I've been re-watching the Sunday talk shows again. A segment on CBS's Face The Nation, featuring a panel discussion of Ben Bernake's made-up term, the 'fiscal cliff,' left me asking myself if they thought Republicans won the election, and now had a mandate over President Obama on tax increases? Every time I turn on a program it's slanted one way and one way only: Tax reform will appease Tea Party obstructionists in Congress.
That was Mitt Romney's losing position. My God, shoot me. America just had a two-year election cycle that clearly defined raising taxes on the rich and raising revenues to help this country, along with protecting Medicare and Social Security from Paul Ryan. And we're still talking as though the only solutions at hand are the right-wing crap the losers were peddling?
Senator Patty Murray is being attacked by the boneheaded conservative media for saying this:
We just had an election where President Obama ran on that. We increased our majority in the senate with Democratic candidates who said that so solve this problem the wealthiest Americans have to pay their fair share, too.
So if the Republicans will not agree with that, we will reach a point at the end of this year where all the tax cuts expire and we'll start over next year. And whatever we do will be a tax cut for whatever package we put together. That may be the way to get past this.
That's not controversial, or shouldn't be. It's simple common sense. But then, there's nothing sensible about Republican politics these days.
Digby observes the following, after witnessing a similar discussion on CNN also featuring David Gergen:
This is why, my friends, we can't have a nice country. Our top opinion leaders are caught in a feedback loop of misinformation, delusion and self-interest. We just had an election and nobody voted for the president because they wanted to cut vital programs. But that's what everyone says has to happen right now in a lame duck session because congress and the White House over two administrations passed some laws and made some agreements that are all expiring and they are treating those expiration dates as if they were handed down by Moses and can only be fixed if we slash debt immediately. That's nonsense from beginning to end.
I dare you. Find a show and tune in to the Villagers trying to decide our economic fate. Every one will have some form of this discussion on Face the Nation, which was kind of a classic of its kind:
DAVID GERGEN: You can extend it. But, look, the Washington Post on its editorial today pointed out that you can keep tax rates exactly where they are, limit deductions to fifty thousand dollars and you would raise as much basically as you would raise by increasing rates on the wealthy. And that-- that would be a fair compromise, as long as it's accompanied by entitlement reform.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But wouldn't that mean that the President would then be willing to extend tax cuts for the wealthy?
DAVID GERGEN: But at that rate. But with the understanding, it's got to be tied to actual reform. And that's the trick, how do you-- what's the trigger mechanism.
PEGGY NOONAN: And through tax reform they would also be making our impossible, ridiculous tax code more coherent, more efficient, more helpful, which a lot of people would like.
Tax reform, tax reform, tax reform, tax reform. Oy. I'm not saying don't do any tax reforms or simplifying the tax code within the structure of any deal, but it's not the Holy Grail. Well, maybe for conservatives it is.
How about we get the economy rolling again, and balance the budget by pumping up the revenues, eh? That means making the wealthy pay their fair share, narrowing instead of widening the gap between rich and poor in America, and getting more of the national wealth in the hands of more people. Not very Randian -- but it's perfectly American.
(Full transcript below the fold)