First of all, as I almost always feel I need to do when writing about politics, when I refer to Republicans here, I’m referring to the Republicans in office or running for office, not Republican voters (I think there’s a big difference between the two, but that voters are essentially tricked by the politicians straight lies and hidden actions). Now, on to the story:
Really, this is nothing new, but every once it a while, the simplicity of it hits me. Republican politicians posture on a number of issues, but they really just seem to be dead set on one goal — making the rich richer.
They consistently want to cut highly popular policies such as policies that clean our air, clean our water, create jobs, and help us to compete in the key industry of the 21st century, clean energy. And why do they want to do so? For no other reason than the fact that cleaning our air, cleaning our water, and creating jobs means the rich take home less money. They work for the rich, and the rich only.
Now, this all struck me yet again while looking at the Center for American Progress’ timeline of the deficit talks (below). It’s really striking. Top Republicans will cut EVERYTHING except for taxes on the rich. They will cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, clean air protections, clean water protections, policies that keep us in the clean energy race and create jobs, and even the amount of money the poor and middle class take home after taxes. But they won’t let anyone cut the amount of money the rich take home after taxes. They want to extend the Bush tax cuts for the rich at any cost.
Is there any wonder why millions of people are expressing their frustration with the system through the Occupy Wall Street movement?
Republicans (largely, but also some Democrats) have hijacked the system to only benefit the rich, and they are even willing to hold the whole country hostage to keep that the way it is.
Truly, a shame.
Now, here’s the timeline from the Center for American Progress:
February 14, 2011: President Barack Obama submits budget for 2012 with about $2 trillion in deficit reduction, half of which come from spending cuts.
April 15, 2011: House passes Ryan budget, which includes $5.8 trillion in spending cuts along with tax cuts for the richest Americans.
May 5, 2011: Vice President Joe Biden begins debt talks.
May 11, 2011: Speaker John Boehner says he will not raise debt limit without spending cuts that match how much the limit is raised.
June 23, 2011: Majority Leader Eric Cantor walks away from debt ceiling talks with Biden after refusing to consider any tax increases. The administration had offered $2.4 trillion in spending cuts for $400 billion in taxes, an 83:17 split.
July 7, 2011: President Obama and Speaker Boehner begin debt-ceiling negotiations.
July 9, 2011: Speaker Boehner walks away from President Obama’s “grand bargain”: $4 trillion in debt reduction comprised of $1 trillion in revenue and $3 trillion in spending cuts, including entitlement reforms.
July 19, 2011: The Gang of Six proposes a $4 trillion deficit reduction plan, including $2 trillion revenue.
July 22, 2011: Again, Speaker Boehner walks away from negotiations after President Obama offers $1.2 trillion in revenues and $1.6 trillion in spending cuts, including entitlements.
July 31, 2011: Debt ceiling agreement is reached, cutting $1 trillion in spending immediately and establishing the super committee to reduce deficits by at least an additional $1.2 trillion.
October 26, 2011: Democrats first super committee offer is $3 trillion in deficit reduction comprised of about $1.3 trillion in revenues and $1.7 trillion in spending cuts, including cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. Republicans immediately reject it. Republicans’ first super committee offer is $2.2 trillion in deficit reduction that includes no new tax revenues.
November 8, 2011: Republicans’ second super committee offer is $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction. It does include $300 billion in new tax revenue, but in exchange for extending the Bush tax cuts and lowering the top tax rate. The plan would ultimately cut taxes for the wealthy and raise them for everyone else.
November 10, 2011: Democrats’ second offer is $2.3 trillion in deficit reduction, consisting of $1.3 trillion in spending cuts and $1 trillion in revenue. The revenue would be split between $350 billion in concrete measures and $650 billion in future tax reform. Republicans reject it.
November 11, 2011: Democrats agree to Republicans’ top lines including just $400 billion in revenues and $875 billion in spending cuts, but refuse to accept the GOP’s tax cut for the rich. Republicans reject it and make their final offer: $640 billion in spending cuts and $3 billion in revenues.
Republican Tax Cuts image via Leader Nancy Pelosi