Last week Vice President Joe Biden's debt ceiling talks stopped when the opposition party representatives, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ), walked out in a dispute over the idea of raising taxes. Cantor left first. Somehow he told his colleagues what he was going to do but did not tell the Speaker of the House, if we are to believe that. Kyl couldn’t do much else but recite the GOP “job killing” mantra and participate in the display. It is much easier to strike a pose than to negotiate a deal, anyway.
Before his walkout on Thursday morning, Cantor told The Wall Street Journal, “As it stands, the Democrats continue to insist that any deal must include tax increases.” Cantor said in a statement, “Regardless of the progress that has been made, the tax issue must be resolved before discussions can continue.” The tax increase idea means the elimination of Bush era tax breaks to which the Republicans are married. It does not mean tax increases for individual US taxpayers, but that is just GOP semantics.
During the Biden debt ceiling talks, Democrats argued that Republicans should at least join them in eliminating corporate tax breaks for chief executives with private jets. Republicans also rejected consideration of eliminating even temporary tax breaks, such as those for NASCAR tracks and Puerto Rican rum. As a result, a new Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll found that more people say they would blame Republicans in Congress than President Obama if the debt-ceiling talks broke down.
Politicians deal in factoids, not facts. They live and breathe strategic ambiguities so that blocs of voters like the tea party can panic and overreact. For example, “It's time to force our elected officials to stop spending cold turkey, and we can start by making sure they do not raise the debt ceiling,” announces Rep. Michele Bachmann’s website. Never mind the fact that such a plan cannot be done.