Americans are being held hostage -- again -- by a clutch of Congressional Republicans who will stop at nothing to oppose President Obama, even if it means that their own constituents go hungry. All they do is whine about Democrats wanting to raise taxes and yet they do nothing to stop a major tax increase that will place an extreme burden on the citizenry. Hypocrisy doesn't begin to describe it. It is sheer madness.
The Baltimore Sun put it this way:
"By rejecting the Senate's payroll tax cut extension, House Republicans put the U.S. economy at risk and reveal themselves to be certifiable. Unless House Republicans come to their senses, it now seems likely that about 160 million Americans are about to get a tax increase that amounts to $1,000 for the average household and could knock down U.S. projected economic growth next year (already expected to be modest) by 25 percent. . . .
"This isn't the usual spat between Democrats and Republicans on the Hill, with the former seeking higher taxes on the rich and the latter insisting on spending cuts. In the context of the payroll tax extension, that was largely resolved when Democrats took their millionaire tax plans off the table. Senate Republicans won that round.
"In fact, Senate Republicans got pretty much everything they wanted from their Democratic colleagues. They even included a provision forcing the White House to make a decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline from Canada within 60 days.
"That's probably why House Speaker John Boehner initially embraced the Senate plan -- but quickly withdrew it after he found out he didn't have support of his caucus. So the House rejected the Senate's two-month extension on Tuesday, chiefly on the argument that they preferred a one-year deal.
"Huh? The extension passed the Senate on an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, with 90 percent of senators approving it, the kind of lopsided margin that almost never happens in that chamber.
"But all that pales in comparison to the very real consequences of the measure's failure: Hundreds of dollars out of the pockets of Americans, reduced growth in 2012, a 27-percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors, a loss of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed, and a deficit that is billions of dollars larger than it would have otherwise been.
"To allow all those things to transpire when a solution, however temporary, was at hand is sheer madness. Or, to put it in short-hand: Democrats favor a tax cut while Republicans, who fought so hard to avoid a tax on those earning $1 million or more each year, now oppose a crucial break for the middle class. Even by Washington standards, such a turnabout defies belief."
They shoot themselves in the foot (politically) and everybody else in the eye. Sheer madness, indeed.