We are concerned about House Speaker John Boehner’s sanity. The pressures of trying to save the country, deal with the tea partiers, negotiate with Obama and blame him for all the nation’s problems at the same time have taken their toll.
With many legislators off to Hawaii for the funeral of Sen. Daniel Inouye and the Christmas recess next week and the fiscal cliff alarmingly near, Boehner chose to tie up the House for three days by pushing for a vote on a fiscal-cliff-prevention bill that is going nowhere. The Senate won’t pass it. And, anyway, President Barack Obama would veto it.
Obama caved on his once rock-solid position that he would never, ever, not in a million years accept keeping tax rates at current levels for those making over $250,000 a year. Then he said, OK, taxes go up only for those making $400,000 and over a year. Then Obama caved on his once-firm line in the sand that curtailing entitlements would not be on the table.
He said, OK, the cost-of-living-raise for Social Security beneficiaries will be changed so they don’t get as much money as they would have in their biweekly checks.
With the whole world holding its breath and the clock ticking loudly, Boehner responded with Plan B. Because this was totally new to all of us, we were eager to see what Plan B looks like. It turns out that Plan B is to raise taxes only on people with annual incomes of more than $1 million a year.
Under Plan B, everything else would go off the cliff Jan. 1. The impact would be felt by everyone who contributes payroll taxes. The unemployed, who’d lose their extended benefits. Middle-class families, which would have to pay a stiff alternative minimum tax. Every aspect of government, because of automatic across-the-board spending cuts.
The snort from the White House was loud and long.
Everyone in Washington has his/her own theory about Boehner’s motivation. He wants to keep his job as speaker. He wants to give tea partiers an out so they can eventually vote for a deal with the White House. He wants to show he is no patsy. He is too smart by half. He’s between the cliff and a hard place. The tanning bed finally addled his brain.
Please, Mr. Speaker, forget all thoughts of Plan B, C, D, etc., and sign on to a serious deal. Our sanity is at stake.