Bernie Sanders went on MSNBC today, and laid the blame for the fiscal cliff right at the feet of John Boehner and his extremist House Republicans.
Here is the video:
Sanders said, “I think we have a reasonable chance to get a short term fix through the Senate. The problem that Boehner will have in the House is that his caucus is dominated by right wing extremists who are very hesitant, who do everything they can to prevent the wealthiest people in this country and the largest corporations from paying a nickel more in taxes. But I think if it goes to the House, and if the Democrats remain strong, and you get 20 or 30 Republicans, you can probably prevent the tax hike for ninety eight percent for the American people and the other dealing with the crisis of two million American workers losing their unemployment benefits and other short term issues. So I am cautiously optimistic we can get something through the Senate, we’ll see what Boehner can do with his right wing friends.”
Guest host TJ Holmes asked Sen. Sanders if this is all of Congress’ problem. Sen. Sanders answered with the facts, “Not quite so simple as that. The bottom line here, as I think most Americans know, the House is dominated by right wing extremists, and that’s Boehner’s challenge. These are folks who want to protect, despite a $16 trillion national debt, they want to make sure that the wealthiest people in this country don’t pay a nickel more in taxes, and at the same time they want to make massive cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. That is the reality…So the issue is we have some right guys in the House who are adamant, in my view, about protecting the interests of the wealthy and cutting back on programs that our struggling middle class should not lose.”
Later Sanders swatted aside the idea that both parties are to blame for the fiscal cliff mess, “I’m not a Democrat. I’m an Independent, but here’s the point. I don’t think there’s an equivalence. People say shouldn’t the rich pay a little bit more in taxes and then shouldn’t we cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid? The answer is no! The wealthy are doing phenomenally well. Their taxes are down. The middle class is hurting. We have the most unequal distribution of wealth and income. It should not be a ‘balance’ on the middle class and the rich. The wealthy and large corporations are going to have to help us in a significant way deal with deficit reduction.”
Sen. Sanders knocked down the idea that any deficit reduction deal should involve a tax hike for the wealthy and cuts to programs that middle class and poor people need. The reason why the Republican ideas of shared sacrifice on the deficit should be rejected is that the benefit from the Bush tax cuts went largely to the rich, so it only fair for the wealthy take more of their tax burden back.
Sanders was correct about who is responsible for the latest drummed up fiscal crisis that the nation currently finds itself in. All of the blame should sit squarely on the shoulders of the Republican ideologues in the House who refuse to raise taxes on the wealthy by even a penny.
This isn’t a Senate problem, or a White House problem. It is a Boehner problem. Speaker Boehner can’t even get enough control over his caucus to get them to vote for his own legislation, much less anything that comes out of the Senate. When people talk about our government being broken, they are specifically referring to chaos in legislative process that is routinely being caused by House Republicans.
Sen. Sanders wasn’t having any of the mainstream media’s both sides do it false equivalency. Both sides don’t do it. As long as House Republican extremists continue to place protecting the rich ahead of governing congressional dysfunction will continue to paralyze this country.
The fiscal cliff may be the final act in the House Republican drama of dysfunction that the nation will bring the curtain down on in 2014.