Monday, November 19, 2012

Congress Should Beware

(The cartoon above is by Mike Thompson in the Detroit Free Press.)

Well, the Congress is still up in arms about the "fiscal cliff". They want Americans to believe that unless we give the military more money, cut taxes for the rich, make drastic cuts in social programs, and cut Social Security and Medicare benefits, the nation will be plunged instantly into a new recession. Personally, I think that's nonsense. Most Americans have still not recovered from the Bush recession, and the GOP cure for the "fiscal cliff" would make their lives worse -- regardless of whether Wall Street saw a new recession or not.

I hope the president and congressional Democrats don't fall for this nonsense, and try to make a deal that cuts taxes for the rich and cuts benefits for Social Security and Medicare. The party that does those two things will be making a serious mistake, and will pay for it in the next election. The GOP knows this, and that's why they're trying to convince the Democrats to go along with them and "compromise". They want to help their rich buddies, but they also want some cover for the next election.

Poll after poll has shown for several months now that a significant majority of the people don't want new tax cuts for the rich (or the Bush tax cuts extended for those making more than $250,000 a year). And an even larger majority doesn't want to see Social Security and Medicare benefits cut. This was verified by an exit poll conducted on election day by Peter D. Hart Research Associates (for the AFL-CIO). This poll found that 58% of voters want the Bush tax cuts to expire for the rich, while only 38% want to see them extended.

A bigger majority wants Benefits for Social Security and Medicare to not be cut, but to be saved by increasing taxes on the wealthy (raising the cap of deductions). That was the view of 64% of voters, and opposed by only 17%.

The Democrats need to stand firm on these issues, and not provide any electoral cover for the Republicans if they insist of these tax and entitlement "reforms". These are two issues that the American people have made their views very clear on, and Congress should think long and hard before making any kind of deal on them.

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