The following was written by Robert Borosage and Roger Hickey.
House Republicans have left no doubt: all they want is economic pain for political gain.
Instead of accepting the bipartisan Senate bill, passed 89-10, to extend the payroll tax cut for a few months so a deal can be worked out, House Republicans killed it today.
Even if Republicans were to allow the payroll tax cut and unemployment extenstion to pass, next year’s economy will still receive less of a boost from the federal government than this year’s. With Europe headed into recession and China slowing, we’re close to a global recession. Yet House Republicans want to force more austerity.
If you don’t assume House conservatives are dim-witted, then the only conclusion is that they are cynically willing to profit politically from mass unemployment that they can blame on the President.
Look at what has happened since Tea Party-driven Republicans took the majority in 2010.
They held government hostage twice to force Congress and the President to accept job-killing austerity.
They have blocked every proposed bill that would actually create jobs.
Now, they are actively throwing out their own stated belief that no taxes should ever be raised on anybody — to make an exception for middle-class workers in the middle of a job crisis. Or at least to obstruct every effort to sustain the cuts, unless other programs are gutted.
And they are doing so even after Democrats accepted a litany of demands from Senate Republicans, leading to a rare bipartisan vote.
They are revolting – in both senses of that word. And we need to let them know: We are revolted.
What the economy needs desperately is significant and sustained public investment to dramatically boost consumer demand. With interest rates near record lows, we’d be wise to borrow money to rebuild the country. If it has to be paid for – to placate conservative furies – then it should be funded by new taxes to curtail reckless financial speculation, and fair taxes on the wealthy and corporations.
The last thing the economy needs right now is depressed consumer demand caused by slashing jobless benefits and raising taxes on the squeezed middle class.
The Republicans are standing in the way of even those modest measures. Their current stance flies in the face of their own stated pledges. And it means more people out of work. Thick-headed, or treacherous? You decide.
This isn’t time for political games. The world economy is in trouble. America has more than 24 million people in need of full-time work. Youth unemployment is at levels near that in Egypt BEFORE the Arab Spring uprisings.
Enough. Basta. Let them know we have had it.