Why aren’t the Republicans listening to Americans?

One of the most repeated criticisms you hear from Republican leaders and opponents of the historic Affordable Care Act that will expand health insurance coverage to 30 million Americans and end unfair insurance company practices that deny coverage to those in need is that Congress passed it despite the “objection of the American people.” The “objection” cited is a reference to public opinion polling that showed mixed levels of support for the healthcare reform bill.

But when Republicans in Congress are faced with objections from the public about their proposals to go relive the Bush era of financial stewardship, they ignore the public’s wishes.

The Hill’s Jay Heflin reports results of a new Gallup poll show overwhelming opposition to stopping the imminent Bush tax increases for the wealthiest Americans. According to the reporting, Gallup’s poll shows that “59 percent [of those polled] favor ending tax cuts for the rich.” The poll indicated that 56 percent of independents and even 44 percent of Republicans polled would prefer an end to tax breaks for the wealthy. Those looming tax increases are part of a set of tax increases put in place by President Bush and the Republican Congress in 2001 that will raise taxes on nearly every American taxpayer in 2011.

Instead of supporting the tax cuts for lower- and middle-class Americans and small businesses proposed by President Obama and the Democratic Congress to prevent the Bush tax increases, Republicans are set to block those tax cuts for American families unless the president backs the highly unpopular tax breaks for millionaires. The polling says Americans want to end the tax breaks for the rich. Why are Republicans in Congress not listening to the will of the American people?

Just like their opposition to the toughest Wall Street reform bill since the Depression and their refusal to pass the small-business bill that would immediately create jobs and inject much-needed capital to the growth engines of our economy, Republicans are playing politics and opposing the will of the public when it comes to tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans. They believe that if the economy continues to recover slowly, they’ll win more seats in November.

The president and the Democrats in Congress are listening to the people and putting the country, not politics, first. They favor halting the Bush tax increases for lower- and middle-class Americans and small businesses and allowing the Bush tax increases on the wealthy. Gallup says the Democrats’ proposal “is the specific option the public prefers most."

Maybe it’s time for Republicans in Washington to start listening to the American public and start doing what’s right for this economy.