The republicans really need to consider changing their party’s name from Grand Old Party (GOP) to Greedy One Percent.
The GOP, which has been vehemently opposed to any tax hikes for the very rich, claims that those tax hikes would paralyze job creation by these millionaires whom the GOP calls “job creators”. Of course, they ignore the fact that under the massive Bush tax cuts for the rich, the USA lost 4.4 million jobs in 2008 alone (by the end of the Bush administration in January 2009,with another 4 million lost by January 2010 because of the recession that began in December 2007, while the USA added 22.4 million jobs under the increased taxes environment of the Clinton administration
So much for how protecting tax breaks for those “job creating” millionaires causes job creation…
The Occupy Wall Street movement is changing the political landscape by diverting new and increased media attention to itself and away from the Tea party Movement‘s agenda. Despite accusations from some of more ignorant republicans and conservatives who claim that the Occupiers are merely lazy young people who don’t want to work and ex-1960’s anti-war protesters looking for relevance and attention, the facts are that Bank of America felt their influence when it recently reversed its proposed $5 per month ATM usage fee which was set to start in January 2012. Additionally, the Occupiers have actually been instrumental (according to the richest man on the planet Warren Buffet’s son, Howard), in getting two dozen of the USA’s millionaires to visit the US congress yesterday demanding a tax increase on themselves and their brethren.
It seems these folks actually got to talk to the congressional “super-committee” of six democrats and six republicans who are tasked with finding at least US$1.2 trillion in budget savings over the next 10 years by November 23rd. If this super-committee can’t agreed to a plan or the full congress doesn’t pass the plan in December, automatic (and somewhat draconian) budget cuts to both defense and non-defense spending will kick in starting in 2013. Not one of the super-committee members wants that to happen, but with less than a week left, they still seem far apart. Yet the GOP members have been absolutely unyielding when it comes to tax increases on anyone, especially millionaires, even as those same millionaires are advocating the reverse. Meanwhile, the republicans continue to demand unilateral entitlement cuts from the democrats (which the democrats are will to provide, by the way, in a deal that shares the burden evenly).
Thus it must have been somewhat embarrassing for the congressional republicans when these two dozen millionaires showed up to demand that income taxes on the very rich be raised. If these millionaire folks, who logically are more knowledgeable about job creation and the economic impact of paying more taxes than the GOP congressionals, are openly advocating for higher taxes for themselves and other millionaires, then what, exactly, are the republicans really trying to defend by refusing to do so?
The answer to that question is multifaceted and not so simple. For three decades republicans were against raising taxes, notably represented by then-presidential candidate George H. W. Bush said in 1988 “Read my lips: no new taxes!”, which followed then-President Ronald Reagan’s declaration that he would veto any tax-increasing bill to reach his desk by stating “Go ahead; make my day!” in 1985. Yet, both of these republican presidents realized that sometimes taxes must be raised for the good of the nation; Reagan raised taxes 19 times as president, and Bush did so as well in 1990.
Recently, however, three newer factors came into play:
First, GW Bush gave the very rich not just one, but two massive taxes cuts while fighting two unfunded wars and increasing a policy of deregulation of the financial industry which ultimately ushered in the sub-prime mortgage debacle and subsequent great recession.
Second, the tea party movement rose in strength and media attention, and repeatedly screamed that the big problem in America is that the US government is too big (real message: we don’t want to pay taxes).
Third, a comedian-turned-self-appointed-economic-know-it-all ultra-conservative named Grover Norquist somehow managed to scare the hell out of almost every republican in congress and get each of them to sign a “no new taxes” pledge.
These factors are hugely responsible for the vast majority of economic problems the nation is facing today. And what’s absolutely unacceptable is that the party that helped cause the the economic fiasco we’re in now refuses to bite the bullet to necessarily raise tax revenue to help pay the bill, in conjunction with the democrats’ willingness to help reduce government spending by seriously addressing entitlements.
So if the GOP ignores the millionaires’ plea to help save America and instead keeps its pledge to Norquist the Fearful ex-comedian, will the American people blame the republicans or the democrats when the automatic cuts take effect in 2013?
The smart money says they’ll blame everyone but the guilty.