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NBC's resident pain and austerity cheerleader, David "Fluffy" Gregory, invited former bartender and current House Speaker, John "Orange Julius" Boehner to sit down with him yesterday on Meet the Press.
Gregory managed to get off a few good questions.........
Gregory: As we sit here Friday afternoon, you've emerged from a meeting at the White House. There is no deal. Take me inside the room. What happened?
Boehner: I had asked the president and Senator Reid to come with a plan to replace the sequester. Now listen, we've known about this for 16 months. And yet even today, there's no plan from Senate Democrats or the White House to replace the sequester.
Gregory: But Mr. Speaker that's just not true. They've made it very clearly, as the president just did, that he has a plan that he's put forward that involves entitlement cuts, that involves spending cuts, that you've made a choice as have Republicans to leave tax loopholes in place. And you'd rather have those and live with all these arbitrary cuts...
Boehner: Well, David that's just nonsense. If he had a plan, why wouldn't Senate Democrats go ahead and pass it?
I have the answer to Boehner's rhetorical question. The Senate filibuster. Senate Democrats, who have a healthy majority but not 60 Democrats to break filibusters by Senate Republicans, can't really pass ANYTHING in the Senate without Republican cooperation. Remember....the minority rules.
Boehner knows that Republicans in the Senate will not permit a vote on replacing the sequester with less destructive deficit reduction. But Boehner ignores all of that, and morphs Republican obstructionism into an Orwellian, 'the president doesn't have a plan.'
Obama's $1.5 trillion plan to replace the sequester calls for about $400 billion in savings from health-care entitlement programs, $200 billion in discretionary spending cuts, and $200 billion in savings from mandatory programs (other than health care), including farm subsidies. On the tax revenue side, his main goal is to reap $580 billion from closing tax breaks for wealthy households. Interest on the debt would go down as a result of those changes.
You see, to minority-rule Republicans, even if Obama DOES have a plan to replace the sequester....Obama still does not have a plan to replace the sequester. Why? Because 1) House Republicans won't entertain any such plan and 2) Senate Republicans will filibuster any such plan. See? No Obama plan to replace the sequester can exist in minority-rule Republican world....even one that does exist. Crazy....but true.
Republicans wanted the sequester as written because it will cause economic damage to the nation leading up to the 2014 midterms. Not devastating damage mind you...but just enough to tick GDP growth downward by .6%, and put some 750,000 more American people out of their jobs. That damage is politically advantageous for Republicans, or at least they think so, because GOP campaign ads next year can feature the damaged economy that Republicans helped to create....and blame Obama and the Democrats for that damage. Hey, Democrats are in charge, right? Republicans are just the minority.
Now that Republicans have built in economic damage leading up to the midterms....what's next for the minority-rules party? Boehner was explicit...
Boehner: "I want tax reform. Republicans want tax reform. We want to bring rates down for all Americans so that we've got a fairer tax code."
"....we've got to find a way through our tax code to promote more economic growth in our country. We can do this by closing loopholes, bringing the rates down for all Americans, making the tax code fairer. It will promote more economic growth."
There it is. The one trick GOP-pony solution to all national economic problems. Voodoo economics. Lower tax rates on those who have the most. Sure, there would be a bone thrown to the masses in Boehner's tax reform....even if it was a very tiny bone....but the objective, the purpose, the end game is to lower taxes on the alleged "job creators." Doing so, according to Voodoo John and the House Rockers, will...."promote economic growth."
When Republicans speak about messaging, their message, making sure their message is heard.....that is the message they are talking about. Cutting taxes on alleged "job creators" will result in "economic growth." That message is bogus. But that's all the GOP has.
For discussion purposes......let's hypothetically consent to canceling all tax responsibilities on those who are in the top 1% ($1.4 million or more per year). Further, let's also assume that corporate tax rates are zeroed out. No more taxes....none....on the alleged "job creators."
1)Would consumer demand improve? If so, how?
2)Would employment improve? If so, why?
If the answer to 1 and 2 is....no.....why do it?
Boehner didn't have the answers. And neither does anyone else in the conservative line-up. Giving upper class earners tax breaks will not stimulate consumer demand....and without increasing consumer demand, there is no "economic growth."
The minority that rules over us, that insists that only their voodoo-economic policies will be given an up or down vote, does not care one whit if there is zero evidence that voodoo, trickle down economics, works. Why would the minority care? They're the minority.....it's the majority who'll get targeted with the blame when the voodoo fails.