The Democrats are playing chicken with the American economy, and it may come back to haunt them. Republicans, determined to keep in place the entire roster of Bush tax cuts, are not backing down. The Democrats, desperate to please their master in the White House, are equally determined to eliminate the tax cuts for those making over $250,000 a year.
Republicans are calling the Democrats out; Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) and other GOP representatives called Democrats irresponsible for threatening to stalemate the situation so it cannot be resolved until after the 2012 election. And the Republicans had a surprise ally: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who warned Congress would sent the United States over a “fiscal cliff” if the steep tax hikes from letting the Bush tax cuts expire. Bernanke, who was urged by Senator Chuck Schumer to ease the printing of new money, doesn’t want to be the scapegoat this time, so he’s urging Congress to get it done.
The Republicans were also supported by the Business Roundtable, which urged congressional leaders and President Obama to get together and fix the matter. They warned that if that didn’t happen, uncertainty would result, crippling the economy even more.
The Democrats have been threatening to let the Bush tax cuts expire, refuse to cut defense spending, and eschew dropping the rate of Medicare payments to doctors if the Republicans wouldn’t cave.
Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), a member of the Democratic leadership, gave a speech at the liberal Brookings Institution where she said:
“Unless Republicans end their commitment to protecting the rich above all else, our country is going to have to face the consequences of Republican intransigence. If we can’t get a good deal — a balanced deal that calls on the wealthy to pay their fair share — then I will absolutely continue this debate into 2013 rather than lock in a long-term deal this year that throws middle-class families under the bus.”
There’s one major problem with the Democrats’ rhetoric; there are plenty of small business owners who make more than $250,000 and don’t think of themselves as wealthy because they have employees to pay. This time, with the American public finally beginning to tire of the Democrats’ time-honored strategy of class warfare, it looks as if the Democrats may have to blink first.