While many progressives have been disappointed by the White House’s deal to extend the Bush tax cuts for the rich in exchange for extending unemployment benefits and some of President Obama’s middle class tax cuts, Republicans have been generally pleased. But some conservatives, unencumbered by political pressure from GOP leaders, have already spoken out publicly against the GOP’s irresponsible and unaffordable tax policy, which will balloon the deficit by $120 billion. Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH), who is retiring, called extending the tax cuts “completely irresponsible” and said he will vote against the deal. “I believe that if this thing goes through and we extend it, we will kick this thing down the road,” he said yesterday, referring to the debt.
And on his MSNBC show this morning, former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough fumed at both sides, attacking Obama from the left for giving in to GOP demands, and hitting Republicans from the right for their empty, hypocritical rhetoric on the need for deficit reduction:
SCARBOROUGH: It is stunning to me that this president has extended Bush tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires. This progressive president has tripled the number of troops in Afghanistan. This progressive president, that you say worries about deficit reduction — just like Republicans say they worry about deficit reduction — on the week the debt commission gets skewered for finding $4 trillion dollars the cut over a generation, Barack Obama and the Republicans added a trillion more dollars to that debt in one weekend. [...]
The Republicans aren’t interested in cutting the deficit. [...]
I would love my political opponent to take the position we’re going to extend tax cuts for millionaires that even the CBO says is not going to create new jobs. And yet they’re going to cut off unemployment benefits for families at Christmastime. Please! Please. Seriously?! That’s like Mohamed Ali fighting against Princeton’s boxing champ Alan Merryweather– it’s an easy battle!
Watch a compilation:
In a statement released today, CAP President and CEO John Podesta said Obama “was right to choose helping working Americans” over Republican opposition, but he added, “the question hanging over Washington and the country today is how will he avoid repeating the same scenario being played out again and again for the next two years? That’s a question that is keeping me awake at night.”