Robert Reich: Republicans pledged to Norquist, not the American people
University of California professor Robert Reich said the election had not changed Republican’s unwillingness to let the Bush tax cuts expire for wealthy Americans.
“We are back to where we were before the election in some respects,” he told Current TV host Eliot Spitzer. “There is a core — and a very significant core — to the Republican Party that simply will not raise taxes under any circumstances. They will not raise rates. They still feel that they are pledged to Grover Norquist. Maybe not to the American people, not the Constitution, but to Norquist. They’re not going to go along even if [Republican House Speaker John] Boehner wants them to go along.”
Nearly every Republican in Congress has signed Norquist’s tax pledge, vowing to never raise taxes.
Both Republicans and Democrats hope to avoid massive across-the-board budget cuts set to go into effect at the beginning of next year — the so-called fiscal cliff. Congress agreed to the automatic budget cuts as part of a deal to raise the federal debt ceiling.
Lawmakers were supposed to come up with a bipartisan budget that would lower the federal deficit to avoid the cuts, but have failed to do so. Democrats have blamed Republicans refusal to increase government revenues, citing their pledge to Norquist.
Reich noted that Obama may have the upper-hand when it comes to passing a budget plan, because tax cuts are set to expire at the same time as the automatic budget cuts.
“Beginning January 1, tax rates do go up, particularly on the wealthy, automatically,” he explained. “That is when the Bush tax extension, the Bush tax cut is basically terminated. The President has that bargaining power… If nothing is done, tax rates go up primarily on the wealthy. That is not what Republicans want to see.”
Watch video, courtesy of Current TV, below: