It's been the GOP's dominant meme after the 2010 midterm elections: cut government spending dramatically and endlessly cut taxes for the rich and corporations. They preach day after day that that's the only true job creation scheme in which America should consider. They mask it with hazy words that cover up their real intentions like their latest bogus con called the "Cut, Cap and Balance" constitutional amendment. Frank Luntz must be proud to see that one phrase repeated over and over again no matter what further destruction and harm will come to the 98% of working Americans.
Now as Labor Day approaches, Republicans are making it plain that they will not support extending the payroll tax holiday that will be proposed again by President Obama. Never mind that they had earlier called for it and it is in and of itself a Republican idea. The AP got a headline right for a change:
GOP may OK tax increase that Obama hopes to block
News flash: Congressional Republicans want to raise your taxes. Impossible, right? GOP lawmakers are so virulently anti-tax, surely they will fight to prevent a payroll tax increase on virtually every wage-earner starting Jan. 1, right? Apparently not.
Many of the same Republicans who fought hammer-and-tong to keep the George W. Bush-era income tax cuts from expiring on schedule are now saying a different "temporary" tax cut should end as planned. By their own definition, that amounts to a tax increase.
The tax break extension they oppose is sought by President Barack Obama. Unlike proposed changes in the income tax, this policy helps the 46 percent of all Americans who owe no federal income taxes but who pay a "payroll tax" on practically every dime they earn.
There are other differences as well, and Republicans say their stand is consistent with their goal of long-term tax policies that will spur employment and lend greater certainty to the economy.
And what's the new rationale for the opposition?
"It's always a net positive to let taxpayers keep more of what they earn," says Rep. Jeb Hensarling, "but not all tax relief is created equal for the purposes of helping to get the economy moving again." The Texas lawmaker is on the House GOP leadership team.
Say, what? On Friday, I caught Haley Barbour counting Karl Rove and other conservatives as being part of the "liberal media" who attack Christian politicians like Rick Perry. If that's not Bizarro-world enough, now we have a new definition of what tax cuts are out. It's a brave new world out there in GOPuniverse. It used to be that journalists beat this behavior down, but not really any longer. They've thrown good journalistic techniques aside for the much easier BSDI brand of reporting. (Both sides do it.) I was encouraged that the AP got it right in this instance. Let's see what happens as the speech approaches and passes. And let's face it, the Republicans have been getting away with so much since the madness of the August town halls on HCR that they probably will get away with it with the Villagers' help. After watching David Axlerod on ABC Sunday, are you fired up about moving forward?
I'd laugh if I I didn't think they will get away with it. After all, nobody's making a coherent case for anything so why should they even try to make sense? Axelrod called them hypocrites, which I'm sure was very painful for them to hear. But in the end, we're left with an argument between Democrats as to which tax cuts are preferable at the same time they are both saying the looming deficit is the greatest threat the world has ever known. And Democrats are complicating this even more by insisting that we also must "invest" for the future. I think they'll have to forgive the average person for not understand what the hell they are all going on about.
And as for the inevitable critics who say that I'm being cruel and unfeeling by saying that Republicans don't care about the pain of the average person, get a load of this:
Republicans are also pushing back on Obama's plan to extend emergency unemployment benefits. Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-Va.) said on Sunday that, while he would "consider" supporting the payroll tax cuts, he is less enthusiastic about unemployment insurance.
"I don't think that creates jobs," he said on CNN's "State of the Union." "It lessens the pain. The problem is we need to have things that create jobs, not just promote benefits for people that are not working."
The last thing you'd want to do is "lessen the pain" of the American people. Makes 'em weak. Maybe we could institute a prospective tax for these lazy malcontents, in which we bill them later for taxes they should have been paying when they were unemployed. It's the least they can do to repay the largesse bestowed upon them by the job producers who are being asked to pay taxes even though they feel oh-so-uncertain about the future.
Charles Krauthammer is outraged when Obama tells Americans that Republicans are bad faith player. What they did on the debt ceiling cost this country a lot. I guess the truth does hurt Krauthammer after all.