Friday, November 30, 2012

The Monkey Trap

Remember the monkey who got his hand stuck in a cage because he wouldn't drop the banana he was holding onto?  Pretty stupid, wouldn't you say?  I mean, all he had to do was let go of the fruit and freedom would be his.  Well, since the election an awful lot of Republicans seem to be having the same problem as that monkey.  Freedom is oh so close, but they refuse to let go of their precious fruit.

Of course the fruit in question isn't a banana; it's the Bush tax cuts for the top 2 percent of the country. The GOP refuses to give in to Democrats' demands and public opinion and allow them to expire, even if it means the whole country's taxes go up next year.

House Republicans have drawn a line in the sand and John Boehner, their "fearless" leader, has now become their loudest advocate.  He even went so far as to call out a fellow colleague, Tom Cole of Oklahoma, for having the good sense to suggest Republicans should take the President's offer and extend the middle-class tax cuts. It's sad that, at a time when his party needs him the most, Boehner has opted to go Tea Party.

Actually, it boils down to this: At the stroke of midnight, January 1, all the Bush tax cuts go bye, bye. Republicans are powerless to stop it from happening and they know it, even old braveheart Boehner himself. What they are counting on is that Obama will cave again just like he did two years ago.  The problem for them is that this isn't 2010, it's 2012.  Two years ago, the Democrats and Obama got bitch-slapped, courtesy of the midterms.  This time around, the bitch-slapping was on the other side of the aisle. Whatever else you might say about Republicans, they know how to read polls. They are not winning this war, no matter how hard they hold their breath and count to a zillion.

But still they remain obstinate, to a fault. Despite the fact that the Senate, earlier in the year, passed a bill to extend all the tax cuts below $250 thousand, John Boehner will not allow it to come to a vote in the House. He and his caucus continue to insist that the only revenue they will put on the table are elimination of deductions and the closing of loopholes. While that might get a few billion more into the treasury's coffers, it falls far short of the revenue needed to effectively deal with the debt.

And so, here we sit.  With barely a month to go before the country falls off the fiscal cliff, the GOP is stubbornly clinging to a banana they know they cannot have.  And while they persist in their futile attempts to have their cake and eat it too, the rest of us are forced to watch the ridiculous spectacle.


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