And so it begins; Republican/Tea Party (GOTP) House Speaker John Boehner has sent a message to President Barack Obama saying that he while he shares the President’s desire to cut the deficit, he wants to pursue a much smaller $2 trillion reduction deal, and not the larger $4 trillion effort sought by the White House.
The vaunted leader of the GOTP House has flinched and round one goes to the President. And what’s the Speaker’s reasoning of asking for a lower number? The President is asking for tax increases on the top 2%, and the GOTP just can’t support that; instead, he said negotiators should focus on deficit reductions identified by a bipartisan group led by Vice President Joe Biden.
OK and what exactly does that mean? Which specific deficit reductions identified by the bipartisan group are you supporting Mr. Speaker? Cue crickets …
“The good news is, we agree on some of the big things,” President Obama said. “We agree that after a decade of racking up deficits and debt, we finally need to get our fiscal house in order. We agree that to do that, both sides are going to have to step outside their comfort zones and make some political sacrifices.”
Of course Boehner has said that the two sides were far apart.
“It’s not like there’s some imminent deal about to happen,” he said. “There are serious disagreements about how to deal with this very serious problem.”
The President’s larger plan would combine new tax revenues and significant spending reductions in large government programs.
GOTP House members are saying media reports suggesting Boehner was willing to entertain the possibility of higher tax revenues as part of a “grand bargain” that included cuts to benefit programs like Social Security and Medicare are greatly exaggerated.
“Conservatives are just not going to vote for a tax increase on this economy,” Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., said, reflecting a common view among his GOTP compadres. “It’s just not going to happen.”
So, the GOTP will refuse to endorse tax increases of any kind – especially on the wealthiest of Americans – while no doubt being more than willing to throw the elderly and the poor under the bus, and if they won’t agree to a higher deficit reduction number, and they won’t agree to tax increases on the rich, then they’ll come across as the obstructionists they are, and the President will come off the winner. There is no way for the GOTP to win this battle. If they refuse to negotiate and do raise the debt ceiling they will be painted as being unwilling to put the country before politics, and the President wins. If they do negotiate, then the President wins being seen as a leader and facilitator and again the GOTP loses; Boehner needs to decide which loss is more acceptable.