Just yesterday, Speaker Boehner made a new “offer” to the president that underscore the GOP’s tone deaf attitude and lack of seriousness. Rather than compromise, Boehner proposed one of the few ideas that is absolutely off the table: permanently extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.
Making ridiculous offers like this shows that Republicans aren’t really serious about avoiding the fiscal cliff or reducing the deficit. They also show a complete disconnect from the wishes of the American people.
According to a new NBC News poll out last night, the public overwhelmingly believes that the election gave President Obama a “mandate” to:
- 68 percent: cut taxes for working families earning less than $250,000 a year
- 65 percent: reduce the federal deficit by both increasing taxes on the wealthy and reducing federal spending
- 59 percent: eliminate the Bush tax cuts for those with higher incomes over $250,000
The poll also found that a whopping 76 percent of Americans believe that increasing taxes on the wealthy is an “acceptable” part of any deal to avert the fiscal cliff. This is all consistent with other polls out in recent days, including one that found nearly half of Republicans believe the election delivered the president a mandate to raise taxes on the wealthy. Overall, the poll found that by a 2:1 margin Americans believe the president won both a mandate on taxes and to protect Social Security and Medicare benefits.
It’s also clear that the Republicans’ intransigence is taking its toll on the already-tarnished image of the party and its leaders:
- 53 percent said they would blame Republicans in Congress if we go over the fiscal cliff. Just 27 percent said they would blame the president.
- Just 25 percent approve of Boehner’s handling of the fiscal showdown, compared to 49 percent who disapprove. Meanwhile, 49 percent approve of the president’s handling of the negotiations and his overall approval rating, 53 percent, is the highest since the killing of Osama bin Laden.
- The three least popular politicians and political institutions in the country are: the Republican party, Boehner, and Mitt Romney. By contrast, Obama is the third most popular, trailing only Bill and Hillary Clinton.
And overall, nearly two-thirds of Americans agree that we need to address our fiscal problems using a balanced approach:
“Leaders in Congress should make compromises to gain consensus on the budget deficit, even if it means Democrats would have to accept targeted spending cuts in Social Security and Medicare and Republicans would have to accept targeted increases in tax rates.”
BOTTOM LINE: It’s time for Republicans to heed the will of the American people — and many of their own conservative voters — and agree to a balanced approach that includes asking the wealthiest Americans to pay higher tax rates, just like they did during the economic boom we experience under President Clinton.