When the clock strikes midnight on January 1, 2013, the Bush tax rates – the ones that have led to the most progressive tax code in American history – will expire. Additionally, the sequester, which will cut $55 billion from defense in 2013, will officially take effect. As we’ve noted before, there is a serious concern that Republicans will agree to tax increases in order to stave off the sequester, which was originally supported by the majority of Republicans in both houses.
The latest threat comes from yet another gang! The old gang of 6 – Senators Warner (D-VA), Durbin (D-IL), Conrad (D-ND), Coburn (R-OK), Crapo (R-ID), and Chambliss (R-GA) – will be joined by Senators Bennett (D-CO) and Johanns (R-NE) to form the new ‘Gang of 8.’ They will be meeting at a secret retreat this weekend to hash out a bipartisan agreement on the fiscal cliff. As we’ve learned from painful experiences, this cannot end well.
Back in July 2011, the 3 original Republican members of the Gang of 6 put out a proposal to break the standoff over the debt ceiling. Their plan went nowhere, but it cut the legs out from under the conservative effort to stand behind Cut, Cap, and Balance. It ultimately led to Republicans caving on the issue altogether.
As always, they sold their plan as a balanced approach to cutting spending raising “revenue.” However, the cuts were all notional, while the tax increases were not specified, even though they promised to raise $1 trillion in revenue.
We need to keep a close eye on these gangsters to ensure that they don’t concoct another self-ingratiating, yet vague, bipartisan solution in an effort to undercut real plans to reduce the size of government.
Just say no to gang violence.
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