In the budget battle, the GOP is beholden to the radical “No Taxes Under Any Circumstances” pledge required by their unelected king, Grover Norquist. (More)

(by Mark McCutchan)

House Majority Leader John Boehner turned down President Obama’s offer to “go big” on the budget deal – a $4 trillion budget reduction was offered Saturday night in exchange for a rise in the debt ceiling. I, along with many progressives, was furious with the president for even saying he would put Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid on the negotiating table. However, upon closer examination of his words, I realized that the president was referring, for example, to savings due to improving Medicare efficiencies and rationalizing health care spending through an Independent Patient Advisory Board, as discussed in a previous Winning Progressive column, rather than making cuts to entitlement benefits.

I now realize Obama knew the GOP would never say “Yes” to a deal that included $1 trillion in removing tax loopholes for corporations and the wealthy, even if it were sweetened with $3 trillion in budget cuts to entitlement programs and some defense expenses. That’s because Boehner’s buddies in the House are bound to a cause higher than their party or their constitutional duty: 235 House Republicans have signed Grover Norquist’s “No Taxes” pledge. Signees must oppose any new taxes or new tax revenue, or suffer the wrath of Norquist and his group “Americans for Tax Reform”, which would mean a sure political death in today’s conservatives-only GOP.

President Obama has reaped a huge political gain by appearing to go out of his way to maintain the fiscal solvency of the federal government, and the Republicans look like the bad guys again.

I was inspired by the debt and budget negotiations to write this letter to the editor, and I emailed it to the ten newspapers covered by the two congressional districts for my county.

If you are represented by a GOP congressman that has signed Norquist’s pledge (go ahead, we’ll wait while you check the hyperlink…), please take a few minutes to send your version of this letter to your local newspaper to make the most of this political gift.


Reps Gibbs and Johnson Pledge Allegiance to Corporations and the Wealthy

Saturday night, John Boehner said “No” to a deal that would have cut $4 trillion from our federal debt – a major reversal of what the GOP leader has said was his goal.

President Obama has bent over backwards to compromise, even upsetting his Democratic base by offering to cut the cost of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid programs through improved efficiencies and other reforms. The total amounted to $3 trillion in spending cuts, if Republicans would agree to $1 trillion in removing tax loopholes for corporations and the wealthy – a 3:1 ratio in Mr. Boehner’s favor. Still he said, “No deal”.

Why would the GOP turn down a victory of cutting debt reduction and entitlement programs? Because John Boehner cannot count on support from 235 of his House Republicans! These radical members of Congress have decided it is more important to pledge allegiance to Grover Norquist, the shadowy figure behind the so-called “Americans for Tax Reform” by signing his “No Taxes Under Any Circumstances” pledge.

Representatives Bob Gibbs (18th district) and Bill Johnson (6th district) are two of Ohio’s extremist politicians who were elected with help from the Tea Party. Both have chosen to protect corporations and the wealthy rather than defend the best interests of their constituents and our country to reduce the federal debt, because removing tax loopholes would mean the rich finally have to pay the same taxes the rest of us do.

Cross-posted at Winning Progressive.