Gang of Six criticism is more intense off the Hill, with several of the nation’s most powerful union groups laying down crisp lines in the sand over elements they consider non-negotiable, such as ending tax cuts for the richest Americans.
“Any plan to reduce the deficit that does not include ending the Bush tax cuts — a clear contributor to the deficit — is not a serious plan,” said Michelle Nawar, Director for Legislation at the Service Employees. “Every middle class family should be offended if Congress calls on them to bear the burden for reducing a deficit they did not cause while continuing to handout more tax giveaways to millionaires and corporations. We’ll see what the Gang of Six proposes, but how could any Democrat support a plan that cuts needed services for seniors and children while continuing these expensive tax giveaways?”
Nawar’s question presumably extends to Obama, who has punted once on letting the Bush tax rates for the wealthy expire (they will now lapse at the end of 2012).
Keep in mind that Senator Durbin, one of the gang of six, said that their proposal will be to the right of Obama’s:
“You have the House Republican budget from Congressman Paul Ryan, who I know and like, which is going to be placed somewhere on the right side of the spectrum. You have the president’s suggestion, which will be on the other side of the spectrum. And if and when we reach an agreement, it will be in the middle, a bipartisan effort, which I think has a chance to succeed,” Durbin said in an interview for ABC News’ “Subway Series.”
That means whatever evolves will be closer to the plan proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan. Then, wait til the negotiations begin. We’ve seen repeatedly that our President and his team really don’t know how to negotiate.
Another dangerous idea gaining traction on the Hill is a mandatory spending cap, which has been proposed by Senators Corker (R-TN) and McCaskill (D-MO). My Hill sources tell me that Republicans plan to push this as part of the negotiations over the debt limit (yes, they’re still paying politics with the debt limit.) Any proposal that focuses solely on spending caps is really a back door way of agreeing to the Ryan/House GOP plan. A spending cap would ultimately lead to massive cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. And, it would mean reducing deficit by spending cuts alone, not increasing revenue. Too many of the very smart people in DC seem to ignore the concept of raising revenue (that would mean a tax increase for most of them.)
NOTE FROM JOHN: As we posted previously, ending the Bush tax cuts would solve 75% of the deficit over the next five years, and 40% of the deficit over the next twenty years. This single Republican demand is causing between half to three-quarters of the entire deficit.