Monday, February 13, 2012

What's Behind This New Budget Fight

Recently, Bruce Springsteen released his new single, "We Take Care of Our Own". And just last week, President Obama announced this song will be part of his reelection campaign's playlist.

And interestingly enough, one won't just hear this song on the campaign trail. In a way, the spirit of this song can also be found in the President's new ten year budget plan.

In his 10 year budget, set to be released to the public late Monday morning, Obama will advocate a series of tax and spending policies that emphasize near-term economic growth, long term investments in education and research, an enduring social safety net, and over a trillion dollars in new revenue over 10 years taken from wealthy individuals and corporations, based on tax reforms that enshrine the so-called “Buffett rule.”

The document is intended to stand as a moderately progressive alternative to the infamous budget House Republicans adopted overwhelmingly last spring — and are set to readopt with some tweaks later this year. That budget calls for reducing taxes on high-income Americans, and for filling the revenue hole by slashing or phasing out key support programs — most notably Medicare.

Even though all the key elements of Obama's budget are strongly popular with Americans, Congressional Republicans are already vowing to fight all of it tooth and nail. Of course, they also want to resurrect at least the bulk of Paul Ryan's extreme Medicare-destroying budget that would also slash to death other parts of America's social safety net, such as Medicaid and student aid. Even though "The Ryan Plan" would do absolutely nothing to reduce the federal budget deficit, the House G-O-TEA faction looks to be mostly doubling down on this nonsense.

For Congressional Republicans, this is just another effort to prove to their "TEA" (party) infused base that they don't care about poor people while they do care about opposing anything and everything President Obama proposes. That's all this is about. They're playing raw primary politics. They're worried about the "enthusiasm gap" now plaguing their party, so Republicans are willing to pull the budget brinksmanship card yet again to get the "tea party" base revved up and behind them (and avoid more primary challenges).

Oh, and don't forget the G-O-TEA's BFFs on Wall Street. The big financial firms are set to spend record amounts of money in this next election, and G-O-TEA leadership expects the big Wall Street firms to "make it rain" on its candidates. Of course before that happens, the big Wall Street firms expect Congressional Republicans to continue delivering on obstructing financial regulatory reform and progressive tax reform before asking for more campaign donations and supportive Super PAC formations.

So basically, this may be 2011 Budget Battle Royale redux... Except that President Obama has already wizened up to the G-O-TEA games, and that the American public is getting sick and tired of Congress doing nothing to help improve the economy. And remember, this is an election year. This time if/when Republicans in Congress yet again threaten to blow up the federal government over ridiculous pandering to the radical right, they will face consequences this fall. And even though President Obama's budget plan may not be implemented this year, it's still important to let Americans know his vision and give voters a clear choice for November.

No comments:

Post a Comment