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GOP’s Debt Ceiling Fight Is About Bringing Down Obama

Impeach  him.

Not the president. Barack Obama is holding a huge  global and domestic crisis in his hand. To use a Washington metaphor,  he’s dangerously close to being left “holding the bag” on the  Treasury debt ceiling limit. He keeps talking sweet reason about  the art of compromise to Republicans in Congress—not a language they speak.   Obama played golf with the House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican who  drones on about “small business” every chance he gets. Obama is  not getting traction or making friends with Boehner because he does  not grasp the conversation about the debt limit is not about the debt limit. It’s about taking his presidency down—this week—even if it hurts the  United States of America, which it will. A small price to pay for this  tea-drinking crowd of 87 GOP House freshmen which turned the chamber upside  down six months ago.

“This is no way to run the greatest country on  earth,” Obama  declared in a belated speech, sounding a call to arms around  the  country, last night. That in itself says so much—he’s right, but  he’s  the man who’s elected by the people—not John Boehner who was elected by a  small-town  slice of Ohio—to run the country! Everything was  calculated to leave  Obama in the lurch—by Boehner, House Majority  Leader Eric Cantor of the old  Confederate capital, Richmond, Va. and at  least one other mastermind. The  conspiracy has succeeded flawlessly so  far. They separated Obama from his  own party in Congress; in his  dealings with only Republicans he went way  beyond Bill Clinton’s  “triangulation” strategy. Obama made  allies feel like they were shut  out of the deal-making room when he  offered concessions that cut at the  heart of the Democratic Party‘s proud  history on social programs dating  to the New Deal.

The GOP—and I mean the George W. Bush years and the  current crop  of Senate Republicans, too—has a new deal for you, too. It’s  called  the New Steal. It goes like this: we’ll take all the peace and   prosperity of the Clinton tax code years up until 2000 and then squander  it on  a couple unwinnable wars of choice—and by the way, make rich  people pay less  into the Treasury than they did during those golden  years. They might start one  of those illusory “small businesses.”

The reason President Clinton was acquitted at his  impeachment trial  in the Senate for a fling with Monica Lewinsky was because he  built  bonds of loyalty, teamwork and camaraderie with Democrats in both houses   of Congress. Not one of them came forward on the floor to speak  against him,  except pious Sen. Joe Lieberman, who suggested a censure. He  was utterly alone in  his opportunistic little ploy. Clinton’s true  friends all stood by him in the  Senate—because he was their  president.

Obama, a bit of a loner, needs more bosom buddies  among lawmakers.  In a crisis, you find out who your friends are. The one  who could have  steered him straight, sailing into the wind, was the late great   senator, Edward M. Kennedy. When Kennedy got his Irish up and roared on   the floor, he scared the forest. Obama does not scare the Republican  jungle.

Let’s impeach Rush Limbaugh as the master of public  dis-coarse. He’s  the real reason we have so many angry white men in office who  are  plotting against the president. He’s writing the back-story of this   debt drama, consulting closely with House Republican leaders step by  step.  I believe it even if I can’t see it because he did the same thing  in  1994, in cahoots with Newt Gingrich, who recruited a new House  Republican  freshman class to take over the House. Yes, I saw Rush with  my own eyes  getting all the glory as class mascot at a fancy dinner at  Camden Yards in  Baltimore for the new Republican victors that enabled  Gingrich to become speaker. The government shutdowns and showdowns  against President Clinton  resulted—remember?

 

By: Jamie Stiehm, U. S. News and World Report, July 26, 2011

July 26, 2011 Posted by | Budget, Class Warfare, Congress, Conservatives, Debt Ceiling, Debt Crisis, Deficits, Democracy, Democrats, Economic Recovery, Economy, Elections, Federal Budget, GOP, Government, Government Shut Down, Ideologues, Ideology, Lawmakers, Politics, President Obama, Public, Republicans, Right Wing, Small Businesses, Taxes, Teaparty, Voters | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Harry Reid Caving Or Calling The GOP Bluff?

If you can still remember the GOP position when the curtain first rose on Debt Ceiling Theater, you will recall that the Congressional Republicans had put forth two goals.

First, an agreement whereby every dollar permitted to be borrowed by a raise in the debt ceiling would be matched by a dollar of cuts in the federal budget; and Second, there could be no tax increases as a result of the process.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is now offering up a plan that ostensibly meets the GOP demands by proposing a $2.7 trillion cut in federal spending to be matched by a like increase in the debt ceiling – with no tax increases or revenue boosts required.

That certainly sounds like a win for the GOP, doesn’t it?

Maybe it is – maybe it isn’t.

If the Republicans take the deal, they will accomplish a few important things.

For starters, in a country where few people read beyond the headlines and often believe what they are told by Fox News, a GOP declaration of victory would likely hold up – even if that victory proves to be little more than a cosmetic win.

Such a deal would also leave many on the left dispirited, believing that the President and the Democrats – by allowing the GOP to wriggle off the hook on revenue increases – will have, once again, caved to the opposition. This would threaten to split the Democrats at the worst possible time as we head into an election year.

But the devil is always in the details – and the details very much skew to the Democratic Party perspective.

Much of the cuts in the Reid plan are tied to reductions in spending on our two wars along with discretionary spending cuts. By structuring the cuts in this way, Reid is creating an incentive for the war supporters in Congress, and the President, to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan once and for all.

Accomplishing this would likely be perceived as a ‘win’ by many American voters who think it is time to bring these wars to a conclusion. Of course, those who are focused on achieving true and well defined cuts to our federal budget would likely see this maneuver as an example of budget trickery intended to create the appearance of a cut where no cut is really is going to take place if we continue our battles overseas.

More importantly from a political perspective, none of the budget reductions in the Reid proposal touch the entitlement programs that are sacrosanct to both the left and the rank-and-file members of Democratic Party, not to mention – if the polls are to be believed- Independents and many Republicans.

Finally, the Reid proposal provides a large enough raise in the debt ceiling to take us beyond the 2012 elections.

While the failure to get any revenue increases would, no doubt, be a black mark against the Democrats and the President, the Reid proposal would permit the Senate Democrats to argue that they succeeded in solving the debt ceiling crisis without impacting on entitlements – something the President was clearly ready to do in trade for revenue increases.

Preserving entitlements will make a lot of people happy and very possibly balance the anger of those who want the Democrats to hang in there until they accomplish some revenue increases by cutting corporate subsidies from the tax code and raising the rates on the wealthiest Americans.

The deal would also preserve to the Democrats the substantial political advantage they gained through the public revulsion to the Ryan budget plan and its dramatic impact on Medicare and Medicaid.

All of this puts the Republicans in a tricky spot.

If they accept Reid’s deal, they can claim a victory and go home.

But they will know that they really have won very little beyond the appearance of a win and some continued protection for the wealthy by holding off any tax increases – for now. Remember that the Bush tax cuts once again expire at the end of 2012. Should Obama win the election – and bring along some Congressional Democrats with him -the story could be very different than it was when Obama was forced to leave the Bush cuts intact in 2010 in order to protect the unemployment insurance payments so badly needed by the millions of out-of-work Americans.

Because of the questionable value of such a deal to those in the Tea Party Caucus, the group that very much appears to be in the driver’s seat these days, the Reid proposal could be a non-starter, forcing Boehner to, once again, pass up a compromise opportunity.

If Boehner is forced to say no, it would seem impossible for the Republicans to avoid blame after having passed up yet another effort on the part of the Democrats to compromise – this time by offering the GOP what they say they wanted in the first place.

You can also expect Democrats to be quick to point out that the war savings Reid is offering in his deal also show up as a budget cut in the Ryan budget – making it look all the worse for the GOP who would appear willing to claim war savings as budget cuts in their own budget but refuse to consider them valid when offered as part of a deal in this instance.

Harry Reid may be showing us that there is more to his strategy skills than what has previously met the nation’s eye.

Stay tuned. There is a long way to go.

By: Rick Ungar, The Policy Page, Forbes, July 25, 2011

July 26, 2011 Posted by | Budget, Congress, Conservatives, Corporations, Debt Ceiling, Debt Crisis, Deficits, Democracy, Democrats, Economic Recovery, Economy, Elections, GOP, Government, Government Shut Down, Ideologues, Ideology, Independents, Lawmakers, Politics, President Obama, Public, Republicans, Right Wing, Tax Increases, Tax Loopholes, Taxes, Teaparty, Unemployment Benefits, Voters, War, Wealthy | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taxing The Poor: The Only Tax Increase Republicans Support

Throughout the debate about raising the federal debt ceiling, Republicans have denied deal after deal because Democrats insist on adding new revenues to trillions of dollars in spending cuts. Republicans have opposed repealing oil and gas subsidies, removing a tax loophole for corporate jet owners, letting the Bush tax cuts expire, and all other forms of revenue Democrats have suggested. Raising taxes in a weak economy, they argue, is unthinkable — even if conservative patriarch Ronald Reagan did just that.

But there is one tax increase some Republicans seem to favor: raising taxes on the working poor, senior citizens, and other low-income Americans.

While they fight the expiration of the budget-busting Bush tax cuts, Republicans have continually cited a report that shows that 51 percent of Americans don’t pay income taxes, even admitting that middle- and lower-class Americans need to shoulder a larger burden in deficit reduction efforts. Here is a sample of Republicans who have made that argument:

Sen. Orrin Hatch

(R-UT): In a May 5 appearance on MSNBC, Hatch said, “The place where you’ve got to get revenues has to come from the middle class,” saying the poor needed to understand “that there’s a civic duty on the part of every one of us to help this government to, uh, to be better.” On the Senate floor July 7, Hatch said the poor “need to share some of the responsibility” for deficit reduction.

Sen. John Cornyn

(R-TX): Cornyn also cited the report on the Senate floor July 7, when he said Congress needed to address tax reform to make the system “flatter, fairer, and simpler.” He then cited the report, saying, “51 percent — that is — a majority of American households — paid no income tax in 2009. Zero. Zip. Nada.”

Sen. Dan Coats

(R-IN): Coats echoed the talking point last weekend, saying “everyone needs to have some skin in the game.” He added: “I realize that some with low incomes and not much money are not paying much in taxes. Nonetheless, we all have a stake in this country and what needs to be done. I think it’s important that this burden not just fall on 50 percent of the people but falls on all of us in some form.”

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor

(R-VA): Cantor was among the first Republicans to begin hitting this particular talking point, doing so in April on CNBC’s Squawk Box. “We also have a situation in this country where you’re nearing 50 percent of people who don’t even pay income taxes,” he said.

Republicans, of course, ignore why most of the 51 percent do not pay income taxes and the myriad ways in which they are subject to other forms of taxation. The majority who do not pay federal income taxes simply do not make enough money to qualify for even the lowest tax bracket. But they do contribute through payroll, state, and sales taxes. Less than a quarter of Americans don’t contribute to federal tax receipts, and the majority of those are students, the elderly, or the unemployed.

Meanwhile, the richest Americans are paying less than they were a generation ago, leaving the United States with one of the largest income gaps in the industrialized world.

By: Travis Waldron, Think Progress, July 25, 2011

July 26, 2011 Posted by | Budget, Class Warfare, Conservatives, Debt Ceiling, Debt Crisis, Deficits, Democrats, Economic Recovery, Economy, Elections, GOP, Government, Government Shut Down, Ideologues, Ideology, Income Gap, Jobs, Lawmakers, Middle Class, Politics, Public, Republicans, Right Wing, Tax Increases, Tax Loopholes, Taxes, Teaparty, Unemployed, Wealthy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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