Republican House leaser Cantor (R-VA) and Senator Kyl (R-AZ) walked out of the bi-partisan debt ceiling talks Thursday ending the talks. They blamed Democrats for refusing to take tax hikes off the table.
What horrendous tax increases were the Democrats proposing that caused these men to walk out? Was it elimination of oil subsidies? Was it ending the Bush tax cuts? Was it taxing the perks Congressmen receive from lobbyists? These may be good ideas, but not the reason.
According to a Democrat member of the negotiating group, it was something more heinous. Democrats proposed reducing the tax write offs for corporate jets. That apparently crossed the line.
Republicans flip flop might be due to internal splits and fear over Ryan bill
Prior to the sudden walk out, Cantor had been praising the talks and Vice President Biden and kept assuring the public real progress was being made. Then this surprise 180 degree turn.
Negotiations are always difficult when the opposing sides have such divergent views if not divergent realities. Negotiations become impossible when the ones at the table can not speak for the constituency they represent. The Republican conference is split after the election of a significant number of Tea Party members. Some Republicans accept the fact that raising the debt ceiling so the government can pay its debts is necessary. Others don’t.
Tea Party members campaigned on a pledge to cut spending so raising the debt ceiling flies in the face of their core belief. They deny that there is a crisis if the debt ceiling is not raised just as vehemently as they deny that man influences climate change. Without the support of the Tea Party, Republicans can not deliver what they negotiate.
All Republicans in Congress have signed a pledge with lobbyist Grover Norquist vowing to never vote to increase taxes or eliminate write offs which would result is someone paying more taxes. Most Republicans are afraid to suffer the wrath of Norquist by violating that pledge even if keeping it means they violate their oath of office.
Finally, many Republicans are unhappy they were forced to vote for the Ryan Budget since it is so unpopular with the voters. They may feel that they need to hold firm on the no-tax pledge to secure campaign contributions from corporations that they need to overcome the political damage the Ryan Bill has caused.
The two party’s have different approaches to reducing debt
Democrats in Congress and President Obama want a balance between revenue increases and spending cuts to eliminate the deficit and reduce the $14 trillion national debt. Their proposal is $1 of tax increases on corporations and the wealthy for every $3 dollars of spending cuts.
Republicans want to eliminate deficits by spending cuts only. But, they do not want defense spending or subsidies for oil companies touched by these pending cuts, in fact, they want defense spending increased. So do the math.
Economists and the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) say it is impossible to cut our way out of $14 trillion in debt. In fact, the Ryan Budget, passed by the House, and the proposals of every Republican Presidential candidate thus far would actually increase the national debt, not reduce it. The spending cuts would also slow the economy.
So what can be done to avoid defaulting on our debts?
The CBO has issued a report that shows if Congress did nothing; the debt would disappear on its own. This is because the Medicare savings in the Health Care Act aka “Obamacare” would be allowed to take effect without the threatened repeal, and the Bush tax cuts will expire unless Congress extends them.
Maybe Congress should just adjourn until after the 2012 election (without pay and without their government provided free healthcare) and let the economy fix itself.
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