Most people have, at some point in their life experience, had the difficult experience of interacting with disagreeable, discontent, needy, and wanting human beings, and if they are little children, one can make allowances for unsatisfactory behavior. However, when adults cannot find satisfaction in any situation they lack total control, there is little room for tolerance and understanding. House Speaker John Boehner and his recalcitrant Republican cohort are the epitome of spoiled malcontents, and if that is their behavior at home, one feels sympathy for their families, but as legislators elected to govern, their behavior is trying the American peoples’ patience. For the past four years, Republicans have obstructed and rejected any proposal from President Obama, and yesterday the President finally pointed out that the GOP keeps “finding ways to say no rather than yes” and there is little secret their opposition is founded in antipathy for the President.
The President called on congressional Republicans to accept his latest fiscal cliff deal because he believes the two sides are close to the grand bargain they have sought for two years, and it is senseless to abandon the deal now. During a news conference yesterday the President said the main obstacle to an agreement is opposition to him, and that “At some point they’ve got to take me out of it and think about what’s best for the voters. And do that.” The President is not telling voters anything they are not already aware of, but it was important for him to point out that regardless the concessions and compromises he has made over the past four years to benefit the people, Republicans are never content. The latest offer from the President to reduce the deficit using a balanced approach is a plan Republicans could accept if they had any regard for the country and the people, but that is the problem with opposition for opposition’s sake; due regard goes out the window. President Obama said, “I think anybody who looks at this objectively would say that coming off my election, I have met them at least halfway in order to get something done for the country,” and noted that “any objective person out there looking would say that we put forward a very balanced plan, and it’s time for us to go ahead and get it done.”
Speaker Boehner, for his part, responded to the President’s proposal saying, “I hope the president will get serious soon about providing and working with us on a balanced approach,” and then predicted his so-called “Plan B” proposal would pass the House. Boehner’s “plan B” is an absurd offer, and epitomizes the past four years’ obstinacy to protect the rich and level some serious financial damage on the poor, middle class, and elderly; a typically Republican maneuver. Besides eliminating middle class exemptions, Boehner’s plan would not restore limits on exemptions and deductions that were eliminated during the Bush administration, preserve big tax cuts for millionaires while letting taxes go up for 25 million middle-class families and many businesses, and according to the bipartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, Plan B would increase the national debt by $4.1 trillion over the next decade. The President’s proposal reduces the deficit by about $4 trillion over the next decade and includes infrastructure spending, maintains middle class exemptions, and extends unemployment benefits for millions of Americans.
However, it is not nearly enough for conservatives who want more spending cuts, but not the massive fiscal cliff reductions scheduled to take effect next year, but Boehner’s Plan B keeps those automatic cuts in place. One of the Republican opponents of Boehner’s plan, Rep. Paul C. Broun said, “We’ve just got to stop the spending in Washington, and having a bill that doesn’t deal with the real problem, which is outrageous spending, is not the way to go,” and it leads one to wonder just how much austerity will satisfy Republicans who are still intent cutting spending to the bone while fighting to protect the rich. It is not as if Boehner’s limited proposal wouldn’t be a major hit on the economy; besides the tax increases on the middle class, jobless benefits would expire, payroll taxes increase, physicians would see a sharp drop in Medicare reimbursements, and federal agencies would see a $100 billion in across-the-board cuts, but at least Boehner and Republicans could say they opposed the President, and it appears that is their prime directive.
Republicans are ending President Obama’s first term the way they started, and it portends a contentious second term at best. It is the same set of tired proposals the voters rejected in the last election, and it uses the same motivation to punish the American people; GOP antipathy for the President. There is no chance Boehner’s Plan B will ever be enacted, and IT is another sign that Republicans are willing to let the economy go over the fiscal cliff unless they get their way. President Obama gave the Republicans a balanced approach that, like he said, was painful for everyone, but necessary to achieve what the people demanded; a compromise. However, compromise is the last thing one expects when common sense is replaced by saying no for the sake of opposition, and burdening the poor, middle class, and elderly to protect the rich while increasing the deficit? That is just the Republican way.