I am honestly beginning to think that John Boehner needs to just change his party affiliation. Truly he is a RINO (Republican in name only), but why not go ahead and make the switch and put a D behind his name? I say this because of the two proposals put forth over the weekend by the Speaker, his willingness to abandon his tax pledge, purge the Budget and Finance Committees of true fiscal conservatives, and now his "Plan B," which is backed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. This would raise the taxes on those making more than $1 million and cut them for those making under that amount.
This is far higher a threshold that what the White House was calling for. During the campaign, Barack Obama was calling for taxes to increase on those making over $250,000. Since the election, Obama has revised his numbers to those making over $400,000. He isn't showing any signs of accepting Boehner's proposal of the $1 million level.
Pelosi wrote Speaker Boehner a letter, in which she used the tired rhetoric of the rich paying their "fair share." She wrote:
"We must ask the very wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share. Democrats believe that tax cuts for those earning over a million dollars a year should expire and that we should use the resulting revenues to pay down the deficit."
Back in April, Pelosi appeared with Charlie Rose on PBS and said,
"In our caucus there is a school of thought that says, you know, just... Let's get rid of all of the tax cuts. I said, let's begin by getting rid of tax cuts for people making over a million dollars a year. I'm not even saying 250. The president's saying 250. I'm saying a million and above. Who can argue with that?"
Well apparently Barack Obama can. “[Obama] is not willing to accept a deal that doesn’t ask enough of the very wealthiest in taxes and instead shifts the burden to the middle class and seniors,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement today. “The Speaker’s ‘Plan B’ approach doesn’t meet this test because it can’t pass the Senate and therefore will not protect middle class families, and does little to address our fiscal challenges with zero spending cuts.”
Here's Carney's full statement:
"The President has put a balanced, reasonable proposal on the table that achieves significant deficit reduction and reflects real compromise by meeting the Republicans halfway on revenue and more than halfway on spending from where each side started. That is the essence of compromise. The parameters of a deal are clear, and the President is willing to continue to work with Republicans to reach a bipartisan solution that averts the fiscal cliff, protects the middle class, helps the economy, and puts our nation on a fiscally sustainable path. But he is not willing to accept a deal that doesn’t ask enough of the very wealthiest in taxes and instead shifts the burden to the middle class and seniors. The Speaker’s “Plan B” approach doesn’t meet this test because it can’t pass the Senate and therefore will not protect middle class families, and does little to address our fiscal challenges with zero spending cuts. The President is hopeful that both sides can work out remaining differences and reach a solution so we don’t miss the opportunity in front of us today."
So Boehner pushes Nancy Pelosi's plan, caving once again to the administration without getting anything Republicans say they want, and he gets spanked by Obama and sent back to the corner. When is this guy going to learn? My guess is, he isn't. With that said, the one ray of light in all of this is that it does demonstrate that Barack Obama is not flexible in the matter at all, even though other Democrats seems to be willing to go along with the Pelosi/Boehner plan. However, lest you think that helps public relations matters for him and the Republicans, think again.