After voters rejected Republican economic proposals, the GOP sought the appearance of “compromise” with the president on averting the so-called fiscal cliff. The gesture was strictly rhetorical, since their stance just restates the Romney/Ryan tax plan to disproportionately benefit the wealthiest Americans, coupled with steep cuts to entitlement programs for the middle class.
On Fox News Sunday, House Speaker John Boehner summarized the three major myths Republicans have used in fiscal showdown negotiations:
MYTH: Feigning shock at economic proposals that voters endorsed: Boehner said the White House’s initial outline to avert the so-called fiscal cliff was a complete surprise: “I was flabbergasted. I said you can’t be serious. I have never seen anything like it.” However, much of President Obama’s current proposal appeared in his 20-page plan, released in October, which has explicit mentions of tax cuts for the middle class, small business tax breaks, and entitlement savings. At the time, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)dismissed it as a “glossy” brochure, and “nothing but a rehash of the same failed ideas of the past four years.” Boehner and Hatch are pretending to encounter Obama’s economic plan for the first time, when it has been on the table well before he won reelection.
MYTH: “We have laid it all out for them, a dozen ways to raise the revenue from the richest Americans.” Boehner claimed that Republicans have detailed their revenue counterplan to Obama’s proposal to allow Bush tax cuts to expire for the wealthiest 2 percent, while extending them for the middle class. On Sunday, pressed to provide details on their biggest proposal since the election, Boehner dodged answering. Rather than increase marginal tax rates on the richest Americans, Republicans back eliminating tax loopholes and entitlement cuts mirrored in Paul Ryan’s budget. The pitch is much like Mitt Romney’s, which attracted criticism for his lack of specificity on which loopholes could make up for lower tax rates for the wealthiest Americans.
MYTH: Obama has “put $400 billion worth of unspecified cuts” on the table. Boehner claimed Obama’s “unserious proposal” lacks details on what entitlement savings he would put forward. But the details for Obama’s proposal for $400 billion in savings in Medicare and other social programs have existed for quite some time, in his FY 2013 budget released in February. It includes $600 billion in “reforms and savings, to our health care and other government programs,” without the dramatic restructuring that Republicans propose, as well as $1.6 trillion in revenue.