Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Republican Class War

Can we please dispense with the notion that Republicans are against raising taxes and want to balance the federal budget? These are narratives they've promoted endlessly and way too many Americans have bought in to their rhetoric.

When it comes to taxes, as I've written about before, many Republicans (including all their top presidential candidates) are talking about the need to raise taxes on the elderly, disabled and poor. Michele Bachman even went so far as to break ranks with Republican icon Ronald Reagan in suggesting that we should get rid of the earned income tax credit - which has kept 3 million children out of poverty.

Of course those same Republicans are willing to kill an infrastructure bill that would have created hundreds of thousands of jobs for construction workers because it raised marginal tax rates by .07 on millionaires and billionaires.

Are you getting the picture?

The other lie Republicans tell is that they want to balance the federal budget - and according to Rep. Ryan's plan (which every Republican House member voted for), they want to do so by cutting things like education by 25% and forcing seniors to pay an additional $6,000 a year for Medicare.

But when it comes to the gravy train for defense contractors - all of the sudden the budget deficit isn't such a big problem.

As pessimism mounted this week over the ability of a bipartisan Congressional committee to agree on a deficit-reduction plan, lawmakers began taking steps to head off the large cuts in Pentagon spending that would automatically result from the panel’s failure...

Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate and a member of the deficit-reduction panel, has repeatedly said he has no intention of letting such cuts occur. Some House members said they were being urged by military contractors and others in their districts to avert such reductions.

As I wrote about before, when it comes to defense, Republicans have an epiphany and wake up to the fact that reductions in government spending will affect unemployment.

“What’s more, cutting our military—either by eliminating programs or laying off soldiers—brings grave economic costs,” wrote Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) in a Wall Street Journal op-ed last week. “[I]f the super committee fails to reach an agreement, its automatic cuts would kill upwards of 800,000 active-duty, civilian and industrial American jobs. This would inflate our unemployment rate by a full percentage point, close shipyards and assembly lines, and damage the industrial base that our warfighters need to stay fully supplied and equipped.”

Its perfectly clear that none of this has anything to do with opposition to tax increases or a commitment to eliminate the deficit. It really is a class war and Republicans have demonstrated for everyone to see which side they're on.

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