I just finished calling Congressman Jim McDermott, my representative in Seattle. I expressed my strong opposition to President Obama's caving in to Republican blackmail in agreeing under the guise of "compromise" to providing an extension to the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.
Progressives owe a debt of gratitude to Dan Bartlett for expressing the truth even if the intention was to boast about a "victory" that has been a tragic loss to the middle class and poor and a victory for the super privileged of American society.
Bartlett was chortling over the Republicans having put one over on the Democrats when it came to the initial act whereby such irresponsible cuts would be imposed. It was not done in a normal fashion through legislation but as an add-on and as such the cuts would thereby expire.
This was but phase one of the strategy. The intent at that time was for those tax cuts for the top two percent of Americans to be extended. This is certainly the present intention of Senate and House Republican leadership, spearheaded by Senator Mitch McConnell and Congressman and soon to be Speaker of the House John Boehner.
This is far from the Republican Party of Dwight Eisenhower or Richard Nixon. Neither of those Republican presidents ever recommended anything as wildly irresponsible as continuing tax cuts for Americans who do not need them in the wake of tragic economic circumstances with a national debt which currently stands at better than $13.8 trillion.
Studies have consistently revealed that tax cuts for the top class, in this case two percent, does little to generate the kind of activity that spurs economic growth and creates jobs. At that rarified level much of the money will simply be invested in certificates of deposit rather than be spent on goods and services.
Obama conceded yesterday that he had campaigned ardently against tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. What has apparently generated his so-called "compromise" is the threat of McConnell to refuse to take action on anything else until he and his allies get their way. That would mean an immediate increase of taxes for all Americans and jeopardizing unemployment benefits for some of the nation's neediest citizens and a potential government shutdown of the kind initiated by Newt Gingrich and Republican allies during Bill Clinton's presidency.
To push America into such a precarious position represents the quality of individuals leading today's Republican Party. McConnell and Boehner are engaging in blackmail to obtain a result that will substantially undermine the nation's economic health, which is already in a highly precarious position, to insure tax cuts for those who do not need them.