Friday, November 25, 2011

“Have they gone nuts in Washington?”

David Gergen
David Gergen, senior political analyst with CNN, said it with gusto evidenced by the content of his commentary.  He says this kind of political jockeying has been with us since the beginnings of this nation, but political leaders in the past have been able to work out compromises.  Our ‘leaders’ of today, however, have tossed aside the wisdom of the Founders.”  To most of us, it would appear that they have completely abandoned the clear thinking approach to government for the more trendy partisan fanaticism of left and right.

What they have really abandoned is the American public in favor of Tea Party wackos and a Grover Norquist stand on absolutely no tax increases.  Some Democrats are at fault as well for not realizing there will have to be some painful, perhaps deep, cuts to domestic entitlement programs.

Gergen, who has worked with a number of presidents and has been a political analyst for several years, says the GOP wants federal spending cuts without raising any taxes.  On the other hand, Dems claim the rich have increased their wealth on the backs of the “99%” and should be taxed as a beginning to righting the ship. 

And yes, the White House has been severely lacking in its leadership on this issue by remaining seemingly either resigned to defeat, or not able to come up with the aggressive strategy to prevail.  White House Secretary Jay Carney’s reply to this is that the responsibility for doing a deal belongs to Congress, not the White House.

But a CNN/ORC poll asserts there is an explanation to the Super Committee’s failure.  Although most Americans agree on increasing taxes on the rich and major cuts in domestic spending programs, there is definitely a partisan divide that stands in the way of the committee’s decision.  Two-thirds of the public wants increased taxes on high-income Americans and businesses, 32 percent don’t.  However, Republicans oppose tax increases by 59 percent to 39 percent, and Democrats are against spending cuts by 57 percent to 42 percent.

Grover Norquist fantasy
 When it comes to Independents who are critical to the 2012 elections, a whopping 70 percent are for taxing the wealthy and corporations, but also want major cuts to domestic spending.  It would seem most everyone is against raising taxes on the middle class, 60 percent don’t want major cuts in military spending, and 57 percent oppose any major changes to entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

And there are yet other important issues that must be dealt with.  There are pressing deadlines on extending the payroll tax at a cost of over $110 billion.  A temporary extension of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed costing $55 billion with an added $130 billion for the minimum tax cost.  Canceling doctors’ Medicare fees cuts will cost another $30 billion.

Members of Super Committee
Put the blame on…who?  Neither side wins a popularity contest but the GOP leadership in Congress approval ratings have fallen even further to 21 percent.  The Democratic leadership approval also dropped but remains at a higher 29 percent.  The general consensus is that a plurality of the American public will blame Republicans more than Democrats for the failure of the Super Committee.

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