Protecting the wealthy, no matter the cost


Several weeks ago, I wrote about how after this presidential election, it would become necessary for the Republican Party to alter its ideology in order to retain political power in modern America.

The fact is, you can’t get elected by appealing to a demographic that is no longer a majority of our country’s population—in a representative democracy like America, you have to appeal to a broad spectrum of people.

Some right-wing pundits have finally opened their eyes to that fact, and are turning on the most conservative members of the GOP. Shortly after it became clear that Obama had won re-election by a landslide of electoral votes, Republican strategist Steve Schmidt made an appearance on NBC News, where he called for GOP leaders to “stand up” to the extreme elements in their party.

Ridiculous public performances, like Karl Rove’s insistence that Romney had actually won Ohio during Fox News’ election watch and that all indicators otherwise were incorrect, have illustrated all too well just how out-of-touch with reality some of the ring-wing is.

As the ‘fiscal cliff’ deadline approaches, the divisions among the GOP caused by such displays have only grown sharpe—Sens. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have both indicated that they’re willing to sign tax increases into law if it means brokering a deal on the austerity crisis with Democrats.

This goes against more than a decade of pledges from Republicans in the Senate to oppose any tax increases at all costs. Grover Norquist, a right-wing lobbyist who, as president of the Americans for Tax Reform organization, has wielded immense political power in Washington, D.C. over the years and is author of the no tax pledge, has called any thoughts on raising taxes “impure.”

It’s not like we’re talking about tax increases on normal, everyday Americans. Most wouldn’t pay a dime more in income taxes if Republicans in the Senate would just cave and let Democrats extend the Bush-era tax cuts for all but the wealthiest of us.

That’s who is really ‘at risk’ here—the wealthy. What constituency does Norquist think politicians are protecting by refusing to consider tax increases? It’s not one made up of very many Americans that I know.

My parents are both blue-collar workers. My dad does back-breaking labor in a shop that specializes in cleaning steel foundries, and my mom is a customer service representative at Southern Company. They make well below the $250,000 cut-off point for families specified in Obama’s tax plan.

The fact is that our government is going to flounder without new revenue. Closing loopholes in the tax code and capping deductions is a great way to start tax reform, but that effort alone won’t pull us out of the deficit we’ve achieved. If Senate Republicans don’t realize this soon, we could see the same austerity measures that have failed so abysmally over in Europe go into affect here.

11/29/2012


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