The Republican supercommittee Co-Chair couldn?t be clearer about his party?s priorities for deficit reduction?the GOP will only agree to a deficit plan that includes massive cuts in middle-class benefits combined with even lower taxes for the wealthy. With just days left before its deadline, it is obvious that the only deal that will come from this supercommittee is one that slashes benefits to middle class Americans while cutting taxes for the rich. In other words, a doubling down of the failed fiscal policies which got us here in the first place.You?ve got to give Rep. Jeb Hensarling credit. At least, he?s made the GOP?s position crystal clear — there will be no discussion of shared sacrifice or a balanced approach in this supercommittee. With just days left before the committee?s deadline Hensarling proudly and defiantly told CNBC the GOP won?t support adding even one penny of new net revenue. Here?s TPM?s coverage:
?We have gone as far as we feel we can go,? Hensarling said. ?We put $250 billion of what is known as ?static revenue? on the table, but only if we can bring down rates [but] any penny of increased static revenue is a step in the wrong direction. We can only balance that with pro-growth reform and frankly the Democrats have never agreed to that?. if we can?t get any type of reforms in health care, which has helped drive the nation towards insolvency, then, no, there?s no reason to frankly put any static revenues on the table.?When Hensarling says ?static,? he means revenue that will actually, predictably come into the Treasury. Republicans claim in a Laffer-ite way that their preferred tax policy will create enough economic growth to raise revenues even if the math says it won?t. Democrats reject that kind of analysis. In a moment of candor, Hensarling said Republicans would fight to make sure they never have to harm their own interests. If they refuse to raise taxes and the committee fails then they?ll also focus their efforts on changing the enforcement mechanism ? put in place to force both parties to compromise ? to make sure that the part they don?t like gets changed before it kicks in in January 2013.
As a reminder, here is what the GOP tax plan offered in the supercommittee actually includes:
?the Republican proposal would significantly shift tax burdens from high-income to lower- and middle-income taxpayers. High-income taxpayers would benefit enormously from the proposed cut in tax rates, while lower- and middle-income taxpayers would suffer disproportionately from the proposed reductions in tax expenditures, since the plan shields the main tax expenditure for the highest-income Americans ? the highly preferential treatment of capital gains and dividend income. Not a First Step Toward Balanced Deficit Reduction- Center for Budget and Policy Priorities
So while some Democrats on the supercommittee have already offered up billions in cuts to benefits for millions of average Americans–even that capitulation isn?t enough. Republicans want even more benefit cuts for the middle class to pay for even lower taxes for the wealthy. The only deal that these not-so supercommittee members will sign onto is yet another bad deal for working Americans who?ve already sacrificed in an economy that benefits the wealthiest among us. Permanent tax cuts for millionaires (passed either now or by yet another committee later) and gutting Medicare is the only offer Hensarling says the GOP will accept:
Rep. Jeb Hensarling said Tuesday Republicans will not alter their supercommittee offer until Democrats put forward a plan to reform entitlements. ?What I haven?t seen, again, is a commitment to structural reform of a program that I believe fundamentally is beginning to ration health care for my parents, would not be around for my children and is helping drive our country into insolvency,? Hensarling told reporters.
If this is the best proposal this supercommittee can come up with then members should just WALK AWAY. Working Americans have made it clear they don?t support cutting vital programs like Social Security and Medicare in the name of deficit reduction. They know these programs didn?t cause this economic mess but they certainly do improve the lives of the very people who?ve suffered most in this economy. In fact, the vast majority of Americans want the wealthy to finally pay their share through higher taxes, not lower.Unfortunately, it?s clear America?s plan is not the deal even being discussed by the supercommittee. Today, Washington?s fiscal hawks even went so far as to promise supercommittee members that, you, the American people will support their efforts targeting the middle-class for benefit cuts:
“This group can do it. And they need to know, if they are bold, if they are brave, if they go big, we will stand with them, and the American people will stand with them,” said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D.
We know the average working American won?t stand by this time. The anger and frustration we hear every day is growing. But clearly Washington still hasn?t heard it. So, now is the time for you to ensure your voice cuts through Congressional efforts to destroy Social Security and Medicare under the guise of deficit reduction. Don?t let Washington be deluded into believing that it?s OK?you really won?t mind if Congress destroys America?s safety net.
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