House Republicans go green, recycle decades-old ideas as new

The “Pledge to America” is settling in. There has been lots of media interest — who could resist that great photo-op at the hardware store with the Republican leadership jacket- and tie-less in their starched white dress shirts as they rolled out these new ideas?

So far, the best take I’ve seen was Jon Stewart’s on the Sept. 23 “Daily Show.” If it weren’t funny, it would make me cry. Take five minutes and watch it here.

I went to see Lewis Black’s “In God We Rust” stand-up comic act last night at the Warner Theater. He did a bit on the tax cuts debate here in Washington that made a very interesting point. For the past 10 years, the wealthiest Americans have been taxed at a 3 percent lower rate than previously. That’s 10 years of lower taxes that helped them. Now, the Republicans are against asking for some of that 3 percent back — to help the country. People were laughing, kind of.

But here’s another thought: For 10 years, those tax cuts for the wealthy that the Republicans say will spur economic growth and higher government revenues have done neither. In fact, we’re experiencing the worst recession since the Great Depression and the highest deficits and national debt in history. So why should they be believed when they say extending the tax breaks for the wealthy will reduce the deficit and spur the economy? After all, we’re talking about simply extending the current policy – not proposing new tax cuts. We’ve already seen the results of the current policy, haven’t we?

Everyone agrees that we should extend tax cuts to working and middle-class families struggling to get by. Inexplicably, Republicans are blocking tax cuts for working families unless tax breaks for the wealthy are included — despite the $700 billion deficit price tag. I think most Americans agree that it’s not fair to hold tax cuts for hard-working, middle-class Americans hostage to special tax breaks for the rich.

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