Thursday, November 29, 2012

Can we just move on?!

I received an e-mail yesterday from Ilya, Robin, Mark, Victoria and the rest of the team asking me to call Levin, Stabenow and Rogers (yeah, right) and demand that they allow the Bush tax cuts to expire at the end of the year without cutting Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits.

The message confirms what I wrote on November 16 when I posted that there is no steep “fiscal cliff” over which we’ll go unless some drastic congressional action is taken in the next few weeks.

The message said, “[Congressional Republicans have] fabricated a story that, somehow, our economy will fall apart if they don't get what they want. It's not true, but negotiations are underway and a ‘deal’ could come together at any time.”

Turn on the network news and the nonexistent cliff is all the talking heads are talking about. And whenever Boehner, Cantor or another GOPer starts to dictate what’s on and off the table and warning about the dire consequences that will befall us all if taxes are raised on the rich – something that no one is proposing to do; we’re talking about letting existing cuts expire as scheduled – I ask myself the same question that proposes: didn’t the Democrats win earlier this month? Didn’t the Republicans receive a huge shellacking? Why are they still determining the parameters?

Speaking of GOP-related things I don’t understand, why has it taken so long for Republicans to disavow Grover Norquist, the founder of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) who for decades has been persuading state and federal officials to swear on their mothers’ graves that they’ll never raise a single tax as long as they live amen? (Heading into the 2012 elections, 279 lawmakers had signed the pledge according to ATR.)

For more on Norquist, see "Bathtubs and Rat Butts," November 18, 2011.

Only now are prominent conservatives – Christine Todd Whitman, Saxby Chambliss, Peter King and Lindsey Graham among them – breaking ranks and indicating a willingness, at long last, to tell the unelected conservative activist to shove his “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” where the sun doesn’t shine. As one Facebook pundit posted, “Anybody got a butter knife handy? Norquist is finally toast.”, which is trying to generate calls and letters to politicians in Washington, D.C., points out, “The truth is that nothing drastic will happen to our economy on January 1. The House can simply vote to extend tax cuts to 98 percent of Americans – as the Senate has already done. It's that easy.”

I’ve learned that when it comes to politics, nothing is easy.

By the way, read Andy Borowitz’ essay entitled, “Please stop talking about the fiscal cliff" in the December 3 issue of The New Yorker. It’s almost as amusing as the clowns in Congress.

Sources: The New Yorker,, Huffington Post,

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