As the clock ticks down on tonite’s expiration of extended unemployment benefits for the 9.6% of Americans who are officially unemployed, the coming end of school lunch and other child nutrition programs, and the possibility of doing anything whatsoever to help create jobs, the President and Republican leaders instead met to discuss how many tax cuts to hand out to make the deficit even worse, and argued over the terms of an extra tax cut for the wealthy on top of those tax cuts. The meeting, originally scheduled two weeks ago, was moved to today after Republican leaders said they were “too busy” to meet with the President.
According to Rep. Eric Cantor, the President — who famously reached out across the aisle repeatedly in the last two years, only to be slapped down — apologized for not reaching out. “I was encouraged by the president’s remarks regarding his perhaps not having reached out enough to us in — in the last session…”, said Cantor.
In a Washington Post op-ed published before the meeting, Republican leaders Boehner and McConnell did a pre-slapdown of the President, demanding that the President and Democrats accept entirely the corproate/conservative agenda.
Despite the president’s comments about focusing on job creation, Democrats in Congress are working feverishly to move legislation on everything except stopping the tax hikes and lowering spending. Their focus for the brief post-election “lame duck” session is on controversial items such as immigration, a repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” more spending and environmental regulations. Indeed, their actual legislative plan for the rest of the lame-duck session is to focus on anything but jobs.
And by “jobs,” they mean “tax cuts for the rich.” Otherwise, they threatened to shut down the whole government, writing, “But we hope it doesn’t come to that.”
Also, in an additional pre-meeting slapdown, McConnell spoke on the Senate Floor this morning, blasting efforts by Senate Democrats to reach out and compromise with a $1 million cutof for additional tax cuts for the wealthy. McConnell said,
“Some Democrats now say they only want to raise taxes on businesses that make more than $1 million a year,” said McConnell. “Where did that number come from? Well, it turns out this figure has no economic justification whatsoever. Nowhere will you find a study or survey which indicates that raising taxes on small businesses with over $1 million in income will create jobs or help spur the economy.”
Of course, the tax cuts do not involve businesses at all, even small businesses, but who’s counting?
The House and Senate are each scheduled to vote on tax cuts in coming days, both with and without extra tax cuts for the wealthy. But the focus is not on anything in the list of priorities of the public: jobs, economic growth, jobs, extending unemployment benefits, reviving American manufacturing, ending government tax incentives for offshoring of jobs, jobs, the economy and jobs.
Sign the petition: Tell Congress: Don’t extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy