Has anyone told the Republicans in Congress that there is an election coming up in 2012? If so, would one not assume they want to win said election? Again, assuming that is the case and they do want to win next November, why are they acting like a bunch of newcomers to the game we fondly call Washington politics? Let me be clear, I do not approve of the two-month extension of the payroll tax cut. If we are going to go that route, it should be for at least a year at a time. We have had quite enough of kicking the can down the road, thank you very much.
Personally, I would just as soon see the tax cut expire, as I think it provides very little economic boost. It is, and always has been, a political ploy by President Obama to portray himself as a tax cutter. He who will be enacting one of the largest tax increases in American history in 2013, when his signature Obamacare begins taking more and more effect. He who has been lecturing Americans for weeks and months about how the rich need to pay their fair share. He of the party that wanted to pay for the payroll tax cut with a surcharge on millionaires. Yes, he’s the one.
The Republicans in Congress have allowed this President and his party to out-maneuver them at every turn. They have allowed them to manipulate the facts, to frame the debate. It doesn’t help that the media is falling all over themselves to make sure the rest of America knows the Republicans hate the middle class and are only looking to help the rich. If one didn’t know better, one would think the Republicans are the scourge of the earth. In reality, they are not, but that hasn’t kept them from losing political ground to a President and a party when they should have been gaining ground.
There is no reason in the world the Republicans should be losing the battle over the payroll tax cut. They have the high ground, the moral ground. Their’s is the correct position to hold. They are right to ask the two prevailing questions about the issue at hand. Why should they only extend it for two months and should it be extended at all. They are correct to state that it provides little to no economic boost. They are correct to point out that it is taking money from the Social Security trust fund, in that the tax being cut is the tax that is used to populate said trust fund.
At the risk of incurring the wrath of some of my readers, I am not fond of the job our Republican leaders have been doing in Washington. No one said it was going to be easy, but John Boehner and Mitch McConnell have not been doing a bang-up job of leading the Republicans in Congress. It was because of McConnell that we have the two-month extension that was passed by the Senate. The Democrats thought they had this one in the bag, until John Boehner found out his rank and file members were not going to go along to get along. That’s not entirely Boehner’s fault, but it is what it is. Really, it doesn’t matter how right the Republicans are on the issues, they are still losing the battle of public opinion. I don’t like that idea, but again, it is what it is. The Republicans need to get a handle on this, otherwise they are going to lose even more political ground to the Democrats, ground they can ill afford to lose.
So much for Christmas being a time of joy and wonder. All I am seeing right now is a great deal of bah, humbug.
UPDATE: As of late this afternoon, it appears the Republicans in the House of Representatives have reached an agreement with the Democrats to extend the payroll tax cut for two months. Here is the statement from Speaker John Boehner, courtesy of Jamie Dupree.
“Senator Reid and I have reached an agreement that will ensure taxes do not increase for working families on January 1 while ensuring that a complex new reporting burden is not unintentionally imposed on small business job creators. Under the terms of our agreement, a new bill will be approved by the House that reflects the bipartisan agreement in the Senate along with new language that allows job creators to process and withhold payroll taxation under the same accounting structure that is currently in place. The Senate will join the House in immediately appointing conferees, with instructions to reach agreement in the weeks ahead on a full-year payroll tax extension. We will ask the House and Senate to approve this agreement by unanimous consent before Christmas. I thank our Members – particularly those who have remained here in the Capitol with the holidays approaching – for their efforts to enact a full-year extension of the payroll tax cut for working families.”