Now that it’s about 100 days until the midterm elections, the silly season kicked into high gear over the weekend. The usual finger pointing, slamming policies, and claiming the GOP doesn’t like the little guy tactics were employed by Democrats.
The current bull’s-eye target is unemployment benefits. Some unemployed America’s are entering the final 99 weeks they are able to collect insurance money from Uncle Sam, with a continued wobbly economy the President is seeking an extension of those payments.
Kicking it up a notch, Obama took a direct partisan shot at Republicans for failing to pass an extension in unemployment benefits. This politics as usual tactic fell flat as the House and the Senate enjoys large majorities and do not need Republicans to pass along an extension of benefits.
“Over the past few weeks, a majority of Senators have tried – not once, not twice, but three times – to extend emergency relief on a temporary basis. And each time, a partisan minority in the Senate has used parliamentary maneuvers to block a vote, denying millions of people who are out of work much-needed relief. Republican leaders in the Senate are advancing a misguided notion that emergency relief somehow discourages people from looking for a job,” the President implored.
Nevertheless this hasn’t stopped the main-stream media from placing the blame squarely on the GOP.
The President also highlighted in a recent speech that many Republicans have previously supported unemployment extensions under Republican administrations but refuse to offer relief to middle class families today.
Contrary to the President’s spin, Republicans support an extension of unemployment benefits, they just question whether the estimated $34 billion cost will be paid for with an stimulus money – as the GOP have proposed – or whether the $34 billion will be added to the nation’s $13 trillion debt – as the Democrats have offered.
Minority Senate leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has introduced legislation on four different occasions in the last month that would extend unemployment benefits and pay for them with unused stimulus funds. But on every occasion, that effort was blocked by Senate Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).
“The biggest reason the cloture vote we just had failed is because Democrats simply refused to pass a bill that does not add to the debt,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.
In November, President Obama made this statement about unemployment benefits; “If it’s fully paid for, and so it is fiscally responsible. Now, it’s important to note that the bill I sign will not add to our deficit.”
California Senator Barbara Boxer, a Democrat, is locked in a bitter race from GOP newcomer Carly Fiorina and votes for deficit spending are just the ammunition the GOP candidate is using against Boxer. Even liberal California sees the writing on the wall – the country is broke.
“While Barbara Boxer toes the party line and rubberstamps Harry Reid’s reckless tax-and-spend agenda in Washington, she has failed to make the tough economic decisions that Californians who are struggling to make ends meet deserve. Instead of living within their means like California families and small businesses are forced to do each year, Boxer and her party leaders in Washington believe that taxpayers should pick up the tab for the government’s maxed out credit card,” said Amber Marchand, NRSC Press Secretary.
“This November, there’s no doubt that voters will hold Senator Boxer accountable for her out-of-control spending agenda when they elect Carly Fiorina to the U.S. Senate,” Marchand finished.
Even Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) said unemployment benefits must be offset in a Senate floor speech. “This adds up to a 20-week extension of unemployed benefits for those in the toughest job markets…this should not increase the deficit or national debt.”
However, President Obama believes the country must continue to do everything to spur growth and hiring. “I hope the Senate acts this week on a package of tax cuts and expanded lending for small businesses, where most of America’s jobs are created,” he said from the White House Rose Garden.
“But even as we work to jumpstart job-growth in the private sector, get businesses hiring, and dig ourselves out of this economic hole, we also have another responsibility – to offer emergency relief to Americans who’ve been laid off in this recession; to help them make ends meet – and support their families – while they’re looking for another job,” Obama explained.
With tax day still looming in the rearview mirror, it appears the American taxpayer is not feeling very giving when it comes to the Uncle Sam.
A new Rasmussen Report poll finds 69 percent of Americans are not in favor of higher taxes to pay down the ballooning deficit. The new poll finds that only 18 percent of taxpayers are willing to shell out more money to the Federal Reserve in order to pay down the country’s bloated deficit.
An overwhelming number of Americans would rather see Congress curtail their
spending habits instead of reaching their sticky fingers into taxpayer pocketbooks. With many entitlement programs running in the red, either higher taxes or severe spending cuts are on the horizon.
However, Rasmussen found that most voters believe President Obama’s bipartisan debt reduction commission will recommend tax hikes rather than spending cuts. The poll also disclosed that if the panel suggests tax increases, 78 percent believe Congress will raise taxes across the board.
The results also showed that men were twice as likely to accept a tax hike compared to women.
A staggering 83 percent of Americans believe the growing size of the national deficit has more to do with an addiction to spending by Congress and the reluctance of Americans to foot the ever-increasing tab.
While 66 percent of taxpayers think they are already overtaxed, 46 percent fully expect their taxes to go up under the Obama Administration in the coming years.
The higher taxes trend will only be exacerbated as more details trickle out of the health care package. Most American’s think the President’s new health care bill will raise the deficits as a result 58 percent feel lawmakers should repeal the bill. In the long-term taxpayers indicate the recession is placing enough of a burden on their family and want the other guy to foot the bill.
Estimates from nonpartisan groups like the Urban Institute or Tax Policy Center point out that if the federal government does not curtail spending it would take taxing those making more than $200,000 per year 77 to 91 percent to bring the deficits to reasonable levels of 2 to 3 percent of GDP, but this drastic measure would not erase the country’s debt.
This last option seems highly unlikely as folks making that kind of money would simply leave the country or quit their jobs. The fact is that nearly half of Americans pay no income tax and this is already a sour point with taxpayers who just wrote their yearly Internal Revenue Service (IRS) checks.
Looking forward to next year’s tax bill one thing is certain, this year will most likely be the last respite families will see from taxes for many years to come.