Right when we were all ready to be pleasantly surprised that the payroll tax cut extension would pass Congress without further shenanigans, came today’s ugly bombshell from the House Republican leadership. After Republicans had already managed to strip the “Millionaires’ surtax” from the version that just passed the Senate, Congressman John Boehner disingenuously invented outrage about the Democrats’ compromise to have the tax cut last only 2 months before requiring further Congressional action (something that Congressman Boehner didn’t seem to mind during the debt ceiling kerfuffle that he also invented). His goal is clearly to leverage further concessions from Democrats, just to allow them to pass this single modest tax cut, all the while protecting the richest and ensuring that the economy will not recover before the presidential election.
So, to put together this whole outrageous saga, Democrats gave away concession after concession for the privilege of giving Republicans a tax cut they themselves would have demanded only two years ago.
Republicans got what they wanted: no new taxes for the richest of the richest Americans at a time when nearly half of the country is living in poverty or with low income. And very little that will actually help the economy, which is apparently great for Republicans because it hurts the President’s re-election chances.
This latest outrage should remove all doubt: it is hardly the Democrats who are responsible for today’s unprecedented gridlock in Washington. It’s time to boot the obstructionist Tea Partiers.