The latest evidence of the salutary effect the 99 Percent Movement and Democrats’ newfound populist aggression is having on the nation’s politics emerged yesterday when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) walked back the GOP’s opposition to an extension of the payroll tax holiday passed last December.
Despite the party’s stated opposition to taxes, up until that point, prominent Republicans had derided an extension of the holiday as “sugar high” economics, and a “bandaid” solution unworthy of the effort or of the cost in revenue to the budget. Not surprisingly, an offer by the Democrats to pay for an extension with a small surtax on millionaires did nothing to reverse the GOP’s aversion.
Given Republicans’ rabid and absolute opposition to tax increases in all other instances — and that the one distinguishing feature of the payroll tax holiday is that it provides relief heavily weighted towards the poor and the middle class — this particular stance was unusually reprehensible, even by Republicans’ standards. ThinkProgress has compiled a video report on the issue. Watch it:
Whether Republicans’ motivation in staking out their initial opposition was genuine disbelief that aiding the poor or the middle class is a necessary part of economic recovery, or if it was purely partisan opposition to a policy favored by President Obama, the GOP apparently felt sufficient pressure to back off. That pressure must be maintained, however, especially since the next crucial piece of economic policy Congress will consider is the extension of unemployment benefits for another year.