If Congressional Republicans’ goal is to convince the American people that they care about spending, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s latest tax proposal that would double the nation’s deficit over the next decade to $4 trillion is a perplexing start. A story in The Washington Post today outlines the Senate Republicans’ plan, while ironically quoting him as saying “We have a spending problem.”
And just this morning, according to another Washington Post story John Boehner caved to the wealthy special interests and flipped his position back to supporting the extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans while holding the middle class tax cuts hostage.
Instead of joining President Obama in his call to extend the middle class tax cuts to working families, to the people who need it most, McConnell and Boehner’s focus appears to be on millionaires and billionaires who aren’t asking for a tax cut. During these challenging economic times, we simply can’t afford to borrow another $700 billion over the next decade to give an average tax cut of $100,000 to Americans making over $1 million per year.
What’s clear is that Senator McConnell’s and Congressman Boehner’s plan would do absolutely nothing to grow our economy, put people back to work and strengthen America’s middle class. Instead, it would take us back to the same exact failed economic policies that created the mess we’re in: cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires; cut rules for the special interests and big corporations and cut the middle class loose to fend for itself.
As Senator McConnell said yesterday, “if we want to begin to get ourselves out of this economic trough that we're in, the only way to do that is to grow the private sector." But his solution to growing our economy is to enact tax cuts that will significantly add to our nation’s deficit over the next decade. And he pretends that it would be paid for through a projected spending freeze, but fails to mention what he would freeze or cut, or that, as The Washington Post puts it, the freeze would be only “a drop in the bucket compared with his $4 trillion-plus plan.”
And this is not the first time Mitch McConnell said one thing and did another.
After voting against the bipartisan fiscal commission – a plan he enthusiastically supported when it was introduced in Congress – McConnell was quoted on "Meet the Press" last month saying that if the plan was responsible, he would “encourage [Republican Senate] members to support it.” This is the same Senator McConnell who encouraged his caucus to vote against the fiscal commission amendment in the Senate. Unfortunately, this really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. If the Congressional Republicans have been clear about anything over the past 19 months, it’s that they’re far more interested in political games and standing up for big special interests than offering serious solutions to our nation’s problems.
The Congressional Republicans have tried very hard over the past 19 months to convince the American people that they were the only ones who could be trusted with getting spending under control and reducing the deficit. This argument was always laughable, considering these are the same people that took a budget surplus at the end of the Clinton administration and turned it into a $1.3 trillion deficit. Now we have further evidence that, despite all of their bluster about deficits and out of control spending, it’s clear that the Congressional Republicans have no plans to fix these problems and is unprepared to govern responsibly.
Dan Pfeiffer is White House Communications Director