After President Obama and the leaders of the Republican caucus met this week to discuss working together to solve America’s problems, one may have been left with hope that finally something productive would be accomplished. Indeed, after the meeting the president and Republican leadership talked about compromise and working together for the good of the American people. Alas, the goodwill and spirit of cooperation expressed by Republicans turned into obstruction and claims of no compromise under any condition.
Republicans stated categorically that unless the tax cuts for the wealthy are made permanent, they would block every bit of legislation Democrats want to move forward. On Wednesday, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that nothing will be addressed until all the Bush-era tax cuts are extended; including and especially tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Democrats propose and support extending the cuts for every American except for the extremely wealthy.
What that means is that Democrats want to continue tax cuts for 98% of the American people and allow the cuts to expire for the remaining 2%. That 2% includes millionaires and billionaires who will gain an average of $104,000 in cuts at the same time Republicans are blocking extending unemployment benefits for millions of Americans who lost their jobs to Republican sponsored outsourcing and the financial meltdown caused by deregulating financial institutions and banks at the hands of Republicans.
No matter how one assesses the current Republican obstructionist tactics in the legislature, it is nothing less than extortion, and it will affect working Americans as well as national security. Republicans are threatening to block a vote on the START treaty that will limit the nuclear arsenals of Russia as well as the United States.
Republicans are saying that extending the tax cuts for the rich will create jobs and stimulate the economy at a time when jobs are scarce and the economic future is looking bleaker every day. But Republicans do not mention that for the past 10 years when the wealthy have enjoyed lower taxes, job creation was anemic at best. Their argument that wealthy people drive job creation and increase business here in America is a lie, and still, Republicans repeat the same tired talking points as if their arguments are facts beyond a shadow of a doubt.
The American people who support extending the tax cuts for the wealthy are falling for the Reagan-era philosophy that when the wealthy increase their income, money ‘trickles down’ to the working and middle class. The trickle-down theory did not work during the Reagan years and has never proved to be anything more than a scam. Republicans do understand that the majority of Americans are not critical thinkers or they would not continue the same lie that when the wealthy prosper, America prospers. For Republicans and conservatives, the wealthy and corporations are America, and the working class and poor are a scourge.
If Americans don’t see the Republican Party as the front line of the class war against 98% of the population they must be blind. It is curious why Mitch McConnell’s constituents in Kentucky would support him when he wants to punish 98% of them to benefit the wealthiest 2%. McConnell has aligned himself with the wealthy class in their efforts to deprive the working middle-class of a decent wage and protections against outsourcing that McConnell supports, and now he is willing to hold unemployed people hostage until the wealthy get a permanent tax cut. It should be noted that if the wealthy tax cuts expire, they will see a tax increase of 3% that they will mitigate with deductions that only the wealthy enjoy.
Republicans have a habit of never talking about the middle class in America because they could not care less about working Americans. Their only focus is preserving the obscene wealth for their elite donors, and they lie to Americans that Democrats are raising everyone’s taxes. Democrats have been very clear that they want to extend tax relief for every American except the wealthiest taxpayers who have enjoyed lower taxes for 10 years and created no jobs. The tax cuts for the wealthy have to expire because they were never funded, and Republicans want to continue that process permanently at a cost to Americans of $700 billion a year. For the party that lays exclusive claim to fiscal responsibility, Republicans belie that fact when they insist on increasing the deficit just so their wealthy donors can have a 3% tax cut in perpetuity without funding.
Democrats and President Obama must make their case to the American people that they are working for 98% of Americans by extending their tax cuts. It is disgusting to watch one Republican after another pontificate on the merits of extending the tax cuts for the wealthy as a means to create jobs and spur economic growth when they blocked jobs bills, small business loan assistance, and legislation to curb outsourcing Americans’ jobs. They are disingenuous at best, and lying pigs in reality.
Republicans are holding Americans hostage to increase the wealth of those who do not need more wealth. They are extortionists who are willing to endanger national security by blocking ratification of the START treaty, unemployment benefits, and climate legislation unless they are paid off by extending tax cuts for the rich. It is time to call the Republicans what they really are; criminal extortionists and killers of the working middle class.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.