Monday, December 19, 2011

House Speaker Boehner freaks out on payroll tax cut. Is Tea Party to blame?

Speaker John Boener
 It was a slam dunk with a vote in the Senate of 89 to 10 to pass the two-month extension on the payroll tax cut and jobless benefits, also including a deal on the Keystone XL pipeline.  But House Speaker Boehner caved to the Republican caucus that Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer described as “…a small group at the extremetry to dictate every move this nation makes.”  This sounds like Tea Party extremists to me, and once again Boehner has reneged on an agreement.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor
Everyone involved agreed it wasn’t the best and should have instead been a plan to carry these programs through for a full year.  But Boehner had earlier left it to Senate leaders to come up with a deal, one that even Republican Mitch McConnell was in favor of.  But conservative extremists, apparently led by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, turned their wrath on Boehner who once again changed his mind and went with the flow.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Schumer question Boehner and the GOP’s ability to lead.

Reid has said repeatedly that the Dems. have supported the two-month deal because “that was the best we could get.”  A statement that seems to reflect a combination of the willingness to negotiate with Republicans—completely contrary to the latter’s refusal to raise taxes—and some degree of weakness that must be turned around soon if progressives are to win control of this country.  It has to start from the top down and we haven’t seen much of that from President Obama.

It is also clear that the GOP is insisting on including the pipeline issue in any payroll tax legislation because they back the oil industry as is the case with any big business.  This, even though there is some credible concern by environmentalists and the state of Nebraska where the pipeline is scheduled to cross.  But politics aside, it is incomprehensible that conservatives would make this demand in light of its opposition possibly scuttling the passage of the whole payroll tax bill, just to support the corporate world.


So what can you expect if the payroll tax bill is not passed?  A cancellation of the program means that individuals will pay from $700 with a salary of $35,000 to $2,341 if you earn $110,000 and up, the maximum.  But there are some questions re. just how much a continuation will spur the economy.  There are those who believe, because it takes such a broad sweep in income, there is not enough emphasis on low and middle-income households which are most likely to do the most spending in the marketplace.

But this whole fiasco is just another example of a dysfunctional government that has now taken on a life of its own.  These morons in Congress walk around in a state of denial, in delusions of grandeur actually believing what they are doing is right.  Power is king and being reelected the only goal of their actions.  However, if they think this goes unnoticed, the Pew Research Center shows discontent with Congress at record levels.  Right now two-thirds of voters believe lawmakers should be voted out of office in 2012.  Amen!

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