The Republicans in Congress have done nothing since they were elected except sit back and throw spit balls at any sort of real governing that the Democrats attempt. They offer no real compromise, no workable alternative. Their constituents should be boiling mad at their elected officials’ unwillingness to govern.
Here is a noteworthy email I got yesterday from Think Progress:
Last week, the president put out his plan to avoid the fiscal cliff, including $1.6 TRILLION in new tax revenues, $1.5 TRILLION in spending cuts that have already been enacted, $400 BILLION in additional targeted spending cuts, and additional measures to stimulate growth, including an extension of emergency unemployment benefits and new investments in infrastructure.
While Republicans have laughed at the president’s plan, said it is not “serious,” and have already fabricated new myths in order to attack it, there’s one thing they haven’t done until today: offer any real alternative.
A prime example of the GOP’s refusal to offer their own credible alternative plan was on display yesterday when Speaker Boehner (R-OH) was pressed on the details of the GOP plan by Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday. Boehner avoided any details and refused to say which tax deductions Republicans could cap or eliminate.
Just a couple hours ago, House Republicans finally offered an alternative: some of the worst of the GOP’s recent budget ideas along with $800 BILLION in new revenues from a tax plan that lowers rates and closes loopholes. And, unlike the new revenue proposed by the president, even this revenue is not locked in. It’s to come as a part of a yet to be determined tax reform plan to be put together by Congress.
If this all sounds familiar, that’s because it is. It is similar to the plan that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan ran on — and lost. And now Republicans are trying to put it forward as a credible alternative to the policies the president ran on — and won.
Let’s review in brief why this GOP plan does not pass muster:
- It raises the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 and includes deep cuts to both it and the Medicaid program. As we’ve discovered over the past two years, these ideas are both unfair to seniors and the middle class and are also highly unpopular. Raising the Medicare eligibility age is yet another change that simply shifts costs away from the government and onto seniors. In fact, it would actually result in higher overall health care spending.
- It doesn’t generate enough potential revenue to guarantee that programs that protect the needy, benefit the middle class, and make investments in the future won’t be subject to very deep cuts.
- It could place tax deductions for the middle class, not just the wealthiest Americans, at risk. This could actually mean lower taxes for the rich and higher taxes for the middle class.
- It does not seem to address the debt ceiling, affording Republicans yet another opportunity to manufacture a crisis and crash the entire economy unless a fresh set of their demands are met over the next few months.
The Republican proposal states that it is based on a plan put forward last year by Erskine Bowles (not to be confused with a different plan put forward by both Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson). Bowles, however, denied that that was the case today and also noted that “circumstances have changed” since then.
BOTTOM LINE: Any plan that fails to ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share and forces seniors and the middle class to shoulder the burden of dealing with our debt is neither balanced nor credible.
The Republicans have all turned their backs to (reality?) everyone else and have closed ranks like a flock of penguins huddling against the cold.
Suddenly, one respected member of the group will say something that resonates with them, no matter if it was just made up, then they repeat the thing around and around the group.
They nod and self-legitimize that position as if it were true, making it impossible for them to consider anything else (the actual truth). Then, feeling threatened, they quickly offer condemnation to anything that doesn’t fit that viewpoint. The opposite view from that made up thing is ofttimes invented, too, in an attempt to tell the world “what liberals think”.
There’s no way to break this circle. The right have erected a huge barrier around themselves called FOX. FOX will keep the made up thing going. There’s nothing that can be done as long as they have a powerful mouthpiece like FOX to, as George Bush put it, “propel the propaganda”.
What caused all this? Actually it was the right’s long war on the media. They lambasted the media as being “liberal” for so long and so often that the media lost its ability as a respected mediator that told us what was true. Until FOX can be convinced to actually become “fair and balanced” then there is no hope.