What the coming compromise will look like, oh, and the Republicans are still the main enemy of the working class

With the change in the balance of power in Congress and many outgoing members unwilling to risk future corporate lobbying positions with risky votes, it is increasingly plain that the White House has been forced back from a more progressive agenda.

For instance, it seems willing to trade a temporary rich tax cut extension for an unemployment benefits extension, along with continuing resolutions to fund vital anti-poverty programs and other important public services struggling working families need.

Indeed, a vote on the DREAM Act, a bipartisan bill that would provide a path to legal status for  tens of thousands of undocumented immigrant youth through public service, and confirmation of many presidential appointees may also hinge on this trade off.

Some will say, hey, just let the Bush tax cuts expire by not taking any action. Unfortunately, the Republicans, when they controlled Congress and the White House, tied the tax cuts for the rich to tax cuts for working families. If no action is taking, working families will see their tax bills go up too.

And the Republicans are more than willing to hold working families taxes hostage to win an extension of the tax cuts for their constituents: the richest Americans who poured tens of millions of dollars into their campaign coffers in this past election cycle.

This doesn't mean we shouldn't fight to extend unemployment benefits. Every effort to win any kind of progress is needed.

Indeed, passage of an unemployment benefits extension will do more for economic recovery than all the Republican tax cuts for the rich ever could. Aside from the obvious fact that providing the already cash-rich wealthiest Americans with more money doesn't stimulate economic activity, a new Department of Labor report found that for every dollar spent on unemployment benefits, two dollars were generated in economic activity, creating or saving jobs. And for every 1 million jobs created, the deficit is reduced by $54 billion, a sign that job creation should be the real focus.

The simple fact is that this kind of spending creates demand, the real cause of the lingering recession for working families in the form of stagnant employment rates.

Significantly, the Republican Party's push for extending Bush tax cuts for the rich comes at a time they demand balancing the budget. Meanwhile, they persist in the false claim that tax cuts raise revenue and refuse to consider cuts in the Pentagon budget.

A bit of history should set them straight. When Clinton left office in 2001, the federal budget stood at a $236 billion surplus, two recessions, a massive ten year tax cut plan for the rich, and two trillion dollar wars later, George W. Bush and the Republicans accomplished something not even Ronald Reagan could: creating a $11 trillion federal debt with deficits as far as the eye could see. From $6 trillion in costs and debt servicing for the wars, tax cuts for the rich, and the failure to address the fallout from both of the recessions since 2001, Bush/Republican Party policies are entirely responsible for the deficits we now face.

Now, as the Republicans push for balancing the budget – under the ridiculous claim that they are fiscally responsible – the tax cuts they want to extend will add $700 billion to the debt. Meanwhile they demand privatization of Social Security and Medicare, as well as massive benefit cuts in each program. They want to end health reform that would extend coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans. They want to cut unemployment benefits – all to pay for rich tax cuts.

Strip away all the fear-mongering, culture wars, and Obama-hating and this is the Republican Party's sole agenda.

Post your comment

Comments are moderated. See guidelines here.


No one has commented on this page yet.

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments