Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Republicans To Main Street: Drop Dead

If timing is everything, then the re-emergence of the Republican Party as a congressional power is likely to bring further gloom to Main Street and a new round of high-fiving on Wall Street.

Republicans have never been friends of Joe and Jane Six Pack, and nowhere in the post-election gloating of party leaders was there the slightest indication of a course correction on that. In fact, while unemployment continues to hover near the 10 percent mark and the foreclosure epidemic continues unabated, Republicans are talking not of programs that might ease the pain but of slashing programs that arguably have kept the pain from being even worse.

Nowhere is the Republican's overarching cynicism and deep disconnect with the reality of many ordinary Americans more evident than its quest to extend the Bush era tax cuts for the most affluent two percent of the population.

As things now stand, these "have mores," as Barack Obama's predecessor calls them in his new autobio, would be gifted a $61,000 tax cut. The GOP is calling for a $370,000 cut while at the same time balking at any effort to expands jobs programs.

Republicans argue that a hefty tax cut for the rich is a jobs program in and of itself because it would stimulate the economy, but this canard is debunked by study after study that show the rich have been banking and not spending their tax-cut money. That is not going to suddenly change.

David Stockman, budget director for that tax-cutting Reagan administration, opposes extending tax cuts for the rich -- and anyone else, for that matter -- because he believes that doing so would essentially bankrupt the country.

"You have to pay your bills; you can't keep borrowing from the rest of the world at that magnitude, year after year after year," Stockman told National Public Radio. "So in light of all of those facts, I say we can't afford the Bush tax cuts."

As it is, Republican leaders appear to be coalescing around a more direct way to bankrupt the country: A government shutdown.

Photograph by C. MacCubbin

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