I wrote yesterday how some GOP lawmakers were announcing their willingness to abandon the “no new tax” pledge they made to Grover Norquist. Most, if not all, of them said they would consider compromising on taxes and new revenue, only if serious entitlement reform was part of any package agreed to by both parties. Clearly, the pressure is on the Republicans to compromise their hardline stance on raising taxes, with no mention of cutting spending. President Obama announced yesterday that he wanted to prevent Republicans from ruining Christmas for the middle class. That is what would happen, said the President, if Republicans refused to budge on taxes. One would almost think he was still running for President. Maybe someone needs to tell him the election is over. At any rate, the campaign of rhetoric continues to grow, as every available ounce of pressure is brought to bear on the Republicans in Congress.
As a way of doing that, the labor unions have organized a visit to Capitol Hill by their members. Hundreds of them are scheduled to meet with Democratic lawmakers, hoping to help them stiffen their resolve.
(The Hill) Union members from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the National Education Association (NEA) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) will also be on Capitol Hill this week to lobby lawmakers.
During their lobbying visits, union members will have an open letter sent to Congress from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
The head of the nation’s largest labor federation cites this month’s election results — specifically Mitt Romney’s loss to President Obama — as reason not to cut into entitlement programs or keep tax cuts for the country’s wealthy.
“We just had an election in which one candidate proposed to lower tax rates for the richest 2% of Americans and cut benefits for Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare. He lost,” Trumka says in the letter. “We ask you to respect the will of the voters and promise to (1) let Bush tax rates for the richest 2% of Americans expire in December and (2) oppose benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid.”
From the tone of Trumka’s letter, as well as what the union members are expected to tell their fellow Democrats, I think it’s pretty clear where this is all headed. Couple that with the campaign of rhetoric President Obama is using to put pressure on Republicans, and I am sure of it. Nowhere do you hear serious mention or discussion of spending reform coming out of their mouths. Their baseline argument starts and ends with one issue: Republicans need to compromise on taxes and raise them on the wealthiest Americans. Here is a portion of the open letter President Obama used to lay out his case.
(Fox News) “Stop holding the middle class and our economy hostage over a disagreement on tax cuts,” the letter states, as Congress returns to Washington this week to try to reach a deal that would avert the $500 billion mix of tax increases and budget cuts set to take effect in early January.
Respectfully, I disagree with the President and vehemently object to the rhetoric he is using. He is portraying the upcoming negotiations as all about keeping taxes lower on the middle class. He likes to come across as their savior, but the reality is much different. Let’s turn it around on him and ask him to explain why he is willing to stand his ground and allow taxes to go up for the middle class, unless he gets his way on tax hikes for the 2% of Americans who make over $250,000 per year? Is that not a legitimate question, just as much as the question he is posing to Republicans? Again, I ask you to look at his words. His main argument is raising taxes on the wealthy. He seldom mentions spending reform, and then only in passing.
The rhetoric being used by the President, and the visits to Capitol Hill by union members highlight one thing. They have no real intention of compromising on spending and entitlement reform. They are focused on one thing, raising taxes. Unless that changes, any failure to reach a compromise rests squarely on their shoulders.