The roadshow being put on by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and the Heritage Foundation pushing for the defunding of Obamacare is doing a good job of pitting Republican against Republican. But it’s helped distract from the one core value of the Republican Party: Never ever ever ever ever ever ever raise taxes on the rich.
Politico is reporting that deficit talks between the White House and Senate Republicans have broken down over that exact issue.
“While it’s disappointing, it’s very evident that there’s not enough common ground to produce a result,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), said on Thursday.
This is a repeat of the same drama that led to the debt limit crisis, the failure of the “super committee” and could lead to another crisis that slows economic growth at best or a complete financial meltdown at worst, even as the deficit continues to fall — to about half of what President Obama inherited.
Republicans demand cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The White House agrees, as long as Republicans will agree to some tax increases on the rich. Everything falls apart. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Even though taxes went up slightly on income over $400,000 and capital gains at the beginning of the year, tax breaks still cost the government more than Medicare, Social Security or defense. And more than half of all those cuts go to people in the top tax bracket.
Among these tax expenditures are billions in carve-outs for hedge fund managers who pay lower tax rates than nurses, mortgage deductions on second homes, dodges for big oil and private jets, along with a tax break that allows Mitt Romney to end up with $100 million in his IRA.
Republicans aren’t willing to cut any of them. You can blame Grover Norquist and his pledge. Or you can just recognize that low taxes for the rich is the GOP’s one inviolable belief. And notice the key words “for the rich.”
The latest talks reportedly included Republican demands for “Chained CPI” on Social Security, a change to the program that would both slowly decrease benefits and also subtly increase taxes on the middle class. President Obama has stated publicly that he’s willing to accept this reform if the poorest seniors are protected and Republicans agree to tax increases on the rich. Result: Talks collapse.
“On matters related to the budget, the president has always been clear that closing tax loopholes that benefit the wealthy had to be part of any big deal,” a White House official said, in a statement. “That’s been clear for several years.”
What’s been clearer even longer is that the GOP will do anything to keep taxes low on the rich, especially the super rich — even risk economic catastrophe.
Photo: Fibonacci Blue via Flickr.com