Opinion: The Counter Offer

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U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Buck Starts Here

House Republicans moved Monday to reply to the fiscal cliff offer made by the Obama Administration last week.

It was another example of the brain dead GOP leadership in action.

Republicans couched their demands as an offer endorsed by Erskin Bowles, the former White House Chief of Staff to Bill Clinton and half of the Bowles/Simpson commission.

In truth, it was based on old testimony from 2011 by Bowles. At the time it was delivered it was not presented as a solution but rather an analysis of middle ground during the debt ceiling crisis that Republicans manufactured.

Republicans literally lifted the proposal from the testimony. Even the math in the counter offer was out of date.

The proposal was a joke and when asked Monday if he endorsed the Republican proposal Bowles said no.

When you look at the details of what Republicans out forward, however, it is clear that they have put themselves in a difficult political position without offering much in the way of actual deficit reduction.

The GOP leadership stands firmly against raising tax rates for the richest Americans, while calling for eliminating the Obama payroll tax deduction — a tax hike on middle class Americans.

Maintaining tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans puts the GOP on the wrong side of 60 percent of the electorate. It is as if they think Mitt Romney won the election.

The GOP doesn’t stop their when it comes to taking it to the middle class. They also propose raising the age for Medicare eligibility and reducing Social Security cost of living increases.

Amazing. Roughly two thirds of the American people are opposed to these ideas.

If you thought Republican leadership learned anything from the election, think again.

Republicans have built a trap for themselves and they cannot find a way out. For years, House Republicans have passed bills with highly unpopular cuts with little public notice.

But Americans are watching what Republicans do and public polling makes it very clear that it is Republicans that will take the blame if we go over the fiscal cliff.

With a brain dead leadership, it is hard to see how they will manage to avoid a devastating political defeat. Republicans are being consistent with their ideology. But their proposals are now seen in a different light.

These proposals are nothing new for House Republicans and they have no chance of being signed into law by the President.

Last week Republicans complained that Obama’s proposal was too much a reflection of Democrats values and too lacking in compromise. So in retaliation the House GOP leaders have decided that their move is to counter the President with a proposal that reflects their values — looking after the political donor class.

The biggest difference between the two plans is that the President’s plan not only reflects Democrats values, but the proposals are popular with the American electorate — it contains the solutions voters supported in November.

The Republicans counter proposal, while true to GOP values, is deeply unpopular.

Math became a major issue in the fall of the 2012 campaign, a fact that benefitted Democrats. That same phenomenon is happening now.

The question is do we have to go over the cliff before Republicans get it?

About Bill Buck

Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist, President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC, and Managing Director of the online ad firm Influence DSP. He has over twenty years of international and national communications experience. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.

 

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