|To drive this point home House minority leader Nancy Pelosi announced that House Democrats would circulate a discharge petition to try to force a vote on extending the lower tax rates to all Americans making less than $250,000:
"We're calling upon the Republican leadership in the House to bring this legislation to the floor next week," Pelosi said Friday during a press briefing in the Capitol. "We believe that not doing that would be holding middle-income tax cuts hostage to tax cuts for the rich - tax cuts for the rich which do not create jobs, just increase the deficit, heaping mountains of debt on future generations.
"So to that end - if there's no announcement of scheduling of the middle-income tax cut," she added, "then on Tuesday we will be introducing a discharge petition."
The Senate has already approved the extension, but Republicans are objecting because they want all of the Bush-era rates to be extended, including on income above $250,000.
However, Republicans are refusing to budge. They insist on holding tax cuts for working Americans hostage to insure that the very wealthy will once again get a free pass. Instead of asking for sacrifice from the very people who have distributed our nation's wealth upwards to themselves, they seek to gut programs and entitlements that Americans from all walks of life depend upon and have earned:
Republicans argue too much focus is on tax rates and not enough attention is being paid to cutting spending and reforming entitlements that they say are the main drivers of the deficit. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other Republican leaders criticized a White House proposal this week that included $1.6 trillion in new taxes and $400 billion in spending cuts.
Their goal is simple:
Republicans reject the idea of extending the Bush-era tax rates only on annual incomes below $250,000, insisting instead that the lower rates remain in place for all income levels.
In other words Republicans are continuing their war against working Americans and are showing you just how much utter disgust they hold you in. They will hold your tax cuts hostage and shamelessly circumvent the will of the American people shown in the last election to try and balance the budget on your back as punishment for voting against their failed vision.
Paul Krugman sums up how they do this a lot better than I can:
The answer, as I have already suggested, is to rely on stealth - to smuggle in plutocrat-friendly policies under the pretense that they're just sensible responses to the budget deficit.
Consider, as a prime example, the push to raise the retirement age, the age of eligibility for Medicare, or both. This is only reasonable, we're told - after all, life expectancy has risen, so shouldn't we all retire later? In reality, however, it would be a hugely regressive policy change, imposing severe burdens on lower- and middle-income Americans while barely affecting the wealthy. Why? First of all, the increase in life expectancy is concentrated among the affluent; why should janitors have to retire later because lawyers are living longer? Second, both Social Security and Medicare are much more important, relative to income, to less-affluent Americans, so delaying their availability would be a far more severe hit to ordinary families than to the top 1 percent.
Or take a subtler example, the insistence that any revenue increases should come from limiting deductions rather than from higher tax rates. The key thing to realize here is that the math just doesn't work; there is, in fact, no way limits on deductions can raise as much revenue from the wealthy as you can get simply by letting the relevant parts of the Bush-era tax cuts expire. So any proposal to avoid a rate increase is, whatever its proponents may say, a proposal that we let the 1 percent off the hook and shift the burden, one way or another, to the middle class or the poor.
In other words Americans not only should not be brainwashed into believing that these huge tax cuts for the rich are something they deserve to keep, but they should not be tricked into believing they were something that should have happened to begin with. These tax cuts have increased income inequality, contributed greatly to the economic crash and have skyrocketed our deficit. They are not some bargaining chip or concession for Republicans because they never should have been enacted.
The sole Republican goal is to slash government programs and gut Social Security and Medicare. Period. They have been trying to do it for a long time now and they feel these deficit and debt ceiling negotiations have given them the opportunity.
It is up to all of us now to let them know that we will not let them win the decisive battle in the war they started against all of us some thirty years ago.