Radical Plan B Failed Because It Was Not Extreme Enough

Dave Johnson

Just how radical and extreme are the Republicans today? Republicans didn’t oppose Boehner’s radical “Plan B” because it would devastate American families and small businesses and destroy government — that was OK, in fact that wasn’t even enough destruction for them. They opposed it because it would raise taxes a small bit on the billionaires who grease their wheels. In other words, they opposed it because it was not extreme and radical enough.

To understand just how radical and extreme today’s Republicans are, it is worth looking at what was in the “Plan B” that Speaker Boehner tried to bring before the House. They hate government and they mean it. Plan B cut off unemployment benefits for 2 million Americans. It actually raised taxes on most Americans while cutting taxes on the billionaires. It moved every cut onto the backs of domestic discretionary spending, dramatically gutting government all at once. This would literally destroy the government and certainly plunge the economy into recession.

But the reason conservative Republicans opposed this was not because of the consequences on the rest of us, it was because it increased some taxes on a few billionaires.

You can’t even imagine that you have the responsibility of being a legislator — never mind Speaker of the House — if you are prepared to offer a bill like this to the Congress, never mind that most of them favored this, and opposed it only because it was not radical enough. The cuts and destruction were fine with them, they wanted no tax increase whatsoever on the billionaires.

What Was In “Plan B”?

According to Americans for Tax Fairness if the Boehner “Plan B” passed these would have been some of the consequences,

…continues large tax cuts for the very wealthiest individuals – on average, millionaires would see a tax break of $50,000 – while eliminating tax cuts that 25 million students and families struggling to make ends meet depend on and ending critical incentives for our nation’s businesses. It would also cut off a vital lifeline of unemployment assistance to 2 million Americans fighting to find a job just a few days after Christmas, while deeply cutting Medicare.

The deficit reduction is minimal, and perversely, given its authors, solely through tax increases with no spending cuts.

  • The 0.3 percent of households with incomes over $1 million would get tax cuts averaging $50,000 per year because of the lower taxes on the first million.
  • Makes permanent the current estate tax levels, which provide an average of more than $1 million in tax relief to estates worth more than $7 million
  • Raise taxes by an average of $1,000 on 25 million working families with children and students: Plan B does not continue the American Opportunity Tax Credit and improvements to the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • Fail to continue critical tax incentives for business, like the Research & Development credit, energy incentives, and temporary measures like bonus depreciation.
  • Cuts reimbursements for doctors seeing Medicare patients by 27 percent.
  • Eliminate a tax incentive for college education for 11 million families, raising their taxes by an average of $1,100.
  • Reduce the refundability of the child tax credit for 12 million working families, raising their taxes by an average of $800.
  • Eliminate the increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for larger families and increases the EITC marriage penalty, together raising taxes on 6 million families by an average of $500.
  • About 100,000 children would lose access to Head Start.
  • Some 10,000 special education teachers and related staff would be out of jobs.
  • Close to 700,000 women and children would lose the nutrition assistance they need.
  • Research and development, which is critical to long-term economic growth, would suffer profoundly, with about 700 fewer new grants from the National Institutes of Health and up to 1,500 fewer grants from the National Science Foundation.

And that wasn’t even enough.

2013 will be fun.

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