There are some professions that demand a certain level of earnest deliberation and an attitude of gravity toward something considered to be of importance, and seriousness is certainly the opposite of comedy or insignificant play. Politicians should be serious about their jobs because their actions have the potential to adversely affect the population as well as the nation, but as the so-called fiscal cliff looms large, Republicans have demonstrated that they are not serious about compromising with the President and Democrats and are engaged in a comedic reiteration of their failed campaign in the recent election. The American people sent a strong message to Republicans that they rejected Willard Romney’s tax plan and the anti-tax extremism inherent in the GOP, but beginning on the day after their crushing defeat, they claimed they would not consider following the will of the people and compromise with the President to avoid the fiscal cliff they created.
The latest joke from Republicans was offered up by House minority leader Eric Cantor who echoed Speaker John Boehner’s call for President Obama to put the Affordable Care Act on the table for elimination in order for Republicans to compromise on revenue increases. Republicans are still pressing the no-tax increase, trickle-down agenda by proposing eliminating tax loopholes for the middle class, and cutting taxes as their plan to increase revenue. The joke any family gets is that cutting taxes equates with higher revenue for the government, and that giving the wealthy and corporation’s greater tax cuts will spur economic growth and job creation. It is a thirty year-old theory that resulted in slow growth for the nation’s economy and increased income inequality as the rich get a larger share of the nation’s wealth and devastated the middle class.
The suggestion by Cantor borders on insanity if Republicans think that after Democrats defended the ACA in two elections and a Supreme Court challenge they will bargain the healthcare law away under any circumstances. Cantor said yesterday that, “If the President is serious about joining us and fixing the problem he ought to be putting ObamaCare on the table. There is no question in my mind that is the largest expansion of government programs that we’ve seen. All I can say is that the president has got to get serious. The speaker is correct that Obamacare is such an expansion of government spending that it ought to be on the table.” The problem is, besides preventing 30-million Americans having access to affordable healthcare, that getting rid it will not actually bring down the deficit at all, it does the exact opposite and based on past experience, Obamacare “on the table” always means full repeal or full defunding. Republicans are not serious about the deficit or preventing the fiscal cliff. However, they are completely serious about pushing Romney’s losing tax plan on Americans.
Speaker Boehner signaled his intent to use Romney’s plan as a means to avoid the fiscal cliff when he assigned Ryan as point-man for talks to avoid the fiscal cliff Ryan voted for. Republicans, and Ryan, are pushing to cut taxes for the wealthy, and based on new data from the Internal Revenue Service that shows the effective tax rates for America’s top earners fell even lower in 2010, one wonders why Republicans are pushing for greater cuts included in Romney’s plan.
The President has held firm on allowing Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy expire according to schedule, and resisted bringing Social Security into the equation. On Monday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said President Obama was not interested in broaching cuts to the government administered retirement program because “Social Security is not currently a driver of the deficit. That’s an economic fact,” but the President is holding firm to $1.6 trillion in new tax revenue and insists it be achieved by allowing tax rates on the wealthy to increase at the end of the year, as well as by eliminating deductions. Carney continued that, “Math tells us that you can’t get the kind of balanced approach that you need without having rates be part of the equation. We haven’t seen a proposal that achieves that, a realistic proposal that achieves that.” No, and if the White House is looking for realistic proposals from Republicans, they will be looking for a long time. The White House published a report Monday warning that the average family will pay $2,200 more in taxes next year if Congress does not freeze rates for the middle class, but Republicans will hold the middle class hostage to maintain, and reduce, the wealthy’s tax rates.
Republicans are not serious about deficit reduction or compromise to avoid the fiscal cliff, and proposing that the President put his signature healthcare law on the chopping block proves it. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the ACA still reduces the deficit regardless the GOP talking points to the contrary. If eliminating the ACA is not ridiculous enough, Paul Ryan is still pushing the meme that revenues will increase with lower rates for the wealthy, because as Republicans are wont to claim, higher tax rates on the wealthy hurts economic growth. Allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire and return to Clinton-era rates when the economy thrived and 23 million jobs were created is a historical fact Republicans still cannot grasp, but when governing is a joke, facts are irrelevant.
For the past four years, the Republican Party has been an abject failure and a joke, an evil dysfunctional joke, and they show no signs of relenting and getting serious about acquiescing to the will of the people or fact-based sound economic theory. Their intransigence on taxes notwithstanding, they have transformed governance into a comedy that lacks all logic and reason, and they have elucidated their position as obstructionists intent on bringing the country to its knees in their campaign for plutocracy. If Americans thought pushing the losing Romney tax plan on the nation was a joke, Republicans proposing the President putting the ACA on the table should send them into a hilarious fit, the only problem is, Republicans are not joking and the cliff they advocated and voted for last year will be as serious as they are about holding the middle class hostage for the wealthy’s tax cuts.