Payroll Tax Causing Fissures Among GOP--Because Opposing It Reveals Their M.O. As Pro-Rich
If you're a regular Daily Kos reader, you already knew this, but today the Washington Post is reporting on the split between Republican leadership and the rank-and-file on extending the payroll tax cuts.
What might normally be a no-brainer for most congressional Republicans is being resisted by many tea-party-conscious members who oppose what they consider a short-term gimmick that would worsen the federal deficit and siphon money from Social Security.
Republican leaders fear that the party, which has spent the past year fighting Democrats’ proposals to raise taxes on the wealthy, cannot now allow the payroll tax to increase without handing Democrats a powerful election-year argument that the GOP supports lower taxes only for the rich. [...]
House leaders are hoping to entice conservative support by packaging the payroll tax extension with other priorities, such as a provision that would make it more likely that construction would begin soon on a controversial oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
But they have yet to find the right formula to attract rank-and-file support. And they're contending with conservatives who want to institute permanent tax cuts instead of a temporary fix that they think has been unable to stimulate the growth President Obama promised.
(Note: that whole "siphoning money from Social Security" is a canard. Don't buy it.)
Republican leaders are banking on the the desire of membership to do some hippie-punching, i.e., trying to force the administration's hand on going forward with the Keystone XL pipeline, overriding their opposition to helping the economy limp along. And this is where it gets really stupid: they demand the permanent tax cuts for the wealthy that definitely tanked the economy instead of the temporary tax cuts that give middle class incomes a modest boost.
At least GOP leadership is smart enough to know the dilemma they're facing, succinctly summed up by Greg Sargent: "Conservative support for lower taxes on the rich, and not on workers, could allow Dems to portray the GOP as only supportive of lower taxes on the rich, and not on workers." Handy, because it's true.