GOP demands tax cuts for rich be made permanent in fiscal cliff talks

Contrary to what we were hearing only a few hours ago, CNN’s Dana Bash, and the Washington Post, are both reporting that Republicans may now be demanding that tax cuts for the rich be made permanent as part of any fiscal cliff deal.

Dana Bash ‏@DanaBashCNN
Dem source tells me a big reason last night’s POTUS/Boehner call was tense: GOP counter included permanent extension of tax cuts for wealthy

Dana Bash ‏@DanaBashCNN
more: Dem source says gop offer of permanent tax cuts for top 2% is sign to WH that GOP “unwilling” or “unable” to cut a deal that can pass

It’s kind of amazing that we’re having a negotiation with these guys at all. The public hates the GOP offer, and they’re not terribly thrilled with the inkling that Democrats may be settle for Medicare and Social Security cuts.

What the public does like is letting the Republican tax cuts for the rich expire.

This new McClatchy poll, that Chris wrote about earlier today, is devastating to the Republicans. The only thing that the American people agree on is letting the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire:

The one thing that voters support is letting the Bush tax cuts expire as scheduled on Dec. 31 – and thus raising taxes – for individual income above $200,000 and family income above $250,000.

Voters support that 57 percent to 40 percent.

It just gets worse from there for Republicans:

Social Security via Shutterstock

Elderly couple via Shutterstock

– Voters oppose, by 59 percent to 40 percent, raising the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67. There’s a gender gap on that issue, with women more opposed to raising the age, perhaps reflecting their longer life expectancy.

– Voters oppose cutting overall spending for Medicare, by 74 percent to 23 percent.

– They oppose cutting spending for Medicaid, the program for the poor, by 70 percent to 26 percent.

– They oppose reducing the federal tax deduction for home mortgage interest, by 67 percent to 29 percent.

– They oppose eliminating the tax deduction for charitable contributions, by 69 percent to 28 percent.

“None of these things are attractive to a majority,” said Miringoff.

In other words, the two big issues being discussed – letting the tax cuts for the rich continue, and cutting Medicare, are opposed by the American people.

It gets even more interesting, albeit a mixed bag, when you look just at Republicans in the poll:

  • Of Republicans, 30% support, 68% oppose: Let Bush tax cuts expire and raise taxes on individual income above $200,000 and families above $250,000.
  • 37% support, 47% oppose: Let payroll tax cut expire.
  • 26%-68%: cut Medicare spending.
  • 33%-61%: cut Medicaid spending.
  • 44%-56%: raise Medicare age to 67.

And of course, overall the public is still on the President’s side:

According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, registered voters disapprove of Boehner’s performance during the fiscal cliff talks by more than 2 to 1, a negative rating due in large part to the lack of uniform support for him among Republicans.

In contrast, Democrats overwhelmingly approve of the way Obama is handling negotiations. Registered voters as a whole are evenly split on the president’s handling of the talks, the poll shows.

To summarize, the public at large likes letting the GOP tax cuts expire for the wealthy, and hates every other proposal being talked about.  And even Republicans hate every other proposal being talked about.

So why are we even negotiating with the Republicans on any of this?  And why are we putting Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid on the table.  Maybe it’s time we reined in actual health care costs, rather than simply limiting how much we spend on health care.  The health care reform debate was a first step, but far too few Democrats, and no Republicans, wanted to consider the public option.  Well, too bad.  You don’t get to cut my Medicare and Social Security because you weren’t willing to address the real underlying problem.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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10 Responses to “GOP demands tax cuts for rich be made permanent in fiscal cliff talks”

  1. You're To Blame says:

    Just face facts, Americans are going to finish off America; it’s already over $16T in debt, and that’s about a three-fold increase in roughly 12 years. The USSR tanked in 1991, and America appears to be headed for disaster too. But, the Americans need to blame themselves, not the politicians. The politicians are simply a reflection of you. Therefore, I wouldn’t be surprised if America becomes just a b-rate country when all is said and done.

  2. Sweetie says:

    Welcome to American New Labor.

    Prison labor, that is.

    Here’s your new friend. His name is ALEC

  3. Sweetie says:

    “Unmask! Unmask!”

    — The Shining

  4. ezpz says:

    Re your last paragraph: Yes! Actually, it was the recalcitrance of the GOP that saved us from the Grand Bargain that Obama was itching for last time around. I know many condemned the repubs for not willing to make a deal, but I was truly grateful.

  5. BeccaM says:

    My friend ‘A Reader from Colorado’ is right: The public may not be on the GOP’s side with respect to raising taxes on the rich or their opposition to letting the Bush tax cuts expire for the 1%. But neither are we on Obama’s side when it comes to these ridiculous long-term proposals to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits.

    The only Dems in alignment with most Americans are those who are holding firm in opposition to those SS/Medicare cuts and who are insisting that taxes on the rich must return at least to the pre-2001 rates. And clearly the GOP majority also doesn’t want cuts to SS/Medicare. Anybody who thinks that Obama is doing a bang-up job holding firm for the American public must not be very well informed as to what he’s actually been proposing.

    The problem is WE aren’t negotiating anything. It’s not WE at all, and not even the Dems negotiating with the GOP. After all, if it were, then why isn’t Harry Reid’s name coming up at all? Why doesn’t he have a chair at these meetings? Where is Nancy Pelosi?

    It’s President Obama, who has a center-right neo-liberal corporatist privatization agenda coupled with piddling little increases in taxes on the wealthy, negotiating with John Boehner whose entire caucus refuses to raise tax rates on the rich under any circumstances, not even by letting old cuts expire.

    Obama: “Okay, how about this? We raise rates 2% on upper income earners and we cut Social Security and Medicare.”
    Boehner: “My counter proposal is we don’t raise rates on anybody and we cut Social Security and Medicare.”

    Can’t anyone put 2 and 2 together and realize it will always be 4 — and in this case the ONE thing both Obama and Boehner are agreeing on is to cut SS/Medicare.

    Personally I hope the GOP holds firm in being unreasonable and keeps on negotiating in bad faith. Because quite frankly WE have nobody negotiating for the interests of the American people.

  6. Naja pallida says:

    Historically speaking, Republicans have been a fiscal joke since Eisenhower, and even he was the one who kicked off the trend of allowing our military to basically bloat to the point of devouring our budget. They have no interest in balancing a budget, nor reducing the deficit, they just want to have the ability to do what they want with the money, and deny money to anyone or anything they don’t like.

  7. perljammer says:

    “To summarize, the public at large likes letting the GOP tax cuts expire for the wealthy”

    That’s not what the poll question asked. The poll question asked whether the Bush tax cuts should be allowed to expire AND taxes on the wealthy increased. In other words, everybody’s taxes go up, but at the high end, they go up even more.

  8. It is laughable that Republicans call themselves fiscal conservatives when they oppose so strongly any taxes. They are fiscally irresponsible, they were under Bush and are now. Any realistic look at the deficit problem says revenue increase is needed as well as cuts. The Ryan budget balances the budget in a fantastical 30 years. What is needed from our do nothing Congress, is sanity and maturity, voting for the Nation first over mindless ideology “no new taxes”.

    My “Taking the Tea Party Republican Tax
    Pledge” is on YouTube link;

  9. Randy Riddle says:

    Two words: Hell No. I’ll be damned if I’m paying my taxes so that some billionaire can stash more money away in the Caymans.

  10. A reader in Colorado says:

    Then the public appears to be confused, since Obama appears to be offering these very publicly unpalatable things to Republicans in exchange for a cookie (A mere 2% tax increase on the wealthiest Americans is a cookie).

    Just last week we were treated to a narrative of “Obama’s not negotiating with himself anymore” (that’s a laugh now, isn’t it?). It sure seems like he’s talking himself into an increase in the Medicare eligibility age increase and halving the tax increase on the wealthy – both, very unpopular, it seems.

    So, why would he do this with the public behind him on holding firm against these Republican plunders? I mean, if he really wanted to be across from the Republicans on the other side of the poker table.

    The only thing that makes sense with Obama floating these various surrenders, again, is that he’s not playing across the table from Republicans, he’s looking to give away the store while appearing to oppose Republicans and is, like Republicans, playing across the table from the poor and the middle class while trying to hoodwink them.

    Otherwise, why do it? There is only one reason that makes sense – only one, which is, Obama and many Democrats want to shaft the public as badly as Republicans do, they just don’t want to be seen to want it.

    If Obama persists, this is not mysterious in any way. It’s not an inscrutable head-scratcher.

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