What happened to the "Republican" pledges, from just weeks ago, for smaller government and reducing the deficit?Deficit Reduction Plan Draws Scorn From Left and Right
WASHINGTON — By putting deep spending cuts and substantial tax increases on the table, President Obama’s bipartisan debt-reduction commission has exposed fissures in both parties, underscoring the volatile nature and long odds of any attempt to address the nation’s long-term budget problems.
Among Democrats, liberals are in near revolt against the White House over the issue, even as substantive and political forces push Mr. Obama to attack chronic deficits in a serious way. At the same time, Republicans face intense pressure from their conservative base and the Tea Party movement to reject any deal that includes tax increases, leaving their leaders with little room to maneuver in any negotiation and at risk of being blamed by voters for not doing their part.
Mr. Obama, on a diplomatic tour of Asia in which the fiscal condition of the United States has been a recurring backdrop, maintained his silence on Thursday about the particulars of the draft deficit-reduction plan the commission chairmen had released the day before.
“The only way to make those tough choices historically has been if both parties are willing to move forward together,” he said at a news conference in Seoul, South Korea. “And so before anybody starts shooting down proposals, I think we need to listen, we need to gather up all the facts. I think we have to be straight with the American people.”
Mr. Obama’s stance was at the request of the chairmen, Alan K. Simpson, a former Republican Senate leader, and Erskine B. Bowles, a White House chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, who wanted to avoid any statements that might prejudice the panel’s deliberations before its Dec. 1 deadline. But it was also a response to the outcry from both conservatives against taxes and from Mr. Obama’s liberal base against the plan’s proposed long-term cuts in domestic programs across the board, including Social Security and Medicare.
The liberals are already frustrated with the White House on issues like the Afghanistan war and what to do about the Bush-era tax cuts, which expire Dec. 31, and are increasingly uncertain about Mr. Obama’s willingness to fight for long-held party priorities. That question loomed over a meeting at the White House on Thursday between progressive activists and administration aides about strategy for dealing with the Bush tax cuts in the Congressional lame-duck session that begins next week.
Republican Congressional leaders, three of whom are on the commission, similarly remained neutral about the draft, even as conservative groups condemned its proposals to raise revenues.
To these groups, the plan’s call to drastically lower income tax rates for individuals and corporations holds no appeal. That is because the reductions are tied to proposals to restrict or repeal tax breaks for investors and corporations, with additional tens of billions of dollars in revenue left over to reduce deficits.
The Web site of Americans for Tax Reform, which is led by the influential antitax activist Grover Norquist, warned Republicans bluntly, “Support for the commission chair plan would be a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which over 235 congressmen and 41 senators have made to their constituents.”
Republicans would also be looking over their shoulders at the growing ranks of the Tea Party. Ryan Hecker, from the Houston chapter, said it would be “a big mistake” for Republicans to go along with tax increases. “I think that is something that would not sit well with members of the Tea Party,” he said.
Where is all that anti-establishment tea party anger now? You'd think a deficit reduction plan that reduces many subsidies and seriously cuts taxes would be giving these tea party types a hard on. If you took them at their word, that is.
But the truth is, the "Republicans"/tea party are for BIG government, with big spending, and big debts to support it.
At least Pelosi's whines about the plan are in character.