Why did the Supercommittee fail last month? There are two plausible hypotheses:
- Republicans were unwilling to raise taxes, even on the very wealthy, because of their firm ideology as embodied by their holy pledge to Grover Norquist.
- Republicans are sabotaging all attempts to get the economy back on track, as a strategy to defeat Obama in 2012.
Until now, it has not been very easy to falsify one or the other. But today we got a definitive answer:
The Republican-led House today rejected a Senate-passed bill that extends a payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits for two months.
The vote was 229-193. The tax cut and unemployment benefits expire on Dec. 31.
If the benefits expire at the end of the year, 160 million Americans will see a tax increase while about 2.2 million long-term unemployed will see their benefits disappear. Medicare payments to physicians also will drop, raising concerns that doctors will limit their care to seniors.
The House Republicans just raised all of our taxes. That’s a tell!
So, it isn’t about standing firm on ideology, after all. It isn’t about some sacred pledge to Grover. The Republicans are happy to raise taxes if they think it will sabotage Obama’s chances at re-election. In the process, they have been tangibly harming the American economy.
The Republicans have just demonstrated that they are economic terrorists. By putting the welfare of their party ahead of the welfare of America, Republicans have become traitors.
In a play on the holiday season, Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., held up a stocking and a piece of coal on the House floor. “Remember the lump of coal in November of 2012, folks. (Republicans) gave it to you.”
That’s about the mildest response I’ve ever heard for treason. That McDermott…he’s so moderate!