Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tea Party Republicans vs. ??? Anyone??

The Tea Party Republicans in Washington prevented new hiring in the IRS -- even though by then end of 2010, some $330 billion in taxes had not been collected ... that's about nine times the amount the TPRs claim they will "save" in taxpayer funds. The fact is, for every dollar spent by the IRS nets $10 in return. More on the recent GAO study here.

Now, of course, the TPRs want to threaten the economy with another government shutdown. Take Alabama's Senator, Richard Shelby - he voted to increase the debt limit seven times in the eight years of the Bush/Cheney administration, but now says such a move warrants a government shutdown, though the move would reach far beyond our political wrangling and stir a potential global economic disaster.

Battling the TPR -- well wait, there is no battle. The knee-jerkism surrounding the TPR makes for nifty and utterly untrue sound bites for the cable media to rattle off. The sad thing is how President Obama and Democrats have failed to challenge them:

More broadly, Mr. Obama is conspicuously failing to mount any kind of challenge to the philosophy now dominating Washington discussion — a philosophy that says the poor must accept big cuts in Medicaid and food stamps; the middle class must accept big cuts in Medicare (actually a dismantling of the whole program); and corporations and the rich must accept big cuts in the taxes they have to pay. Shared sacrifice!

I’m not exaggerating. The House budget proposal that was unveiled last week — and was praised as “bold” and “serious” by all of Washington’s Very Serious People — includes savage cuts in Medicaid and other programs that help the neediest, which would among other things deprive 34 million Americans of health insurance. It includes a plan to privatize and defund Medicare that would leave many if not most seniors unable to afford health care. And it includes a plan to sharply cut taxes on corporations and to bring the tax rate on high earners down to its lowest level since 1931.

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center puts the revenue loss from these tax cuts at $2.9 trillion over the next decade. House Republicans claim that the tax cuts can be made “revenue neutral” by “broadening the tax base” — that is, by closing loopholes and ending exemptions. But you’d need to close a lot of loopholes to close a $3 trillion gap; for example, even completely eliminating one of the biggest exemptions, the mortgage interest deduction, wouldn’t come close. And G.O.P. leaders have not, of course, called for anything that drastic. I haven’t seen them name any significant exemptions they would end.


"What’s going on here? Despite the ferocious opposition he has faced since the day he took office, Mr. Obama is clearly still clinging to his vision of himself as a figure who can transcend America’s partisan differences. And his political strategists seem to believe that he can win re-election by positioning himself as being conciliatory and reasonable, by always being willing to compromise.

But if you ask me, I’d say that the nation wants — and more important, the nation needs — a president who believes in something, and is willing to take a stand. And that’s not what we’re seeing."

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