending in January than they can get now.  Hence Boehner’s urgency. Time is not on his side.

We can expect more shrieks and fits of the vapors from the GOP before year end.  One can only hope that Obama hangs tough and forces Republicans to for once do something that is in the best interests of the country rather than their political cronies and vulture capitalists like those associated with Mitt Romney.

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