By Ilyse Hogue
Hyperbole among GOP lawmakers and the anguished pundit class reached epic proportions this week as Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner presented the president’s proposal to address the looming tax increases and spending cuts set to kick in, if a deal is not reached by January.
GOP Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, warned that the president’s proposal takes us backward, moving us “significantly closer to the cliff.” Anonymous Republican aides were immediately dispatched to trash the proposal of revenue increases and spending cuts as “a joke,” “an insult” and “a complete break from reality.”
These remarks, coming on the heels of a sound rejection of Mitt Romney’s fidelity to America’s 1%, indicate that the ones suffering from a break with reality are the Republicans deaf to the mandate of this election. Their delusional commitment to eviscerating social insurance programs — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — while allowing the rich to get richer shows a remarkable disconnect from the shared experience of most Americans.
Decades of underinvestment in our country by the wealthy class, two Bush wars paid for on credit, and an unrestrained culture on Wall Street that treated the economy like a poorly run casino has unarguably left America strapped for cash. The only question at hand is whether we’ll finally be treated to genuine accountability and sound fiscal policy in this deal.
Not if the Republicans get their way. Their endless exaggeration of the certain doom that awaits us on the other side of the fiscal cliff is intended once again to force middle class and poor Americans to accept yet one more bum deal so that the wealthy don’t have to budge an inch. But this time, they do so at their own political peril.