As the back and forth between President Obama and the Republicans continues, cracks have begun to show in the GOP’s steadfast opposition to raising tax rates on the top 2 percent. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is not budging, apparently.
Yesterday, he took to the Senate floor to once again berate the President for proposing tax hikes on the wealthy, and for offering inadequately large or specific spending cuts. Despite the country’s crushing need for new revenue, the modest burden President Obama proposes placing on high earners, and the near-historic levels of inequality in the American economy, McConnell dismissed the President’s tax plan as not merely a bad idea, but a “shakedown” of the top two percent:
MCCONNELL: [F]or Democrats, apparently, every dollar in federal spending is sacred. Once secured, it can’t be cut. That’s why we’ve got trillion dollar deficits.
And the truth is, until the President gets specific about cuts, nobody should trust Democrats to put a dime in new revenue toward real deficit reduction — or to stop their shakedown of the taxpayers at the top two percent. As one liberal lawmaker put it last week, that’s just the beginning.
When it comes to deficit deals, the taxpayers need to trust but verify. On cuts, that means specifics.
In a negotiation, generally speaking, the two sides offer specifics on what they want, and then try to haggle their way to an agreement from those two sets of options. The Democrats quite naturally want revenue increases, but not spending cuts. That’s what Republicans want. Yet McConnell, who along with the rest of the GOP leadership has merely released headline numbers for their cuts, is bizarrely demanding that Obama provide the specifics for both sides.
More to the point, between the Budget Control Act and other legislative decisions, spending has already been cut by $1.5 trillion since 2011.
Income inequality has skyrocketed in America over the last few decades, while income and real wages for the middle class have stagnated. Yet Obama’s proposal raises taxes by a mere 0.2 percent to 4.8 percent of additional income from those making more than $250,000 a year.