The Treasury Department reports that extending the Bush tax cuts to the top 2 percent of taxpayers will cost $678 billion over the next decade.
GOP leaders refuse to consider letting the Bush tax cuts expire. In a concession to Republicans last year, President Obama broke a campaign pledge by agreeing to extend the tax cuts beyond their original expiration date. He made that agreement in exchange for Republicans extending unemployment benefits and the payroll tax cuts.
There is broad public support for requiring the wealthy to shoulder a fairer share of the tax burden.
In an October Washington Post-ABC News poll, three-quarters of Americans backed a tax hike on millionaires. A Washington Post-Bloomberg News poll that same month found that more than two-thirds supported raising taxes on households earning at least $250,000.
The committee seemed doomed from inception, evenly divided with no member willing to break party ranks. The supercommittee’s inability to reach a deal marks the third high-profile budget failure over the past 12 months, following a bipartisan deficit commission and unsuccessful talks last summer between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner.
The decision to invoke automatic spending cuts as part of raising the national debt limit in August was intended to pressure Congress into making tough budget cuts. But now that it didn’t happen both Republicans and Democrats are looking into ways to come up with another gimmick that will again postpone making tough decisions.
Republicans conveniently ignore that fact that the deficit problem was caused by a combination of two George W. Bush wars, a poor economy and two Bush tax cuts. When Bush assumed office, he had a $128 billion surplus. Bush, on the other, ran up deficits every year he was in office.
When Obama assumed office, the deficit was more than $11 trillion. An additional $4 trillion was added under Obama, some stemming from Bush’s 2009 budget. Overall, approximately 75 percent of the deficit was incurred while Bush was in office. Where were the Republican voices then?
Politicians being politicians, look for some more political shenanigans that will do everything except seriously tackle our fiscal problems.
George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine and the NNPA News Service, is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach. He can be reached through his website, http://www.georgecurry.com. You can also follow him at http://www.twitter.com/currygeorge.