Writing at Rachel Maddow's Blog, Steve Benen nails the Republicans as they try to drive the nation off "the fiscal cliff" all so that the wealthiest Americans will not see their incomes after the first $ 250,000 be taxed by a mere 3% more. The greed we are witnessing here is incredible. As Benen writes:
"So, what's the pitch? Under this proposal, Republicans would keep all of the Bush-era tax rates, but accept $800 billion in new revenue. How? Through "through pro-growth tax reform that closes special-interest loopholes and deductions while lowering rates."And he is right. The loopholes that the Republicans are talking about would actually more deeply impact the Middle Class than the wealthy.
From there, the GOP leaders want to cut $600 billion from Medicare and Medicaid; cut $300 billion from mandatory programs; cut $200 billion by changing the consumer price index; and then cut another $300 billion in further discretionary spending.
To call this a "counteroffer" is to strip the word of meaning. Under the GOP plan, Republicans get the more than $1 trillion in spending cuts Obama already gave them; Republicans get the entitlement cuts they want; Republicans get hundreds of billions of dollars in additional cuts to programs they haven't identified; and Republicans get all of the Bush-era tax rates they've prioritized.
This isn't a "counteroffer"; it's a Christmas wish list written by kids without access to calculators."
President Obama is right here to dismiss the Republican offer and it's silliness. It's nothing but a way to screw the poorer end of our society so that Rich can enjoy an ever widening income gap.
Paul Krugman over at the NY Times does a great job breaking this down further.
Here’s where we are right now: As his opening bid in negotiations, Mr. Obama has proposed raising about $1.6 trillion in additional revenue over the next decade, with the majority coming from letting the high-end Bush tax cuts expire and the rest from measures to limit tax deductions. He would also cut spending by about $400 billion, through such measures as giving Medicare the ability to bargain for lower drug prices.
In the end the Mitt Romney and the Republicans ran on a platform dedicated to screwing Middle Class and poorer Americans financially, and sacrificing them on some Randian alter of trickle down theory in hopes of maintaining their core constituency's sense of entitlement. It wasn't the Democrats running on giving things away, (as Mitt claimed) it was the Republicans who ran on giving out whatever their big business backers asked for.So what are Republicans offering as an alternative? They say they want to rely mainly on spending cuts instead. Which spending cuts? Ah, that’s a mystery. In fact, until late last week, as far as I can tell, no leading Republican had been willing to say anything specific at all about how spending should be cut.The veil lifted a bit when Senator Mitch McConnell, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, finally mentioned a few things — raising the Medicare eligibility age, increasing Medicare premiums for high-income beneficiaries and changing the inflation adjustment for Social Security. But it’s not clear whether these represent an official negotiating position — and in any case, the arithmetic just doesn’t work.Start with raising the Medicare age. This is, as I’ve argued in the past, a terrible policy idea. But even aside from that, it’s just not a big money saver, largely because 65- and 66-year-olds have much lower health costs than the average Medicare recipient. When the Congressional Budget Office analyzed the likely fiscal effects of a rise in the eligibility age, it found that it would save only $113 billion over the next decade and have little effect on the longer-run trajectory of Medicare costs.Increasing premiums for the affluent would yield even less; a 2010 study by the budget office put the 10-year savings at only about $20 billion.Changing the inflation adjustment for Social Security would save a bit more — by my estimate, about $185 billion over the next decade. But put it all together, and the things Mr. McConnell was talking about would amount to only a bit over $300 billion in budget savings — a fifth of what Mr. Obama proposes in revenue gains.
In my mind what is best here is that the President learned from his mistakes of the previous years (and the disastrous debt ceiling negotiations of last year). He is taking the "fight" outside of the Beltway and directly to the American People, and bless him for that. The American people need to see just how the Republicans will do just about anything so that the 2% doesn't have to pay one dime more in taxes and they don't care who they take down.
I know that my vote for President Obama was a good vote and I feel a lot better seeing this and knowing that if the President sticks to this, America is truly on it's way back.